Many artists in today’s electronic music scene are talented DJs as well as producers, crossing and mixing genres to create unique sounds. Newcomer Haywyre offers that and more: his sound is a blend of modern electronic music with classical and jazz music traditions. Add the use of performance videos and live instruments in that mix and you have a truly unique, musical force to be reckoned with.
Case in point, his latest release Insight:
On the heels of Insight, and the launch of his first solo tour Two Fold, Martin Vogt undoubtedly has quite the year ahead of him. UKF sat down with the young Monstercat freshman in New York to talk about how he arrived at this impressive point so quickly, and what truly makes him one of our ones to watch in 2015.
I love that aspect of playing an instrument and that’s why I try to include it in live sets – those are the moments I live for, when I’m sitting at the keyboard and I come up with an idea that captivates me
Learn the rules before you break them: Martin was trained in classical and jazz piano in renowned music capital, Vienna, Austria
“I was born in the US, but my dad’s job moved my family to Austria at a young age, where we lived for seven years. Vienna is a hub for musicians – culturally, the city has a huge background in music, especially classical music. It was insane how intense my piano lessons were there! The teacher made me cry like, two or three times—but it was totally worth it. It’s definitely influenced my music in that regard because now I have more of an appreciation for classical music, as well as jazz.
At the time I didn’t even like jazz – I pretty much hated it – but when I was about 12, my parents said we could quit. My older sister quit, so I admittedly continued at first out of spite, but it grew into a true passion.”
While pursuing a degree in Music Business at the Augsburg College in Minneapolis, he earned an internship at Monstercat…And subsequently dropped out of college to pursue music full time.
“I’ve been releasing music under the name Haywyre since 2009, and it’s always been something that I’ve focused on in my spare time while going to school. During my junior year , I was required to do an internship, so I thought, why not do it at Monstercat? I could actually learn something as a music business student, while working with them on a professional basis, as well.
While I was there for that, I made two of the biggest staples of my career [thus far], which was a performance video of a bootleg of a Michael Jackson tune, and the release of my album, Two Fold Pt 1. It opened my eyes; I realized there was potential for me to consider this as a full time career. Before I left, we decided I should move to Vancouver and work with them more closely to be a full time musician. So I dropped out, and I moved there. I’m still really new to the EDM performance scene so I’m still learning.”
He’s learned from the best: last year he toured with Gramatik and Mat Zo
“After Two Fold Pt 1 was released, Mat wrote to me on Twitter and said he liked the album. Touring was unlike anything else I had experienced before. When I toured with Mat, we were living on the tour bus together, so we got to work on some music. It was really cool to consistently see Mat’s set and see how his performances compares to mine. There’s a lot of ways in which they’re similar but a lot of ways they’re really different, basically just because he DJs and I don’t.”
His sets are predominantly his own productions…
“I’m mostly focused on originals – my shows are very performance oriented. [That’s a different approach than DJ sets], and both have their pros and cons in the electronic world. Someone like Mat Zo’s sets lend themselves incredibly well for clubs, where people are there for consistent experiences and something to dance to. His sets were incredible; he threw in so many unexpected tunes that I had never heard of, he has a great ear for that stuff. I respect him deeply as a producer, too.
My music lends itself well to a venue crowd, where there’s lots of room and people can see what I’m doing, but it’s not necessarily as dance oriented.”
He’s embarking on his first solo tour. The Two Fold Tour will be characterized by improvisation and live instruments…
“I bring my 64-key keyboard to all my shows. I render all my tracks without the lead instruments and then I just play them all live. I’ve also started to incorporate other people’s tracks and I improvise with those.
I love that aspect of playing an instrument and that’s why I try to include it in live sets – those are the moments I live for, when I’m sitting at the keyboard and I come up with an idea that captivates me.”
He has loads in store this year. Including a new project that brings together art, film, and music!
“This year, I plan on finishing Part II of the Two Fold album series. I’ve also been putting some time into thinking about what brought me into music in the first place, what really inspires me. A lot of it obviously has to do with improvisation and jazz roots, but I am interested in having a strong conceptual foundation in what I’m doing.
Essentially, I want to create a musical body of work that is akin to writing a score to my own movie. Every single piece will have a visual representation, be it a performance video or a music video, and all of them will piece together as a short film compiled of individual tracks that all contribute to the meaning of the piece as a whole.”
We called Haywyre out as One To Watch in 2015. This is who he’s recommending for a big year…
“One artist that I think has loads of potential is Geotheory, this young guy from New York. There aren’t many artists in the electronic music scene that are experimental harmonically with their music, but he’s able to blend jazz with electronic hip hop in a really effective way. It’s really groovy music, I have a huge appreciation for what he does and I think he has loads of potential.
There is so much good music out there, and there’s non up-and-comers I’m excited about, as well: Galimatias, Koan Sound, Awe, Sam Gellaitry, Flying Lotus, Lido, Dirty Loops, and I’m sure Noisia as well. In terms of the non-electronic music world, there’s also Snarky Puppy who I’d love to hear more from.
Above all, Martin hopes his music has an impact.
If there was one thing I want people to take away from my tour or my music, it’s inspiration. I would much rather have people walk away from a show or track of mine feeling inspired and wanting to do something creative themselves. That’s the effect I’m going for.
(Image credit: Dani Goldstein)