Apart from being in the studio, making music, Thomas Hayes aka HAYES has spent most of
the past year at home with his cat, Rolf.
He took – and gave – up painting, applied and got accepted to film school and has revived
his interest in taking photographs.
“Better Off was one of those songs that just happens as you’re wrapping up after a long and productive day. Working with TRXD we were tired and happy after having made three demos when this nugget got in the race.”
The draft, a rough production with beats and a melody, was sent to Sophia Brenan aka Phia, an up-and-coming British artist that Thomas likes, for input on the lyrics.
In this interview we discuss music, HAYES' British background and his dream of studying Film
Where does your British accent come from?
My dad is actually British, he's from London, and has been many times over the years. We have a summer house in Dorset, which is a beautiful place. I am still a little bit edgy but ... yeah! I also have my grandparents, my aunt and cousins down there too!
How have you been doing during this pandemic?
For me it's been kind of okay because since we filmed Skam in 2017 I've been constantly in a rush, we've been doing all these events, the promo, travel around. For me it was great to get the opportunity to actually take a proper break from all that. I gotta sit back and rethink what I'm actually doing. It gave me more of a relaxing time to figure out what I wanted to do. I am lucky that I don't really "rely" on people, I can go to the studio whenever I want to. I am lucky to do that. The pandemic has been tough on me in the economic side because you can't really do gigs now, but also, as much as traveling can be stressful, it gives you the opportunity to meet new people and discover new things. That has been hard too, not being able to explore and open up to new cultures.
You do so much, from painting to photography to acting and ultimately music. How do you get inspired at all?
I think it's more of a natural think that comes around, I'm that kind of guy who, whenever I find an interesting something I really need to do it and I give my 100% to it. If it's sailing on a boat I will do, if it's a photography shoot I will do it, if it's painting, I just want to do it. It's just want to try so many different things and do them properly.
Is there anything you like doing more?
It really depends. For example, because of the weather I am in the mood of doing music, where I want to do DJ gigs, kind of imagining Saint Tropez, doing these types of clubs on the beach. It depends on where my mood is. Norway is a beautiful country to get inspiration from, there's so much nature. All the mountains, the lakes. When it's summertime you can see the sun at 12 in the morning, it's so cool! But you know, England is also a good place!
"Wasting Love" is one of your latest tracks. What is the song about?
It's about not wasting your time on a relationship it's not worth fighting for. I heard a story about a girl who was in a relationship and she was in love with this guy but he didn't show any signs of that. She never met his friends, it was a relationship that just drained her energy. It was a one sided relationship. The track is also a way to ask yourself if the person you love is the right one for you.
"Better Off" came out a few days ago, what is your message with it?
It's kind of inspired by the same story of "Wasting Love". Am I better off without you? Am I better off alone without being in a relationship? As you can hear in the lyrics, Phia sings "I will keep the lights on for you", and in my understanding that means that I will always have a feeling for you but I'm better off without you.
You mentioned Phia, how did she get into the track?
It was a coincidence, my co-producer which I used to share my studio with, he used to work with Phia and told me "I have this British up-and-coming songwriter and singer, we can send this track to her and see if she wants to write something and try to do something on the track". So we sent her, she recorded it, sent it back and stayed on it since that day. What you hear in the song is actually the first recording she actually did, and you know what? We sent it a year ago to her.
What is next for you now?
I am going to start studying Film after the summer. We had so much to do after Skam that we've put some stuff aside in our personal lives. I would love to direct a movie so it's time to study and learn how to be behind a camera, I've done acting. It's time to try the other side of it.
«Better Off» by HAYES, with Phia on vocals, is out now.
Words by: Sal F.