Bokah Mix #011 – Hayden James


The Bokah mix series continues with the arrival of the 11th instalment, this being a house heavy, half hour workout from one of our favourites over at Australia’s Future Classic imprint, Hayden James. Don’t go into this one expecting to solely hear the soulful, laid-back vibes the gifted young producer is renowned for, this well worked mix comes at you swinging with a bass heavy intro, winding the tempo smoothly up and down throughout.

Based in Sydney, Hayden James has been making a name for himself over the last year as one of the most forward thinking and creative new talents on the scene. Warm grooves, melodic beats, and heart-tugging vocal samples have been the essence of his creations, which have found a perfect home on Future Classic. Though fairly new to the game, he’s been busy over the last year with a consistent string of remixes keeping us enticed, either side of the release of his fantastic debut EP. Standouts in his rework stockpile include his funky upbeat take on Dillon Francis and T.E.E.D.’s dreamy synth-pop collaboration ‘Without You’, and his smooth cooling down of Basecamp’s ‘Emmanual’.

The highlight of his work for the year though was his self titled, five track debut EPAn excellent showcase of the state of the Aussie electronic scene, the EP had everything; 80’s throw back vibes, funk, soul, chilled beats and a heart that is not often so prolific in electronic music. The EP’s big single ‘Permission to Love‘ raised the profile of the producer over the course of last summer with a hugely positive reception to it’s clam, smooth blend of electronica, house and disco.

Hayden now kicks off what will be a busy year with a mix that leans more heavily on influences of trap and deep house than our previous entries have, but contains bubbly overtones to keep the feeling light and playful. Throughout the 30 minute session, it works through some huge tracks, such as Chet Faker and Flume’s ‘Drop The Game’, Kidnap Kid’s remix of ‘What I Might Do’ from Ben Pearce, Lxury’s J.A.W.S. and the closing track from Cashmere Cat‘s new EP, but it also goes through some gorgeous slow movers from the likes of Jaime xx and Basenji.

We also had a little chat with Hayden about the mix, his success and his plans for the year, which you can read below as you check out this fine addition to the Bokah Mix series.


Chrome Sparks – Lookin’ At Me
Touched – What So Not
Quiet Life – Stwo
DZA – Finger Snaps (Shigeto Remix)
Flume & Chet Faker – Drop The Game
Jamie xx – Sleep Sound
Ben Pearce – What I Might Do (Karma Kid Remix)
Bakradze – We Will Always Work It Out Somehow
Lxury – J.A.W.S
Basenji – Dawn
Ghost Mutt – Rumble Pak
Ryan Hemsworth – Overthinking
Electric Mantis – Ticking And Tocking
Cashmere Cat – Rice Rain

Cheers for putting the mix together for us Hayden, it’s a real treat! Can you talk us through the track selection and what kind of sound you were going for; is this similar to one of your DJ sets?

Sure thing! It’s pretty much a mix of everything I’m listening to at the moment. Loving Jamie xx, Chet & Flume, Cashmere Cat, Basenji. Lots of crazy different sounds in there.

You’ve only been on the scene for a short while now, but you’ve picked up a pretty big following in such a brief time. How’s it been in the last year, gaining so much support so quickly?

It’s just great to be able to reach that amount of people with your music really. Thanks internet! I’ve also been lucky enough to meet and work with so many talented legends over the last few months.

‘Permission To Love’ has had such a huge response for you; it’s now clocked well over half a million listens on Soundcloud. Did you have any idea how much the track was going to blow up when you were writing and recording it?

It’s the first track I wrote for the EP. I had no idea it would get the response it did. I mean, I liked it, but I didn’t expect it to resonate with people as much as it did.

Future Classic has been one of our favorite labels over the last year – how did you end up working with them? Do you plan to continue releasing through them in the future?

I met Nathan and Chad a few years ago when I was in a different band. After that ended I just sent them some solo stuff I had been writing and it went from there. Most of my favourite Aussie artists are actually on the label. Mad love for FC!

Your Hayden James EP from last year was incredible – can you tell us a bit about how it came together? As your first release, was it something you had been working on for a long time or was it something that came together quickly?

Thank you. It came together pretty quickly once I knew what I wanted it to sound like. I usually will write ‘songs’ first, then start working on the production side at a later stage. When I write I love to imagine a story line/plot… I tell that story in my music.

A lot of your Aussie contemporaries have featured guest vocalists on their tracks – Flight Facilities with Micky Green, Charles Murdoch with Oscar Key Sung, and of course Flume and Chet Faker’s on-going collaboration. Do you see yourself featuring vocalists more heavily in your music in the future, and if so who would you like to work with?

Absolutely! I’m working with a bunch of people at the moment. It’s awesome to be able to work with some really talented vocalists!! I won’t mention anyone yet, still writing!

We’ve heard you’ve been preparing some new material to release this year – can you tell us about how far you’ve come along with it, and how it’s sounding?

Yeah I’ve been writing music over the last few months. I’ll be releasing a new EP pretty soon; I would say it’s definitely a progression from the last EP. Same vibes with a bit more energy!

You were fairly prolific last year with putting out remixes – how do you go about selecting which songs you’ll remix? Can we expect to hear any more from you anytime soon?

I treat remixes as an outlet to do something quite different. I always love to completely change the genre of the remix from the original and just use a few parts of the original. It’s a chance to do something exciting. For me, the most important thing I look for in a track to decide if I’m going to remix it is the vocal. I’ve just finished a new remix for an Aussie band called RUFUS, it’ll be out in March.

Since you popped up on everyone’s radar last year, we’ve not had the chance to see you live over here in the UK! What’s your live show like, and are there any plans to bring it across the pond this year?

I would love to come over! No plans at the moment, just focusing on new music. I’m also going on tour with RUFUS around Australia in May/June! Here’s a little look at my live show setup (with my manager in the background hah HI MUZ!):

Hayden James Live Set Up

I run Ableton Live with a few toys and a MS-20 mini. Which is delicious. I also have a visual show that is projected onto those panels you see.

Are there any Aussie artists that you think we may not have heard over here in the UK yet that you would recommend?

HEAPS! I’m sure you’ve heard of most – Wave Racer, Panama, What So Not, Basenji, Tyler Touche to name a few.

And finally, because we always ask, what track can you not get enough of at the moment?

Pharell Williams – Happy

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