Today, Melbourne-based electro-folk singer, songwriter and producer Hayden Calnin shares his new record, What It Means To Be Human, that he composed and self-produced in a hamlet on the Australian shore over the last year. “This is definitely a pandemic album. I left the city and went down to the coast. I was feeling the buzz, and the pandemic hit. I had a lot of time to read about things, think about things. Which I did. It made me angry, but also felt really great at times.” explains Hayden.
The pandemic may have hastened his disentanglement from city life but it also gave him a monastic clarity about humankind — nature, being his temple — that permeates the album in both complicated and cogent ways. Growing up, he played a mix of instruments, starting with his dad’s old guitar, then the synths he’d pick up at garage sales, as well as drums. He thrives in the nuances of instrumentation. The record features piano and guitar, flugelhorns and trombones, violins and cellos throughout it bringing an organic tactility. “That’s the current through the album. I was very precious about the horns and the strings. And percussion as well. I wanted the drum kits to feel like they were right there in the same room as you.” he adds.
The upcoming record follows several recent EPs and his 2016 debut double album, Cut Love Pt. 1 & 2. What It Means To Be Human showcases Calnin’s growth as an artist and finds him confidently embracing orchestral-infused, progressive, cinematic folk pop into his sound. Written, recorded and produced almost entirely by Hayden, the record is meant to be a movie score for human existence, pushing the listener to explore their place in the world and who they want to be in it. While establishing himself as a sought-after producer, he continued to release music garnering critical acclaim from tastemakers like Earmilk, CLASH, Magnetic Magazine, Atwood, Consequence and Stereogum. He has produced records for buzzing Aussies like Didirri, Harrison Storm, Riley Pearce, Woodlock and NYCK, co-wrote Dean Lewis’ recent hit “Falling Up,” and has started composing film scores for local Australian filmmakers. No stranger to touring, Hayden has shared the stage with Matt Corby, Tom Odell, The Antlers and more and has had syncs in popular television shows like Suits, The Good Doctor, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, The 100, and So You Think You Can Dance USA as well as the UK trailer for Academy® Award-nominated favorite Room.
“adventurous and alluring… at once heartbreaking and redemptive, alternatively slight and momentously powerful” – Consequence Of Sound
“Hayden Calnin specializes in lush, spacious, genre-bending excursions” – Stereogum
"It's always really nice to stumble upon an artist, and then find yourself enjoying their consistently excellent back catalogue, and that's exactly what happened with Hayden Calnin"- EARMILK
There's a hypnotic essence to the songwriter's music, something that truly draws you in…beautifully engrossing” – CLASH