Hayden Calnin
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Hayden Calnin

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"Preview: Hayden Calnin"

Hayden Calnin was walking along Southbank a couple of years ago when he met two strangers who would change his life.

“I was there with my girlfriend and there were these two guys busking,” he recalls. “No one was really listening, so we sat down and they came over and started singing a few songs just for us.”

The guys turned out to be British artist Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger) and future Australian Idol star Matt Corby.

Calnin became friends with Corby, and has just finished being the opening act on Corby’s sold-out Into the Flame tour.

“I was overwhelmed with the last Corby shows. The response that I got was just phenomenal,” Calnin says.

Calnin’s debut EP City is out this month, although his first single Summer, a dreamlike folk ballad, is already generating a buzz on radio station Triple?J.

He was also invited to appear at the APRA Song Summit in 2010 alongside big names such as the Jezebels and Eskimo Joe, and performed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival last year.

Despite this success, the 22-year-old laughs off any suggestions of being a demanding rock diva (he likes M&Ms of any colour, although he does prefer his coffee sweetened with honey, not sugar).

“The rock-star lifestyle isn’t really what you think it is,” he jokes. “It’s mostly sleeping in your car because you stayed up too late and can’t find the motel.”

When asked how it all began, Calnin smiles as if remembering an old friend.


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“I was 14 when my dad gave me his acoustic guitar. It’s a beautiful guitar: old and made to last. I still play it every day.”

Calnin’s parents and three sisters have been supportive. He’s even staying with his parents in Red Hill (temporarily, he hurries to add) while he looks for a new place. “My parents are great. They don’t really want me to do anything else now, which is weird,” he laughs.

“Music is a tough industry, but everything is if you want to do well.” - The City Weekly


"Sorted For EPs: Hayden Calnin, City"

This talented young producer's debut EP is a collection of moments; they're ethereal, stunning, capable of silencing outside noise and rooting you to your seat. From textured guitars and clacking drum sticks on For My Help, to layers upon layers of vocal harmonies and repeated mantra in Summer, to the electronic drum beat pulsating along the synth spine of Shitters that threatens to engluf you if your eyes are closed, Calnin's music can be descried as progressive folk and post-dubstep, but he's no imitator.

By Stephanie Lieu - Inpress - Written By Stephanie Liew


"Sorted For EPs: Hayden Calnin, City"

This talented young producer's debut EP is a collection of moments; they're ethereal, stunning, capable of silencing outside noise and rooting you to your seat. From textured guitars and clacking drum sticks on For My Help, to layers upon layers of vocal harmonies and repeated mantra in Summer, to the electronic drum beat pulsating along the synth spine of Shitters that threatens to engluf you if your eyes are closed, Calnin's music can be descried as progressive folk and post-dubstep, but he's no imitator.

By Stephanie Lieu - Inpress - Written By Stephanie Liew


"Hayden Calnin October 25th 2012 @ Northcote Social Club"

The evening was welcomed by colourful Melbourne musician Vance Joy. His adorable curly hair, along with the pitter-pat of his acoustic guitar created such an inviting atmosphere, most of the crowd would have happily watched him all night.

A delicate cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” added some extra charm to his already smooth set, but it was the moment that his ukulele reached his hands that the crowd really settled into his solo performance.

“Riptide” was overflowing with vibrant and colourful lyrics, and along with his laid back persona, he was an absolute pleasure to see live.

I, A Man took to the stage with a thumping double drum number, with the rhythm section creating a thrilling surge of power behind the two guitarists strumming along out front. The booming drum work built energy and suspense as it climaxed later in the song, powdered by strong vocals and steady guitar parts.

Their next track teased the crowd with a long introduction, similar to the likes of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart”. It really gave the audience a glimpse of how talented the group is, and their compatibility as a team. After a short and entertaining set, the four boys stepped off stage.

