Walking up to the venue, I pass a line of eager fans waiting in line down the block and around the corner for the doors to open. Haywyre [Martin Vogt] is about to play his first show in D.C. on his headlining tour for his new album Two Fold Pt. 2. If Haywyre is not on your radar yet, then he should be. This guy has been paving his own path through the EDM culture, creating his own blend of jazz and live performance in the world of electronic music. Not only being able to meld his amazing abilities as a classically trained/jazz pianist into a genre that is captivating the youth of today, but also being able to inspire a new generation of producers to bring emotion and improvisation back to a genre that heavily relies on production and pushing play on stage.
Before the show I had the pleasure of sitting down with Haywyre to talk upcoming projects and musical influences growing up.
Do you have much flexibility to your tracklist to change the mood of your show or do you play from a more strict set?
Well it’s kind of an interesting process because part of my set is pre-planned while the other part of my set is completely improvisational. The part of the set that is planned is more or less the tracks themselves and what I chose to play on top of those tracks are unplanned and that gives me the freedom to work with the crowd. Ideally I would want my sets to be completely improvisational. I think that would be ideal for me to express my thoughts and what I’m feeling in that moment in time to the audience, through my music. So yeah, someday…
Now that you have finished Pt. 2, have you thought about doing another concept album or do you want to experiment more with you musical abilities and how to incorporate them into your music?
I definitely know I would like to find a way to bridge the gap between production and performance in a way that translates in a live setting better. I think that gap exists in the EDM world a little bit and as a performance based solo artist the only other way I’ve seen it done well is through looping. Where an artist starts off with a bass line and then a kick and builds from there. I just don't feel that way of going about it is that intuitive for me. Say.. when a guitarist plays a show, he practiced that part and played it live, and when you are a producer you create the song on the computer, then you put it on a usb drive and present it to the audience. I’m just working on a way to bring those two sides together, while still having freedom to perform as a solo artist. So that is what I’m trying to focus on is making the two one in the same.
When you switched over from classical to jazz piano at 14, who were some of your major inspirations?
Actually, the first person to ever spark my interest was a little known pianist by the name of Abdullah Ibrahim. I ended up getting a cd of his from my cousin on my birthday when he lived in Germany. He has this amazing album called Senzo and the entire album is so beautifully arranged and improvised it almost sounds as if he did the whole album in one long take. He would really be the biggest influence in my ear for jazz harmony, my taste in music and my style as well. Bill Evans is another big name that comes to mind. I try not to study other artist’s too much though. I’ve always tried to just listen and appreciate what the artist is trying to accomplish, and having my own style and composition that’s my own.
When you start on a track, what do you focus on first for building your songs or is it different for each track?
I would say there is no definitive thing that I start out with. It could be a composition that I’m working on my piano, or a chord progression, or melody that catches my ear as I’m messing around on the piano. Or it could come from a production standpoint where I hear a certain sound and I like the tone or the texture of the sound and how it fits into a melody. It all comes from a different place each time so I don’t really have a set in stone method to starting my tracks.
After the interview, we talked about how his tour was doing and how happy and surprised he was to see the turnout for his headlining shows were. He prepared for his set and took the stage and by this time there was hardly a place to stand. People were chanting for him as he walked up to his piano and started the show. The energy produced by his music and the crowd was so uplifting you couldn’t be upset if your life depended on it. Listening and watching him react to the crowds energy as he played that keyboard with a watchmaker's precision was mesmerizing; not to mention the perfectly synced and beautifully animated backdrop screen that switched from animation and cameras that were mounted on stage by his keyboard so everyone in the crowd could watch in awe of the mastery of his craft. So if this incredibly talented musician hasn’t made his way into your music library yet, make sure you check out his Youtube performances as well as his Soundcloud page where he has released Two Fold Pt.2 on Monstercat. Haywyre is one artist to keep a close eye on right now and in the future of EDM as he paves his way to leave his mark in the musical community.