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SPIN SETS Presents: Hayden James

Hayden James is a triple-platinum Sydney born producer who delivers joy in his music bringing people together. Hayden broke into the scene in 2013 with his debut song Permission to Love which was the song that launched his career. He has performed at venues like NY’s Webster Hall, LA’s Fonda Theatre, Amsterdam’s Paradiso and festivals such as Las Vegas’ Art of the Wild, Melbourne’s Beyond The City and more. On his most recent project LIFTED, he brings smooth vocals infused with high energy and even collaborated with artist such as Elderbrook, Boo Seeka, Jem Cooke, SIDEPIECE, Yaeger and Cassian. With his latest release will come a North American tour and an upcoming performance at Coachella.

He sat down with SPIN to talk about his favorite synthesizer, unique writing process, upcoming tour, and much more. Stream LIFTED here and dance the night away with his SET below.


Check out Hayden James’s electrifying SET below! Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJ/producers breaking through the electronic sphere.


Who is Hayden James and what do you stand for?
I’m a Sydney based music producer and DJ. I’ve always followed my instincts and kept true to what I feel makes me, me!


Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
I write electronic pop/house music that’s emotionally driven by personal experiences and relationships. My sound is quite clean, simple pop and I feel there’s a real art to that. For me, visuals play a huge role in how I create. One of the biggest influences when I started out was the album ‘Discovery’ by Daft Punk. The movie that also came out with that release (interstellar 5555) taught me just how important and powerful visuals are when paired with music. One of my writing techniques is actually to put on some of my favorite film clips, mute them and write to them. This helps my creature process in so many ways.


Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
I definitely think releasing ‘Something about you’ in 2015 was a big moment but at no point (even now) do I feel I’ve ‘made it’. I’m just so happy I can create music for my job and travel the world playing it to people.


What is your favorite memory about any live performance?
My favorite memory is walking onto the main stage at a festival in Byron bay called ‘Splendour in the grass’. It was the first show of my ‘Between us’ album and the biggest show I had ever played. It was also really special because I had been to the festival so many times as a punter and to play the main stage was… unbelievable.

What was the experience like producing for Katy Perry?
Amazing to say the least. She’s such a fun, energetic, incredibly talented songwriter. We ended up writing music together for a couple of weeks in Santa Barbara and released a song on her witness album called ‘De Ja Vu’. Such a crazy experience and so inspiring.

What is your favorite sound(s) or instrument(s) to use in your music?
The Dave Smith prophet 6 is my go to synthesizer. Not only for its sound but its ease of use. I don’t love menu diving when I’m trying to get an idea down.. it’s the instrument I know the most out of all the synths I have.



What is the inspiration behind your new album LIFTED?
I wrote the album in lock down and wanted to capture the feeling of energy and excitement you have when you go watch live music with your friends. It’s an uplifting vibe that will always put you in the right mood filled with emotion and love.

In what ways have you pushed yourself beyond existing self-imposed limitations?
I’ve learned to let go a bit and trust myself more than I ever have. I try to trust my initial ideas a lot more. Sometimes when something comes quickly or easily you think it’s not good enough, but they’re the songs that are usually the best ones.

What’s next for Hayden James?
Lots of touring! I’m about to perform my first ‘Lifted’ show at Coachella and after that I’m on the road for the next few months in the USA/CANADA/EU/AUSTRALIA. I can’t wait to be back out on the road and performing this new album to fans.

What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
I think it’s a very interesting time for electronic music because everyone has a studio.. if you own a laptop you can write music. The barriers to entry have changed and now everyone has the ability to write, which I think is amazing. I become more and more inspired everyday listening to new music and discovering new artists.

Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Hope you love the new album, ‘Lifted’. I can’t wait to see you out there at a show x love, HJ.