“Thank you for not going to see Mumford and Sons tonight”, teased Hayden Calnin as he organized himself on stage. Everyone in the room would have also thanked themselves for opting to see this brilliantly pensive performer. Throughout his entire set, the crowd was deadly silent, enticed by his presence.

Nowadays, every upcoming band or artist seems to dabble in any electronic substitute for instruments, to give their sound a fresh kick. Normally this sound is quite predictable in new acts, however Calnin has blown all competition out of the water with his experimental looping techniques, really nailing the effects and giving it a haunting twist.

Calnin and his invisible band of looping vocals and instruments began with “Winter” followed by the next track “Summer”, both from his EP City. His performance of “Summer” in particular was a wonderful example of how looping his vocals can summon a chill up your arms, a kind of eerie shock when you hear how amazing his voice sounds as an instrument.

His band of three join him on and off throughout the set, and along with a $50 Casio keyboard “from the Red Hill Op Shop”, the foursome intertwine each other’s soft sounds – resulting in some really powerful music. Individually, each instrument is calm and soothing, such as the drums, but each played together is intense and emotional, resulting in a silent audience hanging on to every note.

Fan favourite “For My Help” was a big hit with the cosy crowd. Calnin’s dorky but very charming nature had them giggling along with little jokes about “how to make a tissue dance”, and laughing about the other band members “going to get drunk – their work is done!”

The crowd was at the peak of their enjoyment when Calnin finished with a beautiful a capella piece. A tad nervous at using only his voice, his confidence surely soared as soon as he sang the first note, and the venue became still.

Carrying strong resemblances to the likes of Bon Iver, Damien Rice, and Peter Silberman from The Antlers, it is pretty clear that this particular singer/songwriter’s music will be widely enjoyed.
- Tone Deaf


"Hayden Calnin October 25th 2012 @ Northcote Social Club"

The evening was welcomed by colourful Melbourne musician Vance Joy. His adorable curly hair, along with the pitter-pat of his acoustic guitar created such an inviting atmosphere, most of the crowd would have happily watched him all night.

A delicate cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” added some extra charm to his already smooth set, but it was the moment that his ukulele reached his hands that the crowd really settled into his solo performance.

“Riptide” was overflowing with vibrant and colourful lyrics, and along with his laid back persona, he was an absolute pleasure to see live.

I, A Man took to the stage with a thumping double drum number, with the rhythm section creating a thrilling surge of power behind the two guitarists strumming along out front. The booming drum work built energy and suspense as it climaxed later in the song, powdered by strong vocals and steady guitar parts.

Their next track teased the crowd with a long introduction, similar to the likes of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart”. It really gave the audience a glimpse of how talented the group is, and their compatibility as a team. After a short and entertaining set, the four boys stepped off stage.

“Thank you for not going to see Mumford and Sons tonight”, teased Hayden Calnin as he organized himself on stage. Everyone in the room would have also thanked themselves for opting to see this brilliantly pensive performer. Throughout his entire set, the crowd was deadly silent, enticed by his presence.

Nowadays, every upcoming band or artist seems to dabble in any electronic substitute for instruments, to give their sound a fresh kick. Normally this sound is quite predictable in new acts, however Calnin has blown all competition out of the water with his experimental looping techniques, really nailing the effects and giving it a haunting twist.

Calnin and his invisible band of looping vocals and instruments began with “Winter” followed by the next track “Summer”, both from his EP City. His performance of “Summer” in particular was a wonderful example of how looping his vocals can summon a chill up your arms, a kind of eerie shock when you hear how amazing his voice sounds as an instrument.

His band of three join him on and off throughout the set, and along with a $50 Casio keyboard “from the Red Hill Op Shop”, the foursome intertwine each other’s soft sounds – resulting in some really powerful music. Individually, each instrument is calm and soothing, such as the drums, but each played together is intense and emotional, resulting in a silent audience hanging on to every note.

Fan favourite “For My Help” was a big hit with the cosy crowd. Calnin’s dorky but very charming nature had them giggling along with little jokes about “how to make a tissue dance”, and laughing about the other band members “going to get drunk – their work is done!”

The crowd was at the peak of their enjoyment when Calnin finished with a beautiful a capella piece. A tad nervous at using only his voice, his confidence surely soared as soon as he sang the first note, and the venue became still.

Carrying strong resemblances to the likes of Bon Iver, Damien Rice, and Peter Silberman from The Antlers, it is pretty clear that this particular singer/songwriter’s music will be widely enjoyed.
- Tone Deaf


"Hayden Calnin: For My Help"

Sounds like: Bon Iver, S.Carey, James Blake, Matt Corby
By hmcclure | July 19th, 2012
What's so good?
From time to time, I listen to music which leaves me awestruck. Young singer/songwriter Hayden Calnin’s latest single “For My Help” has had that exact effect on me. The budding multi-instrumentalist first made steps into the world of music through his teenage years, before a degree in sound production furthered his progress. Recorded and produced in his Melbourne home, Calnin’s debut EP City is out today, available digitally.

Bon Iver and James Blake comparisons are bound to occur with any new folk-tronic artist, but Calnin’s are entirely justified. Angelic and heartfelt, “For My Help” highlights his husky, full tones, as well as his overall musicianship. The production and composition of the track plays a huge part, with misty choruses contrasting with sharp percussion.

A fantastic talent, Calnin has just been added to the Big Sound Music Conference (Australia’s equivalent of SXSW), so it’s not just me who’s enraptured. - Indie Shuffle


"Hayden Calnin: For My Help"

Sounds like: Bon Iver, S.Carey, James Blake, Matt Corby
By hmcclure | July 19th, 2012
What's so good?
From time to time, I listen to music which leaves me awestruck. Young singer/songwriter Hayden Calnin’s latest single “For My Help” has had that exact effect on me. The budding multi-instrumentalist first made steps into the world of music through his teenage years, before a degree in sound production furthered his progress. Recorded and produced in his Melbourne home, Calnin’s debut EP City is out today, available digitally.

Bon Iver and James Blake comparisons are bound to occur with any new folk-tronic artist, but Calnin’s are entirely justified. Angelic and heartfelt, “For My Help” highlights his husky, full tones, as well as his overall musicianship. The production and composition of the track plays a huge part, with misty choruses contrasting with sharp percussion.

A fantastic talent, Calnin has just been added to the Big Sound Music Conference (Australia’s equivalent of SXSW), so it’s not just me who’s enraptured. - Indie Shuffle


"Review: Hayden Calnin, FBi Social, Sydney"

Hayden Calnin with The Falls
19th September 2012, FBi Social
Sydney

Since I first stumbled across the gorgeous music of Melbourne based nu-folk singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin I’ve been chomping at the bit to see him live. His EP City is stunning and I heard reports that seeing him reproduce its ethereal soundscapes on stage was a must. So Calnin’s appearance at FBi Social in Sydney’s Kings Cross last week was high on my must see gigs.

Supporting Hayden Calnin were Sydney mainstays The Falls, finding time between their tours with Passenger and Charlie Mayfair to once again bring their gorgeous harmonies to their home crowd. I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about The Falls that hasn’t already been said in previous reviews here on Timber and Steel, only to say it was great to see them on a Wednesday night while their Folk Club residency is taking a break.

It would be pretty remiss of me not to mention the on-stage proposal that happened between sets – the happy couple will no doubt cherish Hayden Calnin and The Falls’ music for many years to come.

The venue was pretty packed by the time Hayden Calnin walked on stage but you could have heard a pin drop when he started building his loop-pedal driven songs. I’m not normally a fan of the sound at FBi Social – despite being an intimate, well positioned room nine times out of ten the sound is muddy and dull – on this night it was crystal clear and perfectly suited to Calnin’s music.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hayden Calnin’s music probably the best touchstones would be Bon Iver and Matt Corby. Corby in particular is an important comparison – the two artists are so sonically similar you’d be forgiven for getting them mixed up. But this similarity doesn’t overshadow the fact that this music is simply stunning and the way Calnin is able to manipulate his sound – drawing long, cello like sounds out of his guitar and deftly layering vocals to create a wall of noise – shows a true mastery of his art.

Highlights for me on the night were “Summer” (also a highlight of Hayden Calnin’s EP City) with the way he builds the “Don’t you worry now…” vocal parts only to then cut loose over the top of them, “Shutter” about his share house in Collingwood and the stunning “For My Help” which Calnin stripped back to its bare bones. I was also really impressed with the near-capacity audience who were attentive and reverent throughout. I wonder if, like Matt Corby, will find it challenging to capture this kind of atmosphere as he plays larger and larger rooms.

Finishing up with “Dinosaur Stampede”, an older song which you which you can find on Youtube, Hayden Calnin had won over the Sydney crowd and proved that he’s definitely an artist to watch. If you get a chance to see him in a smaller venue jump at the chance – the experience is magic. - Timber & Steel


"Review: Hayden Calnin, FBi Social, Sydney"

Hayden Calnin with The Falls
19th September 2012, FBi Social
Sydney

Since I first stumbled across the gorgeous music of Melbourne based nu-folk singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin I’ve been chomping at the bit to see him live. His EP City is stunning and I heard reports that seeing him reproduce its ethereal soundscapes on stage was a must. So Calnin’s appearance at FBi Social in Sydney’s Kings Cross last week was high on my must see gigs.

Supporting Hayden Calnin were Sydney mainstays The Falls, finding time between their tours with Passenger and Charlie Mayfair to once again bring their gorgeous harmonies to their home crowd. I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about The Falls that hasn’t already been said in previous reviews here on Timber and Steel, only to say it was great to see them on a Wednesday night while their Folk Club residency is taking a break.

It would be pretty remiss of me not to mention the on-stage proposal that happened between sets – the happy couple will no doubt cherish Hayden Calnin and The Falls’ music for many years to come.

The venue was pretty packed by the time Hayden Calnin walked on stage but you could have heard a pin drop when he started building his loop-pedal driven songs. I’m not normally a fan of the sound at FBi Social – despite being an intimate, well positioned room nine times out of ten the sound is muddy and dull – on this night it was crystal clear and perfectly suited to Calnin’s music.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hayden Calnin’s music probably the best touchstones would be Bon Iver and Matt Corby. Corby in particular is an important comparison – the two artists are so sonically similar you’d be forgiven for getting them mixed up. But this similarity doesn’t overshadow the fact that this music is simply stunning and the way Calnin is able to manipulate his sound – drawing long, cello like sounds out of his guitar and deftly layering vocals to create a wall of noise – shows a true mastery of his art.

Highlights for me on the night were “Summer” (also a highlight of Hayden Calnin’s EP City) with the way he builds the “Don’t you worry now…” vocal parts only to then cut loose over the top of them, “Shutter” about his share house in Collingwood and the stunning “For My Help” which Calnin stripped back to its bare bones. I was also really impressed with the near-capacity audience who were attentive and reverent throughout. I wonder if, like Matt Corby, will find it challenging to capture this kind of atmosphere as he plays larger and larger rooms.

Finishing up with “Dinosaur Stampede”, an older song which you which you can find on Youtube, Hayden Calnin had won over the Sydney crowd and proved that he’s definitely an artist to watch. If you get a chance to see him in a smaller venue jump at the chance – the experience is magic. - Timber & Steel


"Hayden Calnin: City Review"

Friggin epic. If I could leave the review at just that, I would. Whoever said that sex lies in the falsetto is absolutely correct. Melbourne’s Hayden Calnin has a voice that can take your breath away; pipes that just make you stop, turn and want to start making out with your stereo.

With an extraordinary vocal range, Calnin is a rare and raw talent and he brings City to your ear holes, a self produced exploration of progressive folk. He discovers elements of layering and looping that combine to form pure bliss. City is a compilation of exquisitely composed tracks with gorgeous lyrical movement that carries you right inside his mindset. The standout track Summer is a gorgeous journey of loops and harmonies explored within his own voice. Clever kid.

