Surrey on the Loop: Baselines, Crossfades, and Everything In Between
In Part 1/4 of our local DJ highlight series, we take a look at the City of Surrey’s Resident DJ and Cloverdale “full-time music man,” Carson Hoy.
Surrey is undoubtedly evolving quickly, and the music scene is no exception for our city boundaries. Surrey has an impressive record of successful artists, producers, and DJ’s out on the scene – and the list continues to grow. So what better way to celebrate the talent we have and motivate the up-and-coming generations to pursue their musical passions by highlighting some of our finest on the turntables? In this three-part series, we take a look at three different, local, DJ’s making their mark, while proudly staying true to their Surrey roots.
Meet Carson Hoy – Music Producer/DJ/Songwriter and full-time music man. He reps Surrey proudly, and he’s got a story to tell on his early-onset evolution into becoming one of the city’s biggest household names in the DJ booth.
“I grew up in Cloverdale and at age 4, [I] fell in love with The Beatles through my dad’s influence. I wanted to be just like their drummer Ringo and have a hockey mop and play to tons of girls – I wanted to be the greatest drummer in the world!” Two years later at the young age of six, Hoy started a band playing drums alongside his two older brothers on bass and guitar. They named themselves “Jet Black,” and they had a inventory of over a hundred songs – anything from Metallica to The Beatles, and everything in between.
Reminiscing on the start of his musical journey, he recalls their first gigs would take place at local Battle of the Band competitions such as Surrey City Jam, Surrey’s Youth Fest, Hippie Mike’s Tour de Surrey Skate Competition, and Cloverdale’s Blueberry Festival. “My family even helped out and put on a show at Cloverdale’s Clova Cinema called “Clova Jam” where we sold tickets and got in the paper and everything, we went in on that one.” When they weren’t playing shows, they were jamming together as a family.
Flash forward to when Carson Hoy was 12-years-old, when he met Surrey’s House DJ, Jordan Wiebe, who gave him his first hands-on experience trying out the turntables at Surrey’s Youth Fest. He was amazed of the potential to play for a large group of people. “I started listening to Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim at that time [in Grade 6], and slowly stopped wanting to be like Ringo so bad[ly], and more like a robot DJ guy at a crazy party in Paris.”
In high school at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, Carson felt the pressure to be anything but a DJ. The career-path was unfamiliar to most peers, it was not yet “cool” in the mainstream scene, and he felt as if there were less opportunities in the industry overall – especially when offered other scholarships for his more traditional music capabilities. It was when one of his high school Social Studies teacher, Mr. Masi, told the entire class one day that he would be DJ’ing a friends party that Hoy was reignited with the drive to continue pursuing his passion.
“We hit it off talking about stuff we only understood, [and] he ended up bringing his Technics turntables into class one day, and I started scratching and learning how to put the records on.” “It was really impactful to have a teacher show me it was cool what I wanted to do.” “I saved some cash and bought a used set of Technics and officially started learning in private when I was supposed to be practicing my drum rudiments. The first album I ever laid on a deck was in the back of a closet in my basement “Max Bygraves Singalongamovies Vol. 9.” Then shortly after I found a copy of MJ’s Thriller at Salvation Army. I was scratching old Bygraves over Billie Jean in no time.”
So how did the evolution continue from there? “The internet was my savior, using the family computer to look up “Ellaskins” instructional DJ videos on YouTube, how to do simple mixes with turntables…then I bought many sets of CDJ’s,” recalls Hoy. Despite the hesitation from family, and the push to stay in the traditional band framework, Hoy continued to learn off of YouTube tutorials and watched hours of DJ A/M and Q Bert scratch videos alongside some of his friends. From there, a DJ Duo was born with a close friend, and hundreds of sharpied CDs in binders followed.
“Everyone around me was saying I should sell my gear and play in bands but I had a feeling I’d be successful anyways, and set off to DJ my first paid gig.” His first goal was to DJ his high school’s Halloween Dance, but the staff weren’t yet sure of the blooming DJ’s skill set at the ripe age of fourteen. Despite not achieving this goal, he remained motivated, and found an opportunity to DJ a friend’s Halloween party – alongside a tip jar. “[I] made more in a little tip jar than I ever had playing drums!”
