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Hayden James

Hayden James

Interviewed by
Glen Meltzer
Friday 15th November, 2013 9:35AM

Hayden James is a Sydney based producer, releasing some of the most creative and forward thinking electronic music today. Signed to illustrious label Future Classic, he and label-mate Flume are raising the bar for dance producers everywhere. His remixes are coveted on Hypemachine and singles off his debut self titled EP have topped dance radio rotation charts here and around the world. Playing tomorrow night in Auckland, UnderTheRadar got the chance to ask the man himself a few questions...

What initially made you want to make music and start playing it live?

I wanted to make people feel/dance to something I had written.

Your Hayden James EP features a track called ‘Embrace’, however there’s a different version of the track downloadable on your Soundcloud page, what made you pick the version in your EP?

Confusing huh?! I wrote the downloadable version first. It was kind of a demo that after a few months, ended up turning into the 'Embrace' track you hear on the EP. I released this version because everyone I played that to really liked it... I feel both versions have their own feel/something different.

The Australian music industry is in the spotlight lately thanks to the acclaim of such artists as yourself and label mate Flume, as well as Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma and Chet Faker. Has Australia always had such a high calibre of underground music?

I think so. My first real experience of Australian electronic music was The Presets' Beams album, Cut Copy's 'In Ghost Colours' and The Midnight Juggernauts. These guys opened the door to the indie/dance/electronic genres for me. There are all strong albums that did really well everywhere! That being said, I think the scene in Australia is the strongest it's ever been at the moment. Sooooo many exciting acts coming out of our country. Without getting too deep, I think it also has something to do with the way we release music and the way we write it. There's a lot more freedom now.

Who is currently influencing your work the most?

I listen to lots of different types of music but if I had to single out a few influences they would be: Jai Paul, James Blake, Daft Punk, Kaytranada, Cashmere Cat

How do you treat remixes as opposed to creating a brand new track?

Writing an original compared with a remix is a very different process for me. My originals have personal feelings/emotions of mine. I obviously don't write the songs I remix, so it's just a different feeling for me. I love both forms of writing. Remixing gives me a outlet to try different things I might not try in original material.

What are your DJ sets like these days?

Hah I'm going to say strong.. ;) I like to play a few different genres in my sets. It's made up of artists I'm influenced by at the time and some of my own stuff.

Do you have any collaborations coming up in the near future? Who would be your dream artist to work with?

I've been writing with some very talented people lately. I'll be releasing some new music soon that features some Aussie talent!

The 8-bit visuals on your video for Permission To Love are fantastic, who gets the credit for all the animations?

Thanks! The guys at 'Entropico' in Sydney made the clip.

It seems that when some Australian / New Zealand artists sing, their distinctive accents seem to morph into these pseudo-American-ised vocals. Why do you think this is? Is it a conscious thing to do?

Hmm yeah I agree. I can definitely hear it in Aus/NZ rapping though!! It's not a conscious decision for me to change anything.. it's just the way I sound.

Can you tell us a bit a few tracks from your new EP?


This is the first song I wrote for the EP. It's also the first time I wrote lyrics and sang on anything.. hah lots of firsts there. Production wise, writing this song taught me that I don't need to fill a track with all sorts of crazy sounds and synth lines etc to make a big impact.. The more simple the process, can often lead to a much stronger idea/song.

No Time

No time started as a 120BPM disco jam. I wasn't feeling it at all. I slowed it right down and changed the groove before asking a friend to sing on it. It's one of my favourites on the EP. Most of my songs start somewhere completely different to how they end up.

Permission To Love

As soon as I wrote the chords/vocals and added the guitar line I knew I had something. I wrote the song in a few hours but took a few weeks to produce and mix it. The songs that are the quickest to write are usually the best I find.

Tickets to Hayden James show tomorrow night at The Roxy are available here.


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