Constructing skyscrapers

By Tara DiBenedetto

After a prolonged three-year absence, Hayden is coming out of the shadows and offering some answers.

"I didn’t have any songs," Hayden explains simply. "After my last tour, I wasn’t in a huge rush to do anything that had to do with the promoting of a record so I just played music for myself. After a while I came to the realization that it would be good to finish something so I made a conscious effort to go back to songs and I’d finish the words or I’d fill in the missing pieces and after a few months of that I had a record."

The result is Skyscraper National Park, the title of a Kurt Vonnegurt story and the previous name of his home studio.

"The album is a little bit of a summary of a long period of time, different things I picked up on, that I was feeling or that moved me to write," he explains slyly hinting that his studio has more to do with the album than he prefers. "From a production point of view, the album is also the evolution of my home studio with different equipment or maybe it’s just that I learned to use it better."

The additional time spent on the record allowed him to gain greater musical complexity and the freedom to experiment.

"I was really comfortable making this record and I took a lot of time to get things the way I thought they should be," he says. "I wanted to do a full on orchestration. My friend Sarah Slean orchestrated two of my songs and she created a really nice interplay with violins and cellos. It’s amazing what one instrument can do to the vibe of the song."

The first single from the album, "Dynamite Walls," is currently on rotation on MuchMusic. The song’s lyrics are featured on the the CD sleeve, but no other songs from the album are. There were several reasons for this.

"Dynamite Walls was the first song I wrote for this album. It was a reaction to touring for eight months on my last album," he says. "I like the words and in a way they sum up the feel and the spirit of the record and the beginning of it to me."

Although the album ranges over many themes and emotions, it retains Hayden’s uncanny ability to take mundane events and make them extraordinary.

"It’s pretty obvious in a lot of my songs that I find simple things very interesting," he laughs. "Besides, how many times can you write about love without explaining what it’s like to see someone smile for the first time?"

The design of his current tour emphasizes his need to always do something different.

"My last tour was with a band so this time I’m doing it solo. It’s really fun being with just myself and the audience," Hayden says, pointing out that every upcoming show is in a theatre. "This is my first all theatre tour of Canada and it’s really exciting for me. I’ve played a lot of the same clubs and I needed a bit of a change."

Despite his excitement, Hayden remains optimistically laid back about his upcoming tour.

"I’ve got a good feeling about it, and that’s always a good sign," he says. "I think it’ll be a lot of fun, so c’mon down."


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