With too main roadblocks to playing school events at his high school, Hoy decided to take measures into his own hands and start his own company with the help of his friends putting on local shows. First big gig? The Cloverdale Rodeo. “I had set up a situation with the Rodeo where if I created a stage with bands to perform, pay them and take care of sound and equipment then they would allow me to DJ with my expanded DJ crew “DETH KLOWN”.” The night started with the typical rodeo activities of bull riding, live acts, etc. and ended with Hoy getting anyone from authentic cowboys to local teenagers up on their feet dancing. “It was really crazy, [and I] had to do a lot of work to make it happen, but by then I was in the local papers and social media making a stir”.
Hoy explains how Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary had a bulletin board with any student’s newspaper articles displayed and sure enough, his DJ’ing efforts were highlighted following the successful rodeo gig. From there, they gave him the long-waited opportunity to achieve his goal of DJ’ing a school dance. The possibilities were endless. He was 17-years-old, with his own lighting and sound system, and a support crew, to manage any big event ahead.
“At 18, I was asked to DJ Surrey’s “Pre Teen Dance,” a real memorable experience for any Surrey kids. I played one to fill in for DJ Cuzo, and it turned out that he was leaving the position and was looking to hand it off to a young driven DJ.” Full circle, and now Hoy was the one giving youth the opportunity to try out his equipment like his teacher did for him only a few years prior.
“Around this time I was helping design a music workshop with the City of Surrey called “Band Aid” with some friends which brought industry mentors to help young musicians learn stage presence, recording, management and marketing. The musicians from that workshop are now some of my close friends and are really killing the game.”
Carson was really gaining confidence in his craft as his high school years came to an end, and was taking pride in any opportunity he had to perform – whether it be at a community event or at a friend’s “wild mansion/teenage dream-type parties.” “There’s many crazy stories from those parties, they ended up being fuel for songs I would write with my buddy Hunter who made up the other half of the Rap group “uv boys.”
“We ended up making 3 albums together and writing songs about stuff we thought was funny like [the] “Rodeo” which has become the Cloverdale Rodeo’s unofficial anthem, which I now get asked to play at my gigs in Surrey where the crowd knows all the words which is a total trip.” The uv boys have continued to broaden their spectrum with music videos and YouTube content to go along with their passion project recordings.
When Carson turned twenty, he gained his first DJ residency at Guildford’s two-floor, Taphouse venue, playing six straight Friday nights in a row to a packed dance floor. It was there where he truly learned what it took to be the center of a big event and handle the pressures of the role. Clearly as a continuous learning, he has been continuing to develop his skills as he’s grown in the field in our local scene. “I’m always pushing myself to learn new music making techniques or film or whatever I feel pulled to. I’ve DJ’d on ships, underground clubs, toured with my rap group in biker bars and slept on sidewalks, Cloverdale barn parties, packed halls, for 4-year-olds and 80-year-olds. It’’s all a learning experience of music for me, I’m not trying to be a certain type of DJ, [I] just [want] to make the night as fun as possible for any crowd I play for.”
When asked what equipment he chooses to use, Carson explains that his Macbook and a Traktor S2 mixer are his go-to’s. “DJs usually ask why I don’t use other larger more traditional gear, but I’m into how portable it is having carried hundred pound speakers and drums since I was 6 years old. I’ll be onto something new one day when I get the feeling, just like with drums.”
So what’s Carson Hoy up to as of lately? “Recently I’ve created “Cloverdale Studios” where I recorded my track with uv boys, “Accident,” that just aired on Surrey Pop station Pulse FM. I’ve collaborated internationally with artists from Zimbabwe to Toronto and am now working with a record label in Vancouver daily.
I’ll be going on tours soon with my original music and using these party rockin skills for those shows, but I’ll forever be excited to come back home to Surrey and play for the people who really helped me come up.” He especially gets excited about talking to the youth he meets at his gigs, acting as an official mentor for the industry locally. “I never had a younger sibling or anything so giving kids the headphones and showing them how to DJ has been a real cool experience for me.”
While recounting his evolution, Hoy elaborates that there’s so much history to write out fully about him and his connection to Surrey. “I didn’t realize how much there was until now, but it’s absolutely a great place to create art and offers little resistance to creativity and fun.” And where can you find Hoy exercising this creativity and fun? Catch him at various City of Surrey events throughout the year, or on a regular basis at the Civic Hotel’s Dominion Bar & Kitchen on Fridays and Saturdays. And for all those other events he spreads his time amongst, you can find him at local Lower Mainland spots such as The Clayton, The Henry, Oak and Thorne, and various Vancouver yacht parties.
Want to keep in the loop with all of Carson’s latest and greatest, upcoming gigs, music launches, and more? Follow him here: