Veteran Canadian indie rock artist Hayden gets hypnotized first by Steve Buscemi and later by the National‘s Matt Berninger in the video for his new song “On a Beach,” which also features Feist. The song is off of Hayden’s first new album in eight years, Are We Good, which is out on April 5 through Arts & Crafts.
Besides his cameo in the video, Berninger co-wrote album tracks “It’s Just Me” and “Can’t Happen Now,” extending a partnership that birthed the song “Take Me Out of Town” from his 2021 solo debut, Serpentine Prison.
Berninger’s the National bandmate, Aaron Dessner, co-produced “It’s Just Me” and the Leonard Cohen tribute “We Danced.” Additional tracks that he worked on with Hayden are expected to be released at some future point. Big Thief drummer James Krivchenia also appears on Are We Good.
“One afternoon [in] February 2021 I was asleep at my piano when I received a text from my friend Leslie [Feist], inviting me to be a part of a songwriting workshop with several other musicians of note,” Hayden explains of the unusually collaborative nature of Are We Good. “I was terrified, but joined in as an attempt to jolt myself out of submission. The idea was to write a song a day for seven consecutive days, sharing them later each evening with the other writers. A great combination of pure feet to the fire expression and accountability.”
He continues, “‘On a Beach’ was my ‘day four’ submission. I continued tinkering with the song and recording in the following weeks, adding a bridge, [and] tracking several synth lines to try to create what I thought hypnosis may sound like. A few weeks later, Leslie was in town and I invited her to sing on a newer verse I’d written to make the song more of a conversation. Who better than the best, and the one who basically made the song happen in the first place.”