Triple-platinum songwriter and producer Hayden James returns with his first single of 2021 "Foolproof," a collaboration alongside revered contemporary dance duo Gorgon City and fellow Australian singer-songwriter Nat Dunn. Released today on Future Classic Records, the moody house record is a welcomed return for James and reestablishes his position as a global house selector on the international stage for 2021. We invited him to stop by for another installment of our How It Was Made series, and even had singer Nat Dunn make a cameo.
Words and photos by Hayden James and Nat Dunn
"Foolproof" was written in February 2020 at 301 Studios in Sydney, Australia. I remember having the basic chord structure and some arps, etc, in a session which I showed Matt and Kye (Gorgon City) in the studio. Within an hour or so we had fleshed out the main themes and a structure to the song, and that’s when Nat Dunn joined us and we started writing the topline and melodies. It all came together pretty quickly but then took months to really feel it out and build the record from a production standpoint.
One of the lead synth sounds comes from the Roland cloud Juno 106. Processing from iZotope, Soundtoys, and Valhalla. I’ve got a real 106 at home in the studio but this plug did what I needed it to do. Felt right so I just left it.
Main piano layer is from Keyscape. Such an amazing plug. I like to use Shaperbox for subtle, crafted sidechains. I’ve used Ableton ‘erosion’ amongst other things to liven up and slightly distort the piano. I find piano sounds very difficult to nail. They’re so dynamic with such a huge range of characters... It’s important to get it right and it takes me a long time.
Nat Dunn on recording vocals: I just use a sm7… if it’s good enough for Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" vocal, it’s good enough for me. "Foolproof" is about an unanticipated romance set in a world where I was moving so fast for so long, I hadn’t stood still for some time. It was the anchoring effect of love, that felt like anything was possible. It was foolproof.
Cassian mixed the vocals on this record with Fab filter Pro-R into Pro-Q3 finished off with a little Trackspacer which was being triggered by the lead vocal.
Grab your copy of Foolproof here.