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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Artist of the week: Hayden Duncan

Hayden Duncan is a 23-year-old recording arts student. He refers to gear as his console. Photo credit: Sean Martens

How did you get started?

I went to a bunch of EDM music festivals when I was 18, around 2012 or 2013, when the EDM bubble was kinda at its biggest, and I went to a few festivals and thought “this is pretty cool,” and the music didn’t seem that hard to make, little did I know. I was like “oh that’s easy I can do that,” and then I started researching and learning about digital audio workstations, which there’s a million of. I settled on Ableton because there was the most tutorials out there to learn how to do it. I realized it was not easy, but I really wanted to do it so I got that drive to dig deeper and really learn more about it. And as time progressed, I got my bearings and learned how to use the software, and by then my music tastes had totally changed.

What inspires you?

I just want to make a really great song that I want to listen to and that’s really hard, so that’s something I’m always chasing. It’s really hard to finish ideas and things like that, but it’s so rewarding to get to the end and to think “Wow, I really made something I’m proud of, I really like this song, I’m going to listen to this on the way to school and hope some other people will.” I’ve recently been doubling down on figuring out my own sound. I just love hearing artists when you hear a song by them for the first time without seeing that it’s by them, but you already know just by hearing it. That’s something I’m chasing as well.

Can you tell us about the recording arts program?

I was so excited when I got in, and this past semester I’ve been learning all about working in the studio and it’s not directly what I’m doing, which is making music on my laptop with some gear. The recording arts program is more about bringing in bands and working with musicians and working on audio as a team, trying to produce a really great song, and it’s totally helped me become a better producer and musician. The teachers are so cool, they all want to help you and they all want to share ideas with you. I got into it for making my electronic music, but now I’m learning so much about stuff like audio for video and sound design and recording for bands and different instruments and orchestras and it’s all in there and it’s really awesome to spread my branches and learn more.

How would you define success?

Paying my rent and food on the table. For me, success is if I can sit in front of speakers all day and pay my bills. That would be the best. Obviously later I would want to move on to do different and better things but baseline, I would be so happy if I could just do that, whether it’s in a music studio, or working on sounds for other media. I’m super interested in doing audio for video-like sound design for movies, but at the same time, I’m trying to do my producing and electronic music.

What’s your ideal job?

It would be like freelancing for something. For the music industry, you kinda need to be able to do a lot of different jobs especially if you want to do freelance work which is kinda where I’m going. I would kinda like a resident job working in a studio with bands or singer/songwriters, I think that would be awesome. I love working with people and collaborating and helping people realize their vision because you can play off of each other until you’re both happy with the project. It’s that nice little push and pull where you both know you want to get to the end of the song, and sometimes you hold strong on one thing or another and some other times you don’t really care and can change. But doing film stuff would be awesome, just to see my name in the credits and nerding out listening to what I made. Dream job would definitely be an EDM artist, touring, constantly making music, but obviously, I’m looking into other things.

Nicole Henson and Mitchell Krett can be reached at @[email protected] or @orion_arts.

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