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Something & Nothing

For the curious

Lou Hayter

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lou Hayter and I make music and DJ.

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
I’m in London in my flat, in bed.

Can you tell us a little about your history and how you ended up making and playing music?
I just loved music since I was a little kid, about 5. My brothers and sister were always playing records around the house and I picked up on it and started playing piano. My parents nurtured me to take lessons and keep it going and then I started collecting records properly in my teens. I was a bit of a nerd in school and I find it easy to obsess over music which is good for learning stuff. I started DJing when I went to university and running nights when I should’ve been studying. Then started DJing loads at warehouse parties and clubs when I moved back to London. It was such a fun time. I worked at Output records and Nuphonic and from there joined the band New Young Pony Club as their keyboard player but at the same time started making my own music and it just grew from there.

With New Young Pony Club, Tomorrow's World and now as a solo artist you clearly have a deep understanding and appreciation of music from the past. Do you have a favourite decade and associated artists and producers?
Hmm that’s tough. I guess 80’s wins because it’s when I grew up and absorbed everything. Also some of the best pop music got made in the 80’s. But these days I listen more to 70’s maybe. Like Marvin Gaye and Steely Dan and Timmy Thomas. A softer sound. I love them both though.

Does being a DJ inform the music you make?
Yeah I guess it does but I don’t feel that aware of it. Sometimes when I’m mixing stuff together I come across things that work together and record it in my phone. I also sing ideas in my phone over the top sometimes which makes me look like a crazy person.

Are there any albums that you have listened to on repeat during the various lock-downs?
Jon Carroll Kirby - My Garden, Sault- Rise , Donald Fagen- The Nightfly, Jeff Phelps - Magnetic Eyes, Marvin Gaye- Hear My Dear, Prince - Sign O the Times reissue, Beck - Hyperspace, Stevie Wonder - Music of My Mind, Tyler the Creator - Igor, Personal Space compilation, Eddie Chacon - Pleasure Joy and Happiness, Joni Mitchell - Hejira, Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together, Moodymann - A Silent Introduction, Milton Nascimento - Clube de Esquina, Thundercat - It Is What it Is.

How important is art and culture in your life and work? Any exhibitions you’ve visited recently, books or podcast you would recommend?
It’s so important to me. I really feed off it, I’m a bit of a dreamer and have been going to galleries and shows since I was a little kid with my parents. I spend hours in galleries and when I come out I feel really inspired and calm, I love the space of a gallery and switching off my phone and getting immersed in it for a while. The last show I saw was Michael Clarke At the Barbican on the day before lockdown 2. Really recommend it and it’s on til January.


What’s next for you? 
Next for me is a new single coming out in the new year. Then we’re leading up to my album coming out in Spring on Skint records. I’m really excited as it’s my first solo album. It’s all finished and I’m so happy with it so I can’t wait for people to hear it! Also DJing will start back in December.

Tell us about something...
I’m watching Broad City in lockdown. I’m very late to the party cause they’re on season 5. But if you haven’t seen it it could be the perfect lockdown remedy. I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, it makes me cry with laughter. Also Suzy and Wanda from Curb are in it.

Tell us about nothing...
Deepak Chopra says it’s good to do nothing sometimes. It helps you come up with ideas and process things. Like the uptime doesn’t happen without some downtime. I think he’s right so I don’t feel bad about times when I feel like doing absolutely nothing.

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