“If the title track is any indication, the album will showcase Calnin’s free-flowing creativity and knack for creating ambient textures to prop up his voice, which slithers in and out of frame.”
Consequence Of Sound
“He knows how to combine an atmospheric ambience with a soulful indie-folk sound. What ties it all together is his voice…” – Pigeons and Planes
Hayden Calnin was raised in the serene and rural town of Red Hill before spending the majority of his current adult years in the vibrant city of Melbourne, a place that embraces creativity and encourages artistic experimentation. Hayden’s work definitely represents this mindset, his musical writing crosses from folk into the realm of electronic, layered with his unique vocals and production. It’s his determination to push himself sonically as well as artistically that has helped him gain international acclaim, including sync placements on numerous USA TV shows such as Suits, Parenthood, Teen Wolf and the UK and Japanese trailers for recently Oscar-nominated, Room.
Following two critically acclaimed EPs and drawing comparisons to Bon Iver, M83, Dawn Golden as well as Beach House, Hayden’s rapidly growing fan base have been asking for more releases, more tracks and more of Hayden worldwide. He decided to spend the time refining and cultivating the vision and musical ingredients behind his long anticipated album, which he’s finally completed. And that’s just the half of it… In the near future Hayden will be releasing not one, but two albums worth of breath-taking material.
Produced and recorded by Hayden in his home studio, the inspiration to release ‘Cut Love Pt 1’ initially came about when Hayden was contacted by UK based, award winning, contemporary dancer/choreographer, Lukas McFarlane, who was in search of new musical material to choreograph and perform to. The result is an expedition through Hayden’s free-flowing creativity, which takes listeners on an unexpected musical journey through his internal musings on falling out of and into love, relationships and everything in between. Created from musical understanding worthy of Justin Vernon, the record delivers a sequence of captivating, emotional and honest tracks, forming an insight into the mindset of Hayden’s sonic world.
I got the chance to chat with Hayden (AKA Haydo) not long ago.
Hi Haydo, when James emailed me to do a news piece on your new release I was blown away when I listened to ‘Cut Love.’ I was at home and put my headphones on and laid back. I felt transported to another world. Is that what you hope to happen when people listen to your songs?
I always hope that it does. I understand that my music isn’t for everybody and that it often requires you to pretty much close your eyes and sit back and these days people are often waiting for something to explode into some big catchy hook or something. That’s just not what I’m about when I write my music. I write what I think works best for the song and telling a story. So that is awesome news that it did transport you somewhere else! Now I have seen the video I think ‘Cut Love’ has been enhanced by the visually orchestrated dance by Lukas McFarlane and Daisy your sister.
How was the making of the music video? Shooting in two places, Otway National park and the suburbs of Melbourne, how long did the video take to shoot? Did you come up with the concept of the contrasting scenes and work with Lukas on the dance? How was it all planned?
It was such a pleasure to work with the team around it. I got in contact with my old uni buddy Thom Neal from my film study days and knew that he’d be the best fit for the job. So we did lots of planning on locations and camera gear and his cinematography is pretty incredible. He’s got mad skills. With Lukas it was a little different. We are both big fans of each other and we knew that at some point we would want to collaborate on something and meet up in person. Lukas presented me with a brief on an idea for a music video for Cut Love and he pretty much just let me take the reins on it and make it all happen. So when Lukas arrived in Melbourne, I picked him up and we drove out to Lorne in Victoria and had a night out there to get to know each other a little bit before we drove out to the Otway Ranges the next day to film the video. I knew my little sister Daisy would be perfect for the role of the female part, and Lukas just trusted me on that. I know he is glad that he did because we were all so chuffed with the result. It was a very special day for everyone involved in the shoot. We were in this beautiful forest away from everything and whenever Lukas did a take of the dance, the whole crew got a bit teary. It was a very emotional day. After the forest shoot, the whole crew drove back to the city to my friends’ rooftop garden and we filmed Daisy’s scene there. Lots of little things happened by chance, like the puddle of water which the whole dance revolves around. When we were moving some stuff out of the way, I cut my hand on a broken beer bottle and we had to wash away all the glass to make sure Daisy didn’t cut her feet. The water didn’t really drain anywhere so we were left with a puddle of water which ended up being so beautiful and a key part of the clip. Happy accidents, I guess.
Going back to Daisy, your sister being in the music video, is all your family talented in the art of Music and Dance? Do you think that your unique music style is partly due to your families influence and where you lived when growing up?
Our holiday house is right near Red Hill. Beautiful place! All the Calnin’s are artistic in one way or another. Our parents let us follow our passions rather than the books, so we’ve got to thank them for not hounding us to become lawyers or doctors and to enter the arts world. Being Daisy’s older brother, I’ve watched her grow as a dancer and actress throughout the years and I’m about as proud as anyone could be seeing the woman she is growing into. My two older sisters Gracey and Laura are extremely talented also. Grace is an artist and also does all my album covers and Laura is an incredible photographer. My Mum is also a whiz at anything arts and craft. Dad, not so much, he’s a business type through and through but he encourages us all so much to do what we love doing. Red Hill definitely played a huge roll in shaping us all into very relaxed and creative people. It is a place that just screams beauty and it is definitely the place that I call home.
Looking at the success of your album release, you posted on facebook that it broke the top 20 a few days ago, is there any update on that?
Yes! It got to #18 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter album charts in Australia. No update as yet but I’m stoked already on how it’s going for a debut LP that we’ve worked completely independently.
You have sync placements on numerous USA TV shows such as Suits, Parenthood, Teen Wolf and the UK and Japanese trailers for recently Oscar-nominated, Room. Having your music in these shows to heighten the emotions felt for viewers, how satisfying is that for you that your music can be used in this way?
Sync placements seem to be my niche. I’ve had a fair few of them now, so I guess that means my music sits nicely with visuals. It is a pretty weird but wonderful thing whenever I see one of my songs on a TV show or a movie trailer or something like that. I’m always like ‘reallllly? they wan’t my song? dope!’
What was your inspiration for the cover art on the album?
My sister Gracey created the piece for my album. I basically just told her to incorporate the two EP designs into one piece. It’s the forest meets the city. No one has seen the artwork for Part II yet, but it is an extension to the artwork seen in Part I.
Now a question about time. How on earth have you had the time to write and record two albums, bring out a music video and oh year starting your own independent record label? a) can you tell us about how long it took to write the two albums and if there were any difficulties. b) Can you tell us about starting the label and why you wanted to do so?
I haven’t ever really thought about any of that before. I kinda just do it when I feel it. I started recording the album about a year and a half ago, going back and forth from Sydney working with a magical man and producer Tim Carr. We knuckled out all the songs I knew I wanted on the album. All the songs I recorded with Tim are on Part II so you haven’t heard them yet. While I was going back and forth from Sydney, I was recording and writing a lot at home in my spare time and I ended up with another 10 tracks under my belt and thought that I best release them because they all fit with one another. I never imagined that I would be putting out a double album for my first big release but life is pretty unpredictable I guess. I decided to go completely Independent and release under my own record label, Woodlyn Records, about 6 months ago. It allows me have creative control and have control of release dates. I like being the man, and not working for them. It can be really tough seeing the control that contracts from larger labels can hold over artists. I’ve seen so many of my friends go down that path and come out frustrated and hating it. I wanted to avoid that and start something on my own, and would like to let it grow into something more up-to-date than the current system a lot of record labels have in place. I think smaller, more intimate labels are the future for music. Simply put, I just love songwriting and I’d love to create a space where people can be innovative and more truthful about their art and not be forced into following a certain mould because the bigger machines in the industry force you to. So I’m leading by example and trying to stay true to the art form by releasing what I want to release. Boom.
I enjoy reading bands facebook pages especially when it makes me laugh. You have a great sense of humor. Your post “How is everyone enjoying Part I ? Think of it as the calm before the storm (the storm being Part II) which is coming in May. you can grab Part I on itunes “ Nice use of hashtags! You have a real connection with your fans, reply to them and in a very timely manner. Is this something that you plan on maintaining?
It has a nice personal touch. Absolutely. I have to thank those that are helping me do what I do. It still blows my mind that people reach out to me. I will continue that forever. It is so important.
Can you tell me which single you will release next? What are your immediate plans? It would be great if you could take a rest but I am sure your fans don’t want that at all!
Nope. Sorry, it’s a secret. But you will hear it soon enough! I guess my immediate plans are letting the album do its thing and then tour it so people can experience it live.
Thanks for the chat, Jen. You’re a legend!
Thanks for your time, I shall look forward to your responses and I shall keep listening to Part 1 and await Part 2!