Hayden Opens Up About 'Us Alone'

Hayden Opens Up About 'Us Alone'
Fans of Canadian indie legend Hayden have gotten used to long stretches in between albums, and his latest effort, Us Alone, stays true to that pattern, coming four years after his last release, The Place Where We Lived. But as is usually the case, the wait is well worth it. Us Alone displays Hayden's continuing growth as both a musician — he laid down most of the album's part at his home studio — and as a songwriter at the midway point in his life.

At 41, Hayden is now a husband and father, and much of the material on Us Alone looks back on his past while keeping a wary eye on the future. In a recent interview with Exclaim!, he explained that having more responsibilities has actually made him work harder at his music, and the new album marks the beginning of a new partnership with Arts & Crafts after years of releasing albums on his own Hardwood label, distributed by Universal Music.

"What really made me want to make a change was that I felt I'd lost track of how to put a record out in this day and age," Hayden says. "I didn't have a Twitter account or a Facebook page. I really started to think about all of that when I read a story recently about how people get suspicious of you if you don't have those things."

Along with reminding his audience that he's alive and well, Us Alone also contains some poignant thoughts on mortality, particularly the closing track "Instructions," which provides a detailed plan of what to do upon his death.

"At some point during the writing of most records I've made, I thought I was dying of something," Hayden says. "But truthfully, that song was supposed to be a submission for Miranda July's Learning to Love You More website, where one of the assignments was to describe what you want done with your body when you die. But it took me so long that by the time I finished my record, they'd stopped taking submissions."

With the album's release, Hayden will be touring Canada, as well as be making a few U.S. appearances, with a new live combo he debuted in December during a short European jaunt. With those Euro shows under his belt after a lengthy layoff, he's feeling excited to get back on the road.

"The timing was a bit strange, because it was literally my first time on stage in four years," he says. "I almost forgot how to do it, and it was embarrassing at times. But I'm really having fun with the guys I'm playing with, Taylor Knox and Jay McCarrol, who are both multi-instrumentalists, so we're all taking turns playing different things. The hard thing for me about having a band before was that when someone left, it really created a hole in the sound. But these guys are so versatile that I'm not concerned about that. I'm really excited about what we're doing."

Us Alone comes out today (February 5) through Arts & Crafts.

Read our March 2013 feature with Hayden here.

Tour dates:

2/6 Kingston, ON - The Grad Club
2/7 Guelph, ON - Cooperators Hall 

2/8 Dundas, ON - The Dundas Valley Montessori School 

2/9 Creemore, ON - Avening Community Centre

2/13 New York City, NY - Mercury Lounge*

2/20 Toronto, ON - The Dakota Tavern 

2/21 Toronto, ON - The Cameron House 

2/22 Toronto, ON - Rivoli* 

3/7 Wakefield, QC - Blacksheep Inn*

3/8 Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa*

3/15-17 Austin, TX - SXSW

3/20 Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern*

3/21 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge*

3/23 Vancouver, BC - The Rio Theatre* 

3/24 Nelson, BC - The Royal on Baker* 

3/26 Edmonton, AB - The Royal Alberta Museum*

3/27 Calgary, AB - Festival Hall* 

3/28 Saskatoon, SK - The Bassment*  

3/30 Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre*

* with Lou Canon