Interview: Justin Hoy of Casio Bastard & Halogen Media Works
Words by Julie Jay Seger
Justin Hoy, CEO/President of Halogen Media Works and member of local band Casio Bastard caught up with your Big Heavy World correspondent to discuss the history of Halogen and its incredible work for musicians and music lovers alike. I also got the scoop on local Funk, Fusion Space group Casio Bastard, who are set to rock the Magic Hat stage at 'Heavyfest' on May 21st and later that night at the Nectar's Heavyfest After Party.
Halogen Media Works had humble beginnings in Justin Hoy's dorm room at Goddard College. "I just had the idea of trying to help bands to get their music heard and distributed to the public. So we made a website to put the idea out there, and we started to get bands from all over the country that showed interest in what we were doing. But at that point it was really still just an idea. Everything was a learning process, working with different production people and having deals fall through, but we kept moving forward. I graduated from Goddard in 2001, continuing with the label, slowly but surely helping independent bands get the word out. Eventually, Halogen Media Works evolved into what it is today: a booking, development, artist promotion company, distributor and record label. We've built a huge network with different labels and media outlets worldwide that distribute Halogen."
So why did Justin decide to start Halogen? "I'm a musician, I'm a piano player, and I like to help out bands. I've always been into business and helping organize things and running things. So that's half of it. Plus I'm not afraid of partnering up with different people and companies to get things done. So it's really about becoming partners in development, bands help out the label, and the label helps out the bands, everyone working together."
Today, Halogen works with its vast network of media outlets to promote and distribute their clients' music. More locally, Halogen works with Higher Ground to book, promote and distribute different artists. They've worked with big names like Immortal Technique and Black Sheep, as well as local acts like Strength In Numbers, Aaron Flinn, Events Are Objects, and Japhy Ryder. "I like building partnerships and turning on the light bulb for the bands who are looking to figure out how to navigate the industry. And even if they're already navigating, to offer them other insights or ideas, turning people on to what I know. I'm a huge culprit for giving free advice. I love the hands-on aspect of my job."
Justin also met some members of Casio Bastard while at Goddard. "We've gone through many amalgamations as a band, but our music has always been passionate. It's epic, to us anyway. We've been playing for a while now and as we're making music it changes how we feel and songs can come out differently. One song might be more punky while it was intended to be funk, or something else different. So it can be challenging to capture a song with everyone liking their various components on one recording alone. We work really hard so that the music has to be special, it has to be something we all believe in."
On musicians and fans alike staying involved in their local music community even when funds are tight, Justin says: "For bands, there's no right way anymore. There's so many ways to partner with people, you don't have to go broke to get your music out there. If you're passionate and willing to put the effort in, there's people like me who can help make it happen. To the fans, I know it's difficult to check out music all the time, but go out and support it, once in every two weeks even. Or once a month, go check out a new band or genre to try something new. Accept new bands, accept new music. It might not touch your ears in the right way or it may not be your favorite, but it takes talent to make, so respect and appreciate that."
If you're interested in working with Justin, contact Halogen Media Works. Or join the party at 'Heavyfest' on May 21st and catch Casio Bastard performing on the Magic Hat stage! The opportunities are endless. Thanks for chatting, Justin, and for making big things happen for Big Heavy World.
Justin Hoy and Dani Gleason of Magic Hat plan 'Heavyfest' at the Magic Hat Artifactory.