|Comfortable with being comfortable
Hayden is a tad introspective these days
Wednesday, February 27
When rumours about an artist start to fly, it is a sure sign that listener interest has not waned during their somewhat lengthy absence from the public eye. These things happen all the time to reclusive rock oddities like My Bloody Valentines Kevin Shields or German innovators Kraftwerk, but they don't often happen to a Canadian hush-rocker like Hayden.
Putting speculations about his retirement behind him, he recently released Skyscraper National Park, but not before another rumour hit the sad-eyed children who love him. With the record originally limited to 1,600 handmade copies that were to be sold during his last cross-country tour, fans in Western Canada panicked that the supply of CDs would run out before Hayden made it out of Ontario.
"Panicking?" Hayden asks, somewhat bemused. "I mean, we did run out of the handmade copies by the time we got to Vancouver, but I had already sent (the record) to Universal at some point and they had responded positively. But originally, yeah, it was always the plan to just bring it on tour."
Skyscraper follows a surprising three-year absence, the kind that might signal creative death for other independent artists. Not so for Hayden. Although the record follows the same emotionally subtle path that his previous albums and EPs have embraced, it is certainly not a rehash of former sentiments. Instead, it's a continued look toward love and loss, with songs ranging from the dour but affecting "Street Car," which opens the set, to the jaunty Beatles-esque singalong of "Carried Away." It may be the most meticulous record he's crafted yet.
. Well, I think I really thought that I knew how to engineer about five years ago and I didnt," he says frankly. "But I think I learned a lot from just hanging out in my house and being able to have the time to keep a song up on my board for two or three weeks. But still I know nothing."
That sort of meek and self-conscious comment is one of many that crop up in Haydens wavering assessments of his own work.
"For this record, when I was done, I remember telling a couple of my friends, "Yeah, well, you know what
its not great
. There were not a ton of inspired performances here, but... Im going to put it out because I just really need to do something."
Later, though, he changed his opinion and began to enjoy the album. Of course, his hesitation may come from the fact that he thought his somewhat uneven second album, The Closer I Get, was pretty good at the time it was made. Then, after reading a few brutal reviews, he says his opinion was pathetically swayed. He says reading his reviews is akin to reading his own obituary, but he still maintains that bad reviews mean very little to him at this point in his career.
During his appearance at The Night Gallery last October, he even poked fun at one reviewers cynical comment about the quality of Skyscraper, and poignantly mentioned to the audience that his new album was surprisingly good.
Still, with the days of the rumour mill not that far behind, one wonders why hes decided to go out on tour again only four months after the last one.
"I guess because I was really happy and had a lot of fun on the last tour," he says. "I just thought Id do it before this record gets too old and I get tired of playing the same songs."
But something is amiss here. It seems like there might be another hidden reason.
"Well, its kind of now or never because, who knows, I might end up taking another, I dont know
six years off after I finish this tour," he says, with a slightly ambiguous laugh.
He might not be joking, kids.