Words by TOM PROCTOR. Photo by JAMES LOCKRIDGE.
Cory Roya, aka Abstractivve joined host Brent Hallenbeck on ‘Rocket Shop‘, Big Heavy World’s local Vermont music radio hour on 105.9FM The Radiator. You can stay up to date at www.facebook.com/Abstractivve-1441058319485140
Abstractivve is something of a rarity on the Vermont music scene since his weapons of choice include turntables and a laptop rather than guitar and drums. Rather than breaking through he has helped forge the growing EDM scene in VT. Starting in 2013 performing at house parties, moving to the bars and ultimately finding himself a spot in the summer festival setlists he has made a name for himself pumping out heavy beats and delivering durrty tunes to Vermont’s party people.
Sitting in the studio to discuss aliens, sci-fi and Mysteryland, Abstractivve gives us his take on the musical world at large:
TP: How did you get started as a DJ?
Ab: Lots of house parties. That got my name out then it turned into bar gigs, radio shows and mini festivals. I’m playing a small festival this summer that my buddies are putting on in the north of Vermont. It’ll be a great little festival because its promoting saving the environment, promoting local music and saving the bees.
TP: Does your political or environmental messages get reflected in your music?
Ab: Kind of, I have a track ‘We Aren’t Alone’, it’s not environmental or political but it does reflect positions I have on the government. It’s my take on how ETs exist and my interpretation of that through sound.
TP: Have you got many festivals lined up for the summer
Ab: Well I’m also DJing the campgrounds of Mysteryland USA, it’s going to have around 1500 people there. I went last summer as a festival goer and had a fantastic time.
TP: How did you get a slot at the festival?
Ab: I’m part of the Mysteryland facebook group so I posted a link to one of my tracks and the owner of the campgrounds got in touch and asked me if I wanted to play. She told me about the size of the crowd that usually turn up and I was stoked. The biggest crowd i’ve played to is 200 people and that was at a house party so this is certainly a step up.
TP: I hear you’ve made the jump from producing to DJing, what prompted the move?
Ab: Well I do still produce but I mainly focus on DJing. You can make money producing by being a ghost producer for bigger DJs but ultimately you need to know how to do both, all the big DJs has that cross of skills and can still pick up a keyboard and create a great track when they need to. I started 2013 just producing but I moved into DJing a lot more that year and expanded my skills and pushed further into the scene in 2014. I’m trying to get more tracks out myself though and I’m getting some new equipment so I will have more to offer in the future.
TP: What got you into the EDM in general?
Ab: Well I’ve always been musically inclined, when I was younger I wanted to be a rock star. Then I went to Camp Bisco in 2013 and realised that was the direction I wanted to head in so I’ve been working towards that ever since. It been hard, there’s a strict schedule, not much time for socialising, just music, music, music.
TP: How is the EDM scene in Vermont? Have you found it difficult to break through?
Ab: There aren’t a lot of venues to play up in Vermont, but Burlington has been good to me and there’s been a few great places to play EDM. It’s been difficult to break through, if I was a guitar player I think it would be a lot easier. Being a DJ is a little more difficult as some of the traditional venues are a bit shy about letting EDM musicians have a go.
TP: What’s behind the name Abstractivve?
Ab: Well my music is quite abstract, a lot of DJs rely on drops on builds where as I don’t incorporate them into my music as much. And a lot of people say they feel in an altered state when then listen to my music so I figured Abstractivve fits (laughs.)
TP: You’ve been growing your fanbase a lot recently, what is the makeup of your audience and how do you find new listeners?
Ab: Well the makeup of my audience is age 16-25 girls and guys, and I spread my music primarily through social media sharing the new tracks I’ve got, as my music improves more people re-share. At gigs I promote myself and showcase my mixing skills so i’ve also picked up followers there.
TP: How do you go about making your tracks?
Ab: I work at home with my own setup and use a bunch of programs and equipment to create songs. Making a track depends on my mood, sometimes I can come home and crack out a few beats without a problem but I need to be in the right place. I use other Djs for inspiration as well as incorporating rock into the process as i’m still a big fan of Korn and Nirvana. But I’m mainly inspired by horror movies and old sci-fi, I like people being in that mind set when they listen to my songs.