Cory Hotline dialled up a cosmic collision of funk, pop, rock, and disco in their latest single and video The Wheel — which showcased HERE back in October. Today, the colourful Toronto band’s guitarist cruises through my dumbass questions. Go along for the ride:
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Conor J. Brown, mid-30s, guitarist and producer based in Toronto, Aquarius, 5’11”, 160 lbs
What is your musical origin story?
Born and raised in Ottawa, I began my musical studies on the piano at age 9, followed by the guitar at age 13. As a young teenager I studied classical and jazz music privately while honing my rock ‘n’ roll abilities and style on my own. I then went on to attend the University of Toronto where I studied classical guitar performance and completed my Bachelor of Music in Performance. I continue to produce a variety of work and maintain a very active teaching and performance schedule around Toronto.
What do we need to know about your latest project?
Based in Toronto, Cory Hotline is a cosmic collision of funk, pop, rock and disco; the kind of band you might expect to see at a raucous dance party in space. Along with their overwhelming live presence, the band boasts instantly catchy pop hooks accompanied by super-slick guitar and an air-tight rhythm section that will have the crowd dancing instantly. Comprised of meticulously selected pros from Toronto’s live music scene, Cory Hotline is a synthesis of retro nostalgia and future-facing funk with the pop sense of Maroon 5 and Michael Jackson. With years of recording and performing under their belts, Cory Hotline can currently be found doing what they do best: bringing the party on a molecular level. Their self-titled debut album is reverberating throughout the universe.
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
For Cory Hotline, it’s the vocals and our energy. Matt has such a unique voice, hits huge high notes, and is the loudest singer I’ve ever heard in my life. We play funky dancey music but with the energy of a raging rock band.
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
I think the question is: How will your life not improve by listening to Cory Hotline? LOL. This music will make you want to move, groove, put a smile on your face, share a moment with someone, dance and sing along. There’s a ton of ear candy that will tingle your senses.
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
Personally I can’t remember the first song or gig I played, it was so long ago and I guess not very memorable haha. However, for Cory Hotline, the first song we arranged as a band was Work It Out. Matt had originally written that song on his own, not for a specific project, and it’s the song that set the stage for Cory Hotline’s sound and style. Up until Work It Out we were playing around with ideas and trying to find our sound and songwriting style but didn’t have anything concrete. Work It Out just hit all the right notes and got us really excited.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you have given?
Personally my worst performance was when I performed this difficult solo classical guitar study at a music school recital when I was a teenager. I was so nervous, the piece was very difficult, and I was all by myself in front of hundreds of people. It was terrible, tons of mistakes, all in all just a horrible experience. I definitely don’t miss those awkward nervous younger years.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
Rage Against The Machine at Lollapalooza (I think 2008). I just remember the sound being so good and the crowd being absolutely insane. Zack De La Rocha had to stop the show several times and tell the crowd to calm down. People were jumping and moshing and losing their minds. The band sounded absolutely phenomenal.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
Producing music, performing regularly, and have a family.
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
There are a lot! To name a few: Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Vulpeck, Tycho, Todd Terje, Anderson Paak, Tom Misch, Parcels.
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
My tastes and preferences change all the time, but I’d say several tracks off Justin Bieber’s Purpose album and Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic album. The production and sonic impact of those two records a few years ago really caught my attention as a producer.
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
Vulfpeck, Tom Misch, Parcels, Anderson Paak, Snarky Puppy.
What do you drive and why?
I drive a colourful single speed bike. I live on the edge of downtown Toronto. Driving is terrible in this city, so biking is definitely the best way to get around.
What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
I want Wolverine super healing powers! I have several nagging injuries and I’m not getting any younger so recovery takes longer these days. I wish I could still go 110% in all my sports and activities. To me, health is probably the most important part of my life. If I’m injured or sick, life is noticeably worse.
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
I’m pretty active and I train martial arts, specifically muay thai and MMA. I guess if someone ever picks a fight with me I’ll be alright haha.
What do you collect?
I don’t collect things with the purpose of forming a collection of things, but I do have a ton of guitar picks all over the place!
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Nachos and homemade guacamole.
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Drake. LOL. To me, he is the most unremarkable rapper / singer / songwriter / performer / whatever. I don’t get off on bashing people, he’s obviously doing something right when it comes to business. But musically…this is what humanity is celebrating??? I think the world is in an “emperor’s new clothes” situation right now.
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
I recently got my first dog. She’s a mini Australian Shepperd named Lulu. She’s the cutest dog in the world, doesn’t bark, very relaxed most of the time, loves being outside, loves playing with other dogs, gets along with everyone, easy to train … I could go on haha. I think I got lucky.
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Best advice: Follow your heart. Sounds cliche, but it’s true, that’s why I’m a musician.
Worst advice: You should start planning for retirement now. Why would I want to retire???
Spin The Wheel above, hear more from Cory Hotline below, and keep in touch via their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.