29 Nov 2022

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Daniel Hayles - Daniel Hayles Newsletter Interview

01 Mar 2022 // An interview by Shade

Daniel Hayles is a piano player, producer, Musical Director and teacher living in Wellington, New Zealand. With his brand new album Other Futures recently released on 4 March, he had a few words with Muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music?

I started playing piano as a toddler, and then took weekly piano lessons from then until the end of University at age 23. I copied lots of things by ear from Steely Dan and Elton John records. I got into playing in a group in high school with some mates and older musicians in Taranaki, and that was the time I got stuck in as an arranger/orchestrator, which still takes up a lot of time now. I started producing music as an extension of the arranging thing while I was at university and it's become more of an outlet over the past five years or so.

What NZ bands and musicians would you like to tour with, and why?

In this era (February 2022), touring with any band would be a dream! I love heavy grooving bands with good energy, like Rob Ruha's The Witch Doctor, and I've always wanted to tour with a reggae band like 1814. I love to get lost in the trance of a rhythmic piano part.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

It's constructed around improvised bursts of piano, with puffs of synth and percussion, pulsing bass, held together by sample-based beats born in the golden era of hip-hop. There is a mix of clean and dirty parts, shining strings and gravelly low end. It pulls you in and then lets you float back out.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

Happier music, and more traditionally composed music for piano trio.

What NZ bands and musicians would you like to see more of, and why?

The bands from my first few years of living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara like Olmecha Supreme, Electric Wire Hustle, Eru Dangerspiel, The Eggs, Myele Manzanza, The Pleasures... for one thing, I love nostalgic musical experiences, and I was so inspired at the time – all these bands (to various degrees) had explosive and dazzling music with international dimension, and home-made soulful authenticity at the same time. So I guess I find music in that vein more exciting than a lot of what's out there – music that seems like it's just a weird over-ambitious advertisement for itself.

Who are your favourite NZ bands and musicians?

Lord Echo, Mara TK, Borrowed CS, Wallace, Avantdale Bowling Club, Christoph El Truento, Riki Gooch, Julien Dyne, Aldous Harding and  Jonathan Crayford.

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

The Rogue And Vagabond in Whanganui-a-Tara. It's home for a lot of the bands I'm in. The atmosphere, staff, bands, and the menu are all on point and they are always keen to work with the music community to improve what they do for us and for the public.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Prepare! Get the music down, write notes on your set list, have a careful sound check so you know the feeling will be good on stage. Don't drink too much coffee. Sit down and conserve energy. Look around at the rest of the band and remind yourself how mean it is to be a musician.

What has been your most memorable show to date?

The first time playing Misono Universe club in Osaka with Lord Echo. The most surreal, lavish dance hall, built in the 1950's. The décor is a mixture of science fiction, roller-disco and classic supper club. There is leather wallpaper in the green room and planets above the dance floor, which lights up, and the back wall of the stage is a wave of rainbow neon tubes. I've never seen anything like it. In Japan, Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous) is a superhero. The show was incredible. In the last song, the audience came onto the stage and danced with us. I'll never ever forget that night. There's a video somewhere of the entire set which I hope the world gets to see one day.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Don't get hung up on being deeply creative. Getting enough sleep and living a balanced life is okay if that's what you want or need. Feel your feelings. Some of the greatest artists in the world have one genuine idea per year, and they make it work. Everything involved with the pursuit of creativity, is creativity. Read Creative Quest by Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson. Do your thing. Don't wear yourself out.

Check out Daniel Hayles on Muzic.net.nz


About Daniel Hayles

Daniel Hayles is a piano player, producer, Musical Director and teacher living in Wellington, New Zealand.

His latest album Other Futures was released March 4th of 2022.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Daniel Hayles


Other Futures
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Eldest of Five
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Eldest of Five Remixes
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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