Five Minutes with Joy Orbison at Igloofest

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Joy Orbison's closing set last Friday at Igloofest served as one of the many highlights we were glad to witness while in attendance during the Montreal festival's closing weekend. Following Orbison's two-hour jaunt through soul-washed house and shuffling bass, XLR8R took a few minutes to check in with the London producer/DJ, discussing his approach to playing tunes in the midst of a snowstorm, his admiration for Carl Craig, and his goals for 2013.

Is this your first time playing Igloofest?
Yeah, my first time in Canada actually.

How has Canada been so far?
It's been quite intense. We got in yesterday and last night it really started snowing. It's been a bit of a blizzard almost. In England, if we had this weather, it would be chaos.

Were you surprised to see how many people actually made it out tonight?
Yeah, definitely surprised. If we had done something like this in England [and it snowed this much], they'd cancel it.

Was it cold on stage?
The generators actually worked really well, but my feet and my hands were a bit cold. The stage manager actually made me gloves; he came back about halfway through [my set] and he had cut-off gloves for me.

Do you end up playing outdoors often?
Not really. Some festivals in the UK have been outdoors.

Is there something different about playing outside? Do you play differently than you would inside a club?
Yeah, I suppose. I played a few songs that were slightly ironic [considering the conditions], "Lovelee Dae" by Blaze and another track where "I Feel the Heat" was the main lyric. [laughs] I was surprised just watching how excited people would get. I don't know how they managed to keep that energy out there. It was insane at some points, but I think they knew that if they didn't go crazy, they would be cold. [laughs] It was great. People reacted so much better than I expected.

What was the track you opened with? The lyrics had something to do with 1962.
It's a version of a Gregory Porter track that I heard Theo Parrish play before. I like to start with something like that—something a little bit soulful—because I think it puts people in the right frame of mind playfully, rather than going in and being a punisher. It's a way of making myself feel comfortable too, starting off with a song that I really like, and then I can get into it more.

You played a Junior Boys edit tonight too, are you a fan?
Yeah, I really like the Junior Boys. That's actually a Carl Craig edit and I love Carl Craig, he's been a big influence on me. I think he's probably the best remix artist in the world, and he's had such a massive influence on so much [of the music] that I like, and at first, I didn't even realize it. There's a lot of suspense in his tracks. It gets boring listening to music that is just up and down, up and down, but he has a way of getting a real feeling and he really holds people. If I was to make a track that tried to hold people for that long, it'd be fucking difficult, but he does it amazingly.

You seemed to be really active on the EQs tonight. Is that something you think is important to maintaining a flow during a set?
Yeah, I think so. Obviously, there's always a worry you might overdo it. I like this feeling that you can control certain aspects [of the music] in order to hold people. Some tracks are quite formulaic and they don't really have the dips that you want, but it's nice to be able to control that. It's really just the bass though, isn't it? It's just keeping the kick in or pulling it out.

2013 is still getting under way, any big plans or goals for the year ahead?
I'd like to have a better year than the last. That's always what I'm working towards.

What would make it a better year?
I played a lot last year, but I'd definitely like to play more—to reach more people and not just preach to the converted as much [laughs] and hopefully to get to play with the kind of people I look up to. Playing a festival like this is great, getting to play with really good DJs like [Oneman] and to play a festival that is genuinely really interesting. I don't often to get to play places that have a view from the decks that is as amazing [as it was tonight]. It was unbelievable.