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Gregory Adam Hoy (born February 17 1973) is an American musician, engineer, and songwriter. As a rock songwriter, he's released over thirty albums under various monikers such as The Royal Panics, Greg Hoy and The Boys, and Twice As Bright. He has worked with a variety of artists in various capacities including recordings with The Last Town Chorus, performing at the base of the World Trade Center with Glenn Branca, and engineering bands with Steve Albini and J. Robbins. In addition to music, he works as a 'people engineer' in tech having hired and built the first creative teams for Facebook, Pinterest, and Lyft. He's performed at conferences such as Noise Pop, SXSW, and CMJ, and performed on the main stage at Latitude Festival in the UK.
Several of Hoy's songs have been featured on network television on shows such as 'One Tree Hill' and MTV's 'Made'. He was a host for the original Arlene's Grocery Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke in New York City. Since 2007, Hoy has run a record label, 30 Peak, and does production and soundtrack work under the name earhopper.
Early years and inspiration
Hoy studied communications and marketing at Westminster College in Western Pennsylvania, working first as a writer, then becoming Editor-in-Chief, for the school newspaper. Inspired by Trent Reznor who grew up near the school and, previous to the success of Nine Inch Nails, played the same clubs around Youngstown, Ohio, as Hoy's college band, he bought a used four-track cassette recorder. This began his journey engineering bands in a lo-fi music style.
His first release was a cassette of eight songs. Hoy wrote and performed all of the instruments. In 1996, the tape gained Hoy a place in the Graffiti Showcase, an annual 'battle of the bands' in nearby Pittsburgh. Hoy put together a band specifically to play the showcase. Upon learning that the recording upon which he was selected was not a full-band recording, the judges rejected their showcase's performance preventing them from moving on to the final stage of the competition. The Pittsburgh City Paper interviewed Hoy about the ensuing controversy which led to an offer to intern in their production department.
It was during this time that Hoy met the artist Bill Miller who introduced him to the music of Guided By Voices. This would propel Hoy deeper into writing and recording. 'I'm a music addict,' Hoy said later in an interview, '[and] you can blame my love of Uncle Bob / Guided By Voices for this'.
New York City years
In early 1999, Bill Miller offered a job to Hoy at The Village Voice's new paper, The Long Island Voice, as Assistant Art Director. Upon the move, he and Miller began experimenting with instrumental lo-fi recordings on Hoy's four track that would lead to a project called Jesusfill. Hoy began a small record label, Dunket, to release this and other lo-fi recordings of friend's music.
Greg met Geordie Grindle of The Teen Idles through mutual friends and was exposed to the Washington, DC Dischord hardcore scene. Through both Grindle and Kingface bassist Andy Rapoport, Hoy's musical DIY aesthetic was reinforced. Grindle landed Hoy a slot playing with Glenn Branca's Symphony for 100 Guitars at the base of the World Trade Center in June of 2001.
Hoy began working with several bands in various capacities as drummer, guitarist, and engineer. His first lo-fi recordings of The Last Town Chorus led to their eventual full-length release, as well as a subsequent tour of the U.S. and parts of England with Hoy performing live keyboards and occasional guitar. He worked for a short time as the talent booker for Brooklyn's Pete's Candy Store. This exposed him to many up-and-coming artists such as Will Oldham, Magnetic Fields, and Norah Jones' Puss N Boots. Several of his self releases in this period were distributed by power pop label Not Lame helping songs get exposure outside of the U.S. He also composed and recorded Eno-inspired ambient lobby music for marketing company Digitas, and through this relationship, scored several early internet commercials for American Express.
While busking on a corner in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn with a Casio keyboard, Hoy found himself briefly chatting with David Byrne who gave Hoy a dollar which he has to this day.
Woodstock and moving west
Hoy bought a farmhouse north of New York City in 2008 with the intent of building out a recording studio around a newly purchased vintage 8-track Tascam reel-to-reel recorder. Several recordings were made but the remote location proved unviable for steady income. Hoy moved to Boulder, Colorado in mid-2010 to work as a creative scout for Crispin, Porter, & Bogusky. Within a week of his start at the 'Advertising Agency of the Decade, the shop's founder Alex Bogusky quit. In October of that year, Facebook reached out to Hoy about joining as their first creative recruiter. Prior to his move farther west, Hoy recorded several songs with drummer Steve Sutherland, late of Grant Hart's Nova Mob. He then bought a used VW Golf to drive his analog recording gear to Palo Alto, California.
Hoy started at Facebook on Valentine's Day of 2011 charged with growing the 12 person design team at the then less than 1000 person company. He purchased a karaoke machine for his apartment, and set up a small recording studio within it. He used the relocation money provided by Facebook to record with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago as well as a three day recording at Tiny Telephone with John Vanderslice in San Francisco. About the 2011 recordings, Hoy said 'I figured it was funner and cheaper than any audio school to record with these guys.' It was also during this time that Hoy became an outspoken proponent of standing desks and was interviewed about them by the Wall Street Journal.
Hoy put together a three-piece band, The Royal Panics, in 2012 and began performing at clubs in the Bay area. He also restarted marketing scoring under the name earhopper, putting together music and sound design for Pinterest brand videos, game effects for Adobe, and starting a podcast. Hoy created the Pinnebago for Pinterest, driving it to SXSW and back with fellow maker Skip Bronkie to help promote the company's employee brand. Performing at Noise Pop and SXSW in 2017, Hoy recently released his 30th full-length album on his own label, 30 Peak. He currently performs with drummer Jason Slota of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down along with various others as Greg Hoy & The Boys.
- "Glenn Branca Premiered 'Orgasm,' His New Symphony For 100 Guitars". Bedford + Bowery. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
- "Why Pinterest Employees Took A Road Trip In This "Pinnebago"". Fast Company. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "Royal Panic". Insight & Critique. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "Music Preview:Last Town Chorus sings a haunting song". old.post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- Jentzen, Aaron. "Greg Hoy & The Enablers". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "CP + B: Ad Agency of the Decade". The Balance. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- Carlton, Jim (2011-09-01). "Standing Desks Are on the Rise". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "The Life of Limetown - Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine. 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "Local scene in music this week". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
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