Despite having a bloody small population, Australia maintains a strong position at the forefront of the electronic music world, and one of the head-honchos in the pack is Hayden James.
The Sydney-based producer might not release a lot of music, have any albums under his belt or for that matter many EPs, but it seems fairly obvious that everything he does touch turns to gold. At least that is what Katy Perry thinks, as it was good enough reason for her to work with the Future Classic artist on her forthcoming album.
So Katy's album 'Witness' dropping today, we thought now would be a good time to catch up with Hayden to talk all things Katy Perry and when the hell we can expect some new tunes!
Stoney Roads: Hey Hayden, how the hell are ya?
Hi guys, great thanks. I’m currently in the USA playing some shows and writing some music. Good times.
SR: So you've recently worked on a track with Katy Perry which is on her forthcoming album. How the hell did this come to be?
Yeah! Katy got in touch with me last year to see if I wanted to work with her on her new album, ‘Witness’. When I first got the call to work with her I thought it was a prank! Soon after my manager and I realised it was the real deal.
I spent a few weeks with her at the end of last year and early this year working on loads of songs and ideas which was a pretty incredible experience! The studio sessions were very surreal.. just me, Katy and Farras (co writer), so it was a really collaborative process. It wasn’t this big studio session with a whole bunch of producers.. just us. Katy’s voice is next level in person and I have a lot of respect for her as an artist.
Before the first studio sessions I spent a lot of time writing as many demos as possible. Katy really vibed my last few releases and she wanted me to reference that style. We wrote a whole bunch of tracks together and I had no idea if one would make the record. Pumped that ‘DEJA VU’ made it on there.
SR: When we found out about the track, we felt more proud than surprised. You've been putting in the hard yards so it's much deserved. How did it feel for you to be part of something of this scale?
Thank you! I was completely blown away. It was really incredible to work with an artist with her calibre and reach. It’s pretty cool she’s used a broad range of producer’s on this album (Jack Garratt, Purity Ring etc). I really respect the confidence she has in herself as an artist. The experience definitely gave me more confidence in my own songwriting process and direction.
The track has an interesting story actually… I wrote the demo a early last year with the idea that it would become a song I would release, then mid last year I spent an afternoon with my mate Tom (Golden Features) on the track before I knew about the Katy sessions. We wrote a bunch of different synth lines together for the song, then the track really took shape once I had spent time with Katy in the studio, she writes so quick!
SR: When we shared the article on our site it went crazy. It could be because our audience knows how rare Hayden James tracks are haha. What is the reasoning behind your largely spaced out releases? What is the process when you're working on music?
Haha..Yeah, it’s been a while between songs but I’ve got some new music coming out real soon! The next single is a taste of the album I’m working on.
Over the last year I’ve been writing with a few people, touring a lot - plus being a bit of a perfectionist - it takes me a while to get to a point where I’m happy to put something out there.
My process is always different. I’ll either start with some chords, a vocal idea or i’ll have a sample I found that eventuates into something I can work with. Always different.
SR: It seems, now more than ever, that electronic music has become a massive role in the mainstream, pop realm. As a producer, what do you make of this? And where do you see yourself and electronic music in general in the future?
You don’t have to search too hard to find examples of really great pop music with electronic producers or influences these days. Yes, there’s a lot of shit out there, but there’s also a lot of artist doing some really exciting and amazing things combining these genres / new production techniques. At the end of the day for me it’s all about good song writing. Personally for my project i’ve never experimented more with different genres and production whilst keeping the ‘song writing’ as the focus.
SR: Finally, is there anything you are currently working on? What's on the horizon for Hayden James?
I’ve never had so many demos / finished songs under my belt, so i’m really excited to release lots of new music this year. Tour wise i’m currently in the USA playing a few shows between writing sessions - 'Splash house’ in Palm Springs this weekend and a DJ in Brooklyn next weekend. I’m over here for a little while finishing up some music before I head over to Europe later in the year to play.