EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hayden James Talks About Recent Single “Just Friends”

On April 27, 2018, Hayden James dropped his single “Just Friends”, which features Boy Matthews. The song is quickly rising in popularity and continues to shine whenever it is played. It was followed by two remixes that dropped in July. We can’t wait to see what he drops next.

Hayden James is an Australian DJ from Sydney who started his career in 2013 with debut single “Permission To Love”. Since then, he has built upwards and gone on to release some pure bangers, with “Something About You” charting well in various countries around the world and “Numb” featuring Graace, reaching platinum status in Australia. He’s toured internationally and even wrote a song for Katy Perry, which featured on her Witness album. His latest single, “Just Friends”, has scored him his highest peak chart position in Australia and continues to show that he is a DJ we all should be watching.

We were lucky enough to interview this Australian DJ, where we chatted about the recent single “Just Friends”, what it was like to work with Boy Matthews and Graace, and we also chatted about his future plans.

Hi Hayden, we hope you are well today. What have you been up to lately?

I’m really good thanks! I’ve just come back home, to Sydney, after two months away, playing shows in the USA and the EU. I’ve been writing a lot in the studio and just about to start my headline Australian tour. Lots happening!

Your most recent single release was “Just Friends”, can you tell us more about the track? It features Boy Matthews, what was he like to work with?

I wrote “Just Friends” with Jay (Boy Matthews) last summer in NYC. A mutual friend connected us and this song was the first thing we wrote in the studio together. We pretty much clicked immediately! After a couple months of production, it was done. It’s definitely the most ‘pop’ tune I’ve ever released and I’m really proud of it.

It has been gaining traction as more and more people have been listening to it, it now stands at over 17 million streams on Spotify, what’s it like knowing the song has been played that many times?

I actually can’t believe the reaction it’s getting! It feels amazing and I’m so pumped that people are into it.

A music video for the song was dropped alongside the release of “Just Friends”. What do you make of it?

A friend of mine (Sean Nunley) with his team shot the whole thing in one day along the Californian coastline. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. It captures all the right vibes and feelings of the song for me. The two ‘friends’ in the clip are actually friends of mine too.

The song has become your highest charting track to-date on the ARIA Singles Chart, peaking at number 26. How does that feel?

Pretty crazy! I’m just happy everyone’s connecting with the song.

You recently performed a sold-out show in London, how did it go?

Honestly, one of the most fun/sweaty shows I’ve played. The day of the show it was 38 degrees Celsius (the hottest day in London for 40 years) and everyone was so energetic! I’ve never had a crowd shout the words to my songs so loudly!

Do UK crowds differ from Australian crowds?

I find they are quite different markets but I’m starting to get the same reaction from the UK and AUS which is great. Being an Aussie, I feel you just can’t beat the crowds down here.

“Just Friends” is the follow-up to previous single “Numb”, which received Platinum status back in April. Can you tell us more about the song and how that achievement felt?

“Numb” is a very special song to me. The initial idea came about very quickly with Graace and we knew we had something special. I was nervous that it was too slow / different from my previous releases but I’ve always just focused on writing great songs…if you do that, it’s hard to go wrong.

What was Graace like to work with?

Incredible. Graace is such an amazing talent! She’s not only got a unique voice, but she’s a natural songwriter.

You are apparently working on your debut studio album, if your singles are anything to go by, it’s bound to be amazing. Can you reveal anything more about it?

This has been years in the making. I’ve been writing this album since my first release, “Permission to Love”. I am so close to finishing the album and I can not wait to share it with everyone!

You also co-wrote a song on Katy Perry’s recent album “Witness”, which was “Déjà Vu”. Can you describe what that felt like?

It was such a great personal and professional experience to work with such a massive pop star like Katy. I can’t really talk much about the sessions but we got to hang out and write for 2 weeks last year… I loved it!

You’re set to go out on an Australian tour in September, how excited are you for this? Many of the dates are sold-out, how does that feel?

Coming home to play sold-out shows at the biggest venues I’ve ever played, feels like a dream! I’ve been working really hard to make this the best show I possibly can. It’s an entirely new show in every respect. I have some friends joining me on stage this time and I’ll be playing a bunch of new songs from the unreleased album. I’m more excited about these shows than anything I’ve ever done!

What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?

After the Australian tour, I’m headed back to the USA to play CRSSD Festival in San Diego and a bunch of DJ sets around the country. After that, it’s back home for summer festivals in Aus! There might be a new single dropping at the end of the year too!

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

I have quite a list: Jamie XX, Lorde, Tame Impala, Daft Punk. Some of the best musicians and songwriters in my mind.

And, finally, do you have a message for your fans?

I wouldn’t be able to travel the world and make music if it wasn’t for my fans. Thank you so much for listening and caring. Love, HJ.

Thank you so much, Hayden James, for taking the time out to answer our questions. We’re excited about the new single you plan to possibly drop by the end of the year, and we know this new album is definitely going to be worth the wait.

“Just Friends” is his most recent single and features Boy Matthews and is available to download and stream right now. Why not check out his Spotify artist profile as you await new music from this awesome Australian DJ.

What do you make of our interview with Hayden James? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix.

Written by Jonathan Currinn

27-year-old writer, blogger, author, and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, Fuzzable, Modern Magazine, and Electric Mode. In the past, I have written for Fox & Squirrel Photography and the Daily Star. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni