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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW SEVEN LAYER PIANO CAKES 

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to start the band / become a soloist?

I have always been a musician (my parents got me going on the piano at age 3!) and I took a lot of time to focus on my professional career (I am a lawyer and law professor).  But when the pandemic hit, I decided that, instead of focusing on the negative, I would use my extra time without a commute to get back into music and give it a go.  I assumed the moniker of “Seven Layer Piano Cakes” as a nod to my love of seventh chords, layered music, the keys, and baked goods.

Introduce us you / all to the members and your musical history?

Seven Layer Piano Cakes is just me (Justin Hoyt), but I have an irreplaceable collaborator who works with me on all of my songs, the great Ian Stahl.  Ian is my co-producer, co-writer on a number of tracks, recording engineer and mixer, and studio psychologist.  Ian also plays lead guitar on some of my songs and helps design the beats.  I grew up on the piano, and then learned bass, guitar and vocals later in my youth.  I picked up drumming to an extent, but there’s a reason we usually use electronic beats on most of the songs, haha.  I was classically, and am a proud attendee (I think it’s a better word than “dropout”) of Juilliard’s evening division, but I always wanted to take that background and implement it in music that had more of a dream pop and chill rock vibe to it.

Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

Who are your biggest influences?  I don’t mind answering the question, but I like letting the listener decide whom they hear as an influence in my stuff, rather than me do it for them.  

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

I am convinced that Spotify is the devil.  Not really, but I do think the model has had and will continue to have a negative impact on the creation and output of new music.

What useless party trick do you have?

I can do a really good Marlon Brando impression.

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

I got pulled out of the mosh pit at a Green Day concert in like 2002 and played the bass on a song and then did a successful stage dive after.  They actually caught me!

What was the worst experience on stage?

I once was performing with a new band and the song was in 6/8 and the drummer started playing it in 4/4.  We didn’t start it over but that was quite the adjustment to make on the fly.  

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

I love metal, classical music, and pop equally.  

If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?

Dreamy and melancholic, but still cautiously optimistic rock that blends a lot of genres and sneaks in a lot of callbacks to classical music and straight up pop if you listen closely enough.

What makes you stand out as a band/Artist?

I think that is for the listener to decide.  But I suppose one thing I can say is that my music tends to use a lot of chords and atypical progressions, and a lot of ambitious vocal harmonies.  

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )

That getting on many playlists these days is more about fitting in than standing out.   



What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

“Middlegame” – a song I released last year.  It’s like if Post Malone, Beach House, Kid Cudi and Blink 182 got together and had an affair and nursed their illegitimate child on Sidecars (the classic cocktail)   

I hear you have a new single/album/ep, what can you tell us about it?

“Remy” drops on February 4, and is a song about my relationship with my young son.  It’s a dreamy but energetic rock tune with some pop hooks, and builds to a super layered outro where I try and channel my best Brian Wilson impression.

Talk me through the thought process of the single/album/ep?

I wanted to write a song that captured my feelings on my relationship with my little guy, and then have an outro that tried to resemble how a 5 year old processes a lot of complicated information.

What was the recording process like?

Two magical days in the studio where everything just came together without strain or mental effort.  It just flowed.  Ian Stahl, my wizard-like collaborator, was definitely locked in and helped the song get there rapidly.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?

Definitely the guitar part.  Of all the instruments, I am least proficient on the guitar, so writing the lead took the most effort, but laying it down wasn’t too bad.

Would you change anything now its finished?

I might add some extra weird percussion here and there but not much else.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

I am working on some heavier tracks and looking to keep recording but also collaborating with other vocalists to give the songs some different feels and hopefully appeal to a wider audience.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I think “Ondine” by Maurice Ravel (the first movement of Gaspard de la Nuit) is the best song ever written.