Over the course of the summer we have seen two big things occur: the bubbling over of the TRAP, and a young ATLien busting the shit out of tunes from Flux Pavilion, Iggy Azalea, Three 6 Mafia, Waka Flocka Flame, Ludacris, and even Boulder’s own Robotic Pirate Monkey, just to name a few. He gave us some of the summers hottest releases and just yesterday his latest EP Screw Loose dropped via Multi Music which unveiled five new originals. We were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with Hayen Kramer days before this release and peak into the mind of heRobust. Check out Screw Loose at the bottom of the interview.
TD: Plain and simple to start things rolling, can you tell us a little about yourself (Name, age, where you’re from, etc) to familiarize the unknowing viewers out there?
H: I’m Hayden Kramer. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and I’m 25. I like music a lot.
TD: To a lot of listeners, it seems like you were just birthed over night, heart-stopping Busts in hand ready to go. Obviously this isn’t the case, so why don’t you tell us your story? How’d you get to this point?
H: I’ve been producing music since I was maybe 15 or so. I started out making dirty south rap instrumentals and some classic hip hop tunes. As soon as I was exposed to electronic music, like Prefuse73 and Squarepusher, my music changed immediately. Things got weird in a pretty great way.
Anyway, production was always just a hobby. I never thought I’d even try to make it a career. About a year and a half ago I snapped and started heRobust. Today, I’m really glad that I made this decision, and pretty pleased with the progress so far.
The whole “over-night” thing is probably just because I waited so long before I put music out to the world. No one heard the novice tracks I made all those years. When I finally started sharing my music I had already been honing my sound for nearly a decade.
TD: Why Atlanta?
H: Like I said, born and raised. You’ve never really heard Outkast until you listen down here. It’s just home like that.
TD: Any plans of relocating?
H: I’m not sure yet. Things have been changing pretty quickly though so I wouldn’t be surprised.
TD: A lot of your original tracks wonderfully balance light, bouncy synths and room-shaking bass punches. When producing a track, which component do you focus on first?
H: If I’m using a sample that always comes first. Otherwise, I start with the chord progressions. Melody is next with bass and drums last, in that order.
TD: How do you feel about people starting to label your work as having “a heRobust sound”?
H: I think it’s great. It’s kind of impossible to self-diagnose your own music as being unique or distinct. So it really means something when other people start noticing.
TD: What are your thoughts on electronic music as a whole? Is there anything about this EDM explosion we’re witnessing that’s frustrating for you?
H: As far as the production is concerned, electronic music allows for so much more creativity then any other genre. I love it. And its more popular then ever before which is really exciting. I don’t find anything frustrating about the whole EDM explosion. Why don’t we just call it Dubstep? Lol, becuase that’s what it was. Artists in other subgenres like Glitch Hop or Beat music may find it frustrating that they’ve been living in Dubstep’s shadows for a while, but the truth is that Dubstep has brought millions of new fans to the table. People who have never liked EDM before are now open to all of it. So I’m actually really thankful for the whole explosion thing.
TD: Can you talk a bit about your recent split LP, ‘Late Night / Morning After’?
H: A while ago I decided that I wanted to have music for any and every occasion. So the first project I created was Late Night and Morning After. Both are downtempo releases. Late Night is the heavier and darker side, while Morning After is lighter and jazzier side. Both are great for chilling and listening in their respective environments. Haha and obviously after that I decided to target the dancefloor stuff.
TD: Have you noticed a recent spike in praise heading your way? Does it make you nervous at all?
H: Yes and No. Support for heRobust is growing. It feels great. It doesn’t make me nervous though. I’m trying to just make the music that I like. It would be a stressful, and impossible, task to please everyone so I think it’s best for artists to just make what they like.
TD: Who are some of your dream collaborators?
H: Producers: Prefuse73, Dorian Concept, J Dilla
Lyricists: 2Chainz, D’angelo, Lauren Hill
H: Obviously I go throw different phases with my music, but right now it’s all about fun. I go to shows and have a great time. When I hit the lab I just want to make music for other people to have a great time to.
TD: The term “Busted by heRobust” has kind of become a staple of your sound. What’s the story behind that?
H: I’ve always liked it when artists have their own nomenclature for remixes. Given the name heRobust, the whole BUSTED thing just made sense. Now when people see the word BUSTED they’ll know its a heRobust remix.
TD: And, finally, let’s talk about Screw Loose. It comes just a month after your Rob & Hood EP. How was your approach to this EP different?
H: Well Rob & Hood was a really fun release, but it didn’t really have the creative funky vibes I’ve been known for. A lot of people loved it, including myself, but some of the older fans asked if I was leaving the old sound behind. The Screw Loose EP was my way of saying “f### no…”. Screw Loose is a 5-track EP with tracks ranging from jazzy downtempo to funky glitch hop and even a little dubstep. It definitely represents my weirder, more creative, side.
TD: You’ve got quite an extensive fall tour coming up. What are you most looking forward to?
H: YES! This fall im touring with Vibesquad and Opiuo. Here’s what Im looking forward to the most. The two of them are going to playing a live collab at every show to transition between their sets. They are setting up a studio on the bus to work on tracks together too. So every show will contain a completely unique improv segment with 2 of EDM’s finest. And I get to watch the whole thing develop. It’s going to be awesome.
TD: So, after the tour, what’s next?
H: I have several releases finished so hopefully we’ll keep things rolling with another EP. I also really want to do some industry production for mainstream Atlanta artists like 2 Chainz, TI, Iggy Azalea etc… That’s not really a heRobust endeavor, just something I think would be really fun.
Last time you were in the studio:
H: Last night. Hopefully it’s the next 2 Chainz single.
Last random shit you saw:
H: Bike cop in the airport falls. Universal win…
Last time you attended a show you didn’t play at:
H: 2 nights ago at Vagabond in Miami. Pirate Trannies – no joke
Last time eating something weird:
H: Kangaroo jerky. It’s not good.
Last thing you said out loud:
H: Backstreet boys swag (@ a pitcure of my friend at one of my shows)
Last CD/vinyl you bought:
H: eLan/DJ Pound split. He actually gave it to me at a show in SD. Great tunes.
Last track you listened to:
H: Haha an unreleased BUSTED track featuring Dr. Evil. Yeah… just wait for that one.
Last time you were forced into something:
H: Last night. Had to stop labbing to sleep with the girl.
Last impressive music video you watched:
H: Lets just say I’ve contemplated cancelling my cable and replacing it with Riff Raff’s Youtube channel.