Q&A: Hayden Calnin

By Alana Mazurke


Talented local singer/songwriter Hayden Calnin is set to play this years Peninsula Picnic on March 29th for a flurry of top acts, brilliant food and ofcourse copius amounts of wine. After releasing his second EP Hayden has made a name for himself amongst locals as well as putting himself in the list of up and comers to watch for most critics. Performing alongside fellow Australian acts including The Waifs, Paul Dempsey and the Pierce Brothers, Calnin will be showcasing his effortless voice and profound lyricism. He took some time to answer a few questions, so we can all get a little insight into Hayden’s writing, plans for the year and thoughts on playing boutique festivals like the Peninsula Picnic.





Its nearly been a year since the release of your second EP. Whats the biggest outcome of the release that happened in the year for your musical career?

It’s been a great year since my release. I’ve kept busy doing lots of shows around Australia. I’m lucky enough to have had ‘Coward’ synced to a couple of TV shows in the US, and the rest of the EP very well received with airplay around Australia on Radio stations such as Triple J and Fbi Radio, as well as overseas play on stations in the UK, and US and Canada. Overall, I’m really happy with how it went, and am looking forward to the next release.

Looking back to your first, do you ever compare between EPs as to what type of songwriter you were then as opposed to now? If so, what are the major differences you can hear personally?

Yes, I think about that all the time. They are two very different EPs but that’s what EPs are all about; progression and growth as a songwriter. My next release, again, will be very different to my previous work. I think it’s natural to change, and very healthy for a musician to avoid following trends too much and just play and record what you yourself are vibing at the time.

Hailing from Melbourne and having toured around Australia, how do you find the music scene here compares to the rest of the nation?

Melbourne is the awesome! I think it’s the music capital of Australia. I think Melbourne is very good at supporting live music like nowhere else in the nation and it shows with the amount of talent coming out of it, with artists such as Vance Joy and Chet Faker to name a few. There are literally music venues on almost every corner.

Youre featured on the bill for the Peninsula Picnic this year; will you be looking at playing more boutique festivals around Melbourne? Whats the one festival youd love to be on the bill for most?

New boutique festivals are popping up all the time, and I think that they’re very important for the communities they surround, so yes, I’d love to play as many of them as possible. I’ve played a few festivals now but I don’t know if I have one in mind that I’d prefer to play over others. I’d love the opportunity to play a night set, rather than a day set sometime soon. I feel my music, especially live, just suits a dark atmosphere.

You write folk lyrics but you describe you music as electro-folk. There is a big audience for electronic music nowadays; was the idea to cross genres because of your taste in music or more so because of its appeal?

I write folk music, but I use electronic instruments when creating them, thus the electro folk title. I’m think at heart I’m definitely a folk musician. Through and through.

Alternatively, do you think the idea of a specific music genre is on the decline due to the array of tastes and musical capabilities out there?

No, I think genres still exist. People are just heavily into electronic music these days because it’s new technology and very exciting. People like to follow whats’ trendy at the time or whats’ being played on the radio and a lot of bands are tailoring their sound to fit into that market. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a very competitive industry and it can help artists bring people to hear their music. But, like anything, fads go out of fashion so I’m just gonna keep doing what I do. I don’t dance much, so I’m not gonna go write a dance track. I write sad love songs, so I’ll stick to that. haha.

Do you have an idea of what you want to accomplish this year with your music? Do you set yourself certain goals when it comes to timelines and writing music?

I’ve got so many goals this year! It’s going to be such a great year ahead. Me and my manager always sit down at the start of the year and plan what we want to achieve in the year ahead. We always aim for ambitious but realistic. This year is looking like a good one. There’s a lot of travel involved, an album to be released and exciting opportunities ahead of us. It’s important in any business, not just music, to have a plan and I like this year’s plan!

Is there a certain place you find yourself writing music more successfully than others?

Yep. My bedroom. Always. I don’t think I’ve ever written a song that I like if it wasn’t in my bedroom.



Tickets and Info for the Peninsula Picnic can be found here.