Having supported Mat McHugh, Gossling and Mattimus Corby, Calnin’s music reflects these influences, with his sound evolving to an intoxicating concoction of Bon Iver and Matt Corby. I know, I know, dangerous comparisons to be made, but once you’ve heard his intoxicating sound, you too will make outrageous claims like these.
- Rip It Up


"Hayden Calnin: City Review"

Friggin epic. If I could leave the review at just that, I would. Whoever said that sex lies in the falsetto is absolutely correct. Melbourne’s Hayden Calnin has a voice that can take your breath away; pipes that just make you stop, turn and want to start making out with your stereo.

With an extraordinary vocal range, Calnin is a rare and raw talent and he brings City to your ear holes, a self produced exploration of progressive folk. He discovers elements of layering and looping that combine to form pure bliss. City is a compilation of exquisitely composed tracks with gorgeous lyrical movement that carries you right inside his mindset. The standout track Summer is a gorgeous journey of loops and harmonies explored within his own voice. Clever kid.

Having supported Mat McHugh, Gossling and Mattimus Corby, Calnin’s music reflects these influences, with his sound evolving to an intoxicating concoction of Bon Iver and Matt Corby. I know, I know, dangerous comparisons to be made, but once you’ve heard his intoxicating sound, you too will make outrageous claims like these.
- Rip It Up


"Hayden Calnin Announced As Falls Festival Unearthed Winner"

Melbourne folk pop singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin has just been announced at triple j's Unearthed Winner for the opportunity to perform at this new year's Falls Festival on Lorne.
His win of the Fall Festival spot comes after placing runner up in both the Qantas SOYA music category and 2012 Catapult Song Contest, and successfully selling out the hometown launch of his EP, City.
Falls Festival's Lorne event has sold out, however Calnin will also be performing his own headline show at the Toff In Town on Saturday December 22. Tickets are $15 and available via the Moshtix website. Special guests are still to be announced.
- See more at: http://www.beat.com.au/music/hayden-calnin-announced-falls-festival-unearthed-winner#sthash.IKssVxPd.dpuf - Beat


"Hayden Calnin Announced As Falls Festival Unearthed Winner"

Melbourne folk pop singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin has just been announced at triple j's Unearthed Winner for the opportunity to perform at this new year's Falls Festival on Lorne.
His win of the Fall Festival spot comes after placing runner up in both the Qantas SOYA music category and 2012 Catapult Song Contest, and successfully selling out the hometown launch of his EP, City.
Falls Festival's Lorne event has sold out, however Calnin will also be performing his own headline show at the Toff In Town on Saturday December 22. Tickets are $15 and available via the Moshtix website. Special guests are still to be announced.
- See more at: http://www.beat.com.au/music/hayden-calnin-announced-falls-festival-unearthed-winner#sthash.IKssVxPd.dpuf - Beat


"Hayden Calnin - "For My Help""

Writing for EARMILK, I often stumble across new bands who leave me impressed, I don’t however find myself as completely enraptured as I am with Australian artist, Hayden Calnin. The singer/song-writer’s progressive-folk sound will quickly, and justifiably, draw comparisons to talents such as Bon Iver and James Blake, a testament to the burgeoning artist’s musical virtuosity.

Majoring in sound design at university, Hayden used this knowledge to record and produce his debut City EP, which is now available digitally at iTunes. Although being a “bedroom producer”, Hayden, who also does all the instrumentation on the album, was unaffected by the limitations often encountered by starting musicians, creating instead a masterfully produced soundtrack which showcases its expansiveness while completely retaining its sense of intimacy.

Despite the skillful production and instrumentation, the most striking element of Hayden’s music is by far his spellbinding vocals. There are moments when the beauty of his falsetto is almost chilling, and others where listeners will be swallowed into the raw emotion of his lowest octaves. By layering his croons through the use of a looping station, Hayden achieves a fullness which would otherwise be unachievable as a solo artist. Below is my favorite track from the EP “For My Help”, along with the EP's first single “Summer”.

By Vinny Fiorentino - EARMILK - Written By Vinny Fiorentino


"Hayden Calnin - "For My Help""

Writing for EARMILK, I often stumble across new bands who leave me impressed, I don’t however find myself as completely enraptured as I am with Australian artist, Hayden Calnin. The singer/song-writer’s progressive-folk sound will quickly, and justifiably, draw comparisons to talents such as Bon Iver and James Blake, a testament to the burgeoning artist’s musical virtuosity.

Majoring in sound design at university, Hayden used this knowledge to record and produce his debut City EP, which is now available digitally at iTunes. Although being a “bedroom producer”, Hayden, who also does all the instrumentation on the album, was unaffected by the limitations often encountered by starting musicians, creating instead a masterfully produced soundtrack which showcases its expansiveness while completely retaining its sense of intimacy.

Despite the skillful production and instrumentation, the most striking element of Hayden’s music is by far his spellbinding vocals. There are moments when the beauty of his falsetto is almost chilling, and others where listeners will be swallowed into the raw emotion of his lowest octaves. By layering his croons through the use of a looping station, Hayden achieves a fullness which would otherwise be unachievable as a solo artist. Below is my favorite track from the EP “For My Help”, along with the EP's first single “Summer”.

By Vinny Fiorentino - EARMILK - Written By Vinny Fiorentino


"Introducing: Hayden Calnin"

When you think of Australian music, you probably think of edgy rock music (AC/DC, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Wolfmother) or dancy synth-pop (Cut Copy, Tame Impala, The Presets). Rarely do you think of gorgeous acoustic music. But that’s where newcomer Hayden Calnin comes in.

Hayden Calnin, another Melbourne-based act, is Australia’s answer to Bon Iver: the indie-folk artist’s gorgeous falsetto is reminiscent of that of Justin Vernon, but unlike the latter, Calnin also uses a lower, huskier range frequently, displaying his vast vocal range. This guy has been topping the charts on Triple J Unearthed – Australia’s unsigned artist platform – and is beginning to see national success with the recent release of his self-released debut EP, City.

The self-described “progressive folk” artist relies on his contrasting vocal styles, dramatic build-ups, crescendos, various harmonies, and constant drum/piano/guitar loops, as he is without a backing band, creating a gorgeous sound that can’t be topped. As relayed in a recent interview with Triple J, Calnin majored in sound design, the product of which can be seen in what he describes as his “soundscape oriented and atmospheric” productions, reminiscent of those of WU LYF and Explosions In The Sky.

The standout track of his debut EP would have to be it’s opener, “For My Help” – a Bon Iver-meets-Youth Lagoon number that has an incredible build-up and really showcases Calnin‘s vocal ability that has him harmonizing with himself at the end through some vocal looping. The contrast of his vocal styles is really evident here and is absolutely flawless and full of such raw, genuine emotion.

City is quite a masterpiece with the gorgeously haunting “For My Help”, the Bon Iver-styled “Shutters” (it’s got a very similar feel to “Perth”), the minimally accompanied “Summer”, as well as the atmospheric “Winter I” and “Winter II”. It’s wintertime here in Australia, which is why Calnin‘s debut EP has this wintry vibe to it that is perfectly fitting with its time of release that sounds as though it were recorded in a cabin in the woods à la Justin Vernon (and not in the city, contrary to its namesake).

As I’m sitting here writing this, I realize that I’ve just listened to “For My Help” maybe fifteen times on repeat. It’s just that good. I advise you to give it a listen.

By Melissa Scheinberg - Listen Before You By - Written By Melissa Scheinberg


Discography

City EP - 2012
Coward (Single) - Due out November 5, 2013
Hunter EP - Due out January 24, 2014

Photos