Roy Orion is a 27 year old Electro House and Groove producer who has been been supported by the likes of Hardwell, Nicky Romero, and was most recently supported by David Guetta. He has had releases on Revealed Recordings, Hotslice, Melodic Tunes, and Peak Hour Music. He was kind enough to grant us a phone interview which you can read below. The content has been edited for length and flow. His latest release is available NOW on Eclypse and can be streamed below!
Chris: “Let’s start from the beginning, how did you get into music in the first place?”
Roy: I actually got started played the drums for 10 or 11 years starting when I was nine and then I discovered production. I decided to go to Icon Collective which is this one year production school where I developed my piano playing skills. They make you take that class all four quarters and I got to the point where I could like, dabble in melodies, chords, and stuff like that. I had been producing for 6 or 7 years by that point so after I graduated, I felt like everything was really starting to click for me. To sum it up, I’ve been spending the past 8 years doing mostly production; focusing on my music and honing my production techniques. On the side, I’ve been DJing on my own and done some fun gigs. I don’t usually get paid for them, but it’s still good practice. I’m just basically preparing myself for when a show comes. These days, I’m going to my buddy’s gigs so I can start playing in front of crowds so I can get that open-format style down.
C: “What sort of drumming did you do?”
R: Percussion drumming and rock drumming. I wasn’t necessarily good enough to make it in a band so I just sort of did it myself. I just loved to play, but it was just me drumming solo.
C: “How did your first DJing performance go?”
R: My first performance when I did like all EDM and did my thing was at a warehouse party and my DJ friends that came told me that I impressed a lot of people with my skills and I was like thank you. It was cool to get recognition for all my hard work ya know.
C: “I saw on Instagram that you’re using Ableton, is that what you’ve always used?”
R: I actually first started producing on my phone with the mobile version of the FL studio app. Which was kind of funny because I was just making beats on my iPhone. After I moved on from that, I got a cracked version of Ableton, then I switched to Logic Pro, and finally I switched back to Ableton 10 which is what I am using now.
C: “I gotcha. Moving on to what you’ve been making with your new setup, what’s your timeline like for making a song.”
R: I mean it varies, sometimes a track will take like a day, but sometimes it’ll take weeks or months. I have a track now that’s taken me 2 years to get right and it’s still not even done yet. I actually have to go back and do a whole new version of it. It’s just one of those things where it varies and you can’t judge yourself by the amount of time it takes to finish a track. If you want more specifics, the track that is coming out on Eclypse actually took me one day to make. I did it in a 13-hour session from like 11AM to 1AM. It is really a unique track and I’m so stoked for it to come out. It’s different but good, definitely some main stage, peak time stuff. It’s got a unique groove, it’s catchy, it’s just massive. I’m excited for everyone to hear this one. What has been your favorite song of mine?
C: “I would definitely have to say Ironclad”
R: What did you think of Arcane?
C: “I liked the electro house drop. For me, I think the breakdown went on a little too long, but I have a short attention span when it comes to music. I think the drop had a lot of power but it was a bit too much electro for me.”
R: Yeah man, I feel you I get that
C: “That’s just my personal preference, everyone is different and all”
R: I know exactly what you mean, I once heard someone say, “A third is going to love it, a third is going to hate it, and a third isn’t gonna give a shit”
C: “Have you ever worked with original vocals before?’
R: Yeah actually, went I went to Icon Collective, sometimes we would have to record vocalists like for some of our midterms and stuff. It really made me familiar with tuning vocals and sort of the underlying psychology of working with vocals.
C: “I saw you did some vocoder work on “Attitude” too”
R: I think that vocoder is kind of like my signature, dude. I love vocoding stuff like especially my own vocals. I don’t necessarily like the tone of my voice so I’ll pitch it down and then when it doesn’t sound like me, I’ll go a step further and vocode it so it sounds like really cool and gritty dirty.
C: “Definitely, man. Let’s dig a little deeper into the everyday you, so what do you do during the day?”
R: I’m a produce farmer.
C: “Wow. Whoa. I mean I never would have guessed that, like ever.”
R: Yeah, it’s kind of an odd combo but yeah I’m kind of a good ol’ country boy turned musician. I think that the work ethic of my job has helped me become a better producer.
C: “In your music, I would have never would have guessed that’s what you did because you don’t have any country influence as far as I could tell.”
R: You know, I really don’t have that country influence; a good portion of my influence comes from hard rock and metal.
C: “What sort of stuff do you listen to just for yourself?”
R: Like a lot of underground people but some mainstream people All That Remains and All Time Low. As for EDM guys, I have so many idols in that area.
their radio show. They had me take them down, or actually, Soundcloud said they got a direct report from Protocol to take it down and so I got a strike for that, actually. So after that, I decided to take down every one of my remixes and bootlegs since they weren’t official. Now my Soundcloud is for official stuff, like a clean slate.
C: “So what’s your favorite music platform?”
R: Me personally, I love iTunes, Beatport and Apple Music because it’s where I’ve always gotten my music. I’m starting to get into the Spotify game and it’s just really cool to see my name in places that I normally get my own music from.
C: “Are you releasing it onto those platforms yourself?”
R: Well, all my stuff is through labels. Like if it’s not backed up by a label, then I’m not really trying to release it. I like to sign my tracks over to labels whether they be big, small, or medium. There are some serious hidden gems in some of those smaller labels. As well as Soundcloud, like releasing “Ironclad” on Melodic Tunes or something like that.
C: “Yeah I’ve been following the Soundcloud scene for some time now and you see people like Steven Vegas rise up and get released on Revealed Recordings and stuff like that”
R: Oh yeah, Steven Vegas is a friend of mine. Well, Facebook friend, like we’ve chatted and stuff. Max Adrian is another guy who’s risen through the ranks. He just had a release on the Revealed Miami Sampler EP. I’m in pretty close contact with him. His track was definitely one of the best of the album.
C: “Speaking of big labels, do those contracts they make you sign take away your right to upload your own track to Soundcloud and stuff?”
R: I believe they’re the only ones that can upload. You might be able to reupload but you must be whitelisted first, which would give you permission to upload your own track without getting a flagged by YouTube or Soundcloud.
C: “How do you feel about other YouTube channels uploading your music, like did you give them permission to or what?”
R: Nah man, I didn’t authorize it, but hey man it’s all good because my music is getting out there, you know. Some of the bigger names need to worry about being associated with a smaller scale type of person that uploads it. But me, personally, I don’t care. I’d just tell them, “Hey, thanks for sharing my music. I’m glad you liked it and just more power to ya.”
C: “I saw you just started an A&R Gig with Zyde?”
R: Yeah that’s for the label of my buddy Kristianex, who I released Arcane with. He has a label that he wanted to do for new talent and he asked me if I wanted to do A&R. I was like hell yeah, dude. It’s prett cool seeing the demos that people send in. I was already getting a lot of demos on my personal Facebook page so now I can actually do something more with them. It’s just cool seeing the talent that’s out there.
C: “What are some of the trends you’ve noticed?”
R: I see a lot of people making trap, dubstep, and future bass. I really don’t like that because it’s sort of the same thing that happened with big room: people are doing the same thing over and over again. It doesn’t matter how good it is because people aren’t trying to do anything different.
C: “What’s your opinion on sample packs, like getting entire melodies from there”
R: Well like if you’re in a creative rut and you can’t get something going just say fuck it and use a sample, use a midi, use something you got from a sample pack. It doesn’t make a different because at the end of the day, that’s just a part of the song. You still have to build the remaining elements around it and the production and stuff.
C: "You mentioned that people are starting to dislike big room. That was actually one of the tougher questions I was going to ask you was about.”
Like I said, I feel like people are just sort of sick of what’s been done. To them it sounds all the same and generic. I don’t really consider myself a big room producer; I would say I produce groove, electro house, and some progressive house. Those are just the genres I’m most passionate about. Although if I'm being honest, I will make some big room here and there, but if I do, I’m going to do something different with it.
C: “Is that how most of your collabs go, you do the arrangement and other people sort of put their spin and add a little something extra to it?”
R: It varies from track to track but I would say it's always 50/50. One guy I've got to mention is VERSUS because I’ve collabed with him the most. We actually collabed on that track that just came out on Armada’s sublabel, Eclypse, which is run by Feenixpawl. Really excited and about that. We’ve collabed a lot through the years; we have probably almost 20 unreleased tracks we’ve finished together but almost all of them haven’t gotten released or seen the light of day yet. We’re kind of in the same boat where we want labels to back them up or get some artist support and if that’s not happening, then we don’t release it.
C: “Geez 20 unreleased tracks is quite a lot”
R: I’m currently sitting on 12 to 15 other tracks as well that I’m waiting to send out to the labels and show them what I got. Back to your question on my collabs: sometimes people will send me their tracks and just tell me that they’re kind of stuck. So I’ll ask them if they’re interested in me putting my touch on it and if they do, I’ll go on and finish the breakdown or finish the sub and we’ll just collab on it.
C: “Well now I can see how you have 12-15 tracks in the works”
R: Yeah, the majority of them are collabs, but I would say that around five of them are my solo tracks as well.
C: “Are they all sort of groove/electro house or have you been dabbling in other genres as well?”
R: They’re mostly groove and electro house. There’s also about three or four progressive ones and twp or three are like Protocol/Fonk Style and then one big room tune that’s with a dude named Pengwinn. He’s from the Dominican Republic and he had a track he was sitting on that had these sort of Cumbia, Latin American type of vibes. I kind of took it to the next level and I plan onvputting some vocals on it this weekend. I’m hoping we can finish that up and get it geared up for a release soon.
C: “Let’s talk a little bit about social media, you definitely seem to be the most active on Instagram”
R: Yeah, that’s actually my favorite platform because it kind of gives a personal aspect to who I am and what I’m doing. I don’t really tweet too much, but I've noticed a lot of other artists will go on rants and stuff but I’d rather show people actual videos and pictures of my life rather than just tweeting it out. I’m also really active on Facebook through my personal profile, like I’ll get friend requests from random fans and stuff and I’ll chat with them and stuff.
C: “Yeah it’s all about making connections”
R: That, and you’ve got to have the talent. Networking is important but I’ve always believed that true talent will somehow get put into the right hands. If you put some great music out there, people will find their way to you in the end.
Networking is important but I’ve always believed that true talent will somehow get put into the right hands. If you put some great music out there, people will find their way to you in the end.
C: “Looking towards the future, what is your Dream Stage?”
R: Madison Square garden, I think that would be so epic to play there. Or obviously any major festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra, or EDC. But I think it’s so iconic to do a show in MSG. Steve Aoki and Hardwell I think have done shows there.
C: “What are you the most proud of in your career thus far?”
R: How long I’ve stuck with this, dude, determination and my passion for it, it just seems to grow like I find myself still getting inspired after all these years. I’m proud of how I’ve managed to keep this going for 7 or 8 years now an even before that when I was drumming for that long. Not many people can start music at the age of 9 and keep it going, ya know. Do you actually want to hear what I’m working on? I was driving back from a bar last night and this Eagles song came on, “Life in the Fast Lane,” do you know it?
C: “I might have heard it somewhere, I don’t know”
R: It had a dope riff in there and I sampled it and I’m working on a track with it.
(He proceeds to play the track and we ended up workshopping on it a little bit)
R: You’re hearing an exclusive in the making right now. Anyway, this funny thing just happened to me not too long ago: I went up to see one of my DJ buddies perform last night, and I met a kid. We were talking and introducing ourselves and I said my name was Roy. He was like, “Roy what?” and I said Roy Orion and he goes, “You’re Roy Orion??” It was the first time that I had met someone that like, knew my music or heard my DJ mixes.
C: “I’m sure it won’t be the last time either”
R: Ah man, I’m hoping so.
C: “Yeah with your drive I have no doubt you’ll be around for the long haul.”
R: Thanks man all I can do is keep working. I just have this passion and drive and genuinely love the music that I’ve already signed myself up for the long like. Like even if I can’t make it as a career, I’m still going to be doing this. Like I just knew and know that this is something I could do for the rest of my life.
A big thank you to Roy Orion for taking the time to talk with me! Go check out his social accounts to stay updated on everything he's up to!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, writer, and student
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