Who can forget the smoky voice of Martine Girault on the track ‘Revival’ featured on the Nescafe Ad all those years ago, well the producer of that track Ray Hayden is back. Re-issuing this song and a whole back catalogue of hits spanning 2 decades for the first time online.
Ray, who’s worked with the likes of Mary J Blige, Swing Out Sister and Omar to name a few has returned with a new Opaz vibe entitled ‘Believe’ and EP ‘Sarethereal’.
Musicvein tracked down Ray Hayden to chat about what he’s been doing recently;
RH: “I’ve been well and truly busy (he begins)…recorded an artist from Dubai named Jay Johnson on a world music project called ‘Humanity’ and worked on an album from Cartier Fraser which has a cool 60’s vibe. I’ve also, as you know, started work on the new Opaz LP from which the Sarethereal EP has been released. Then I’ve just finished a remix for Soulutions and working on one for Melba Moore – (he laughs as he finds more things to tell me) – and I’m also developing a multi-media project, which combines a comic with computer game interactivity, all of which you can find on my website.”
MV: OK and BREATHE! Wow you have been mega busy! So of all the album you’ve created which was your fave and why?
RH: “Martine Girault‘s Revival LP has got to be my favourite. It was my debut production and recorded way back in 1991/2. I had to work extremely hard to make it happen, it involved some of the best musicians in London and really kick-started my career.”
MV: Thinking back to when you first started till now, what major shifts have you seen in the industry and are they for the good?
RH: “I work in the music industry and in all reality very little has changed in that. However, I used to depend on the record industry as a vehicle to sell my work and the business that I developed with no longer exists. There are no more record stores, 99% of people have stopped buying vinyl and CDs, there are no distribution companies and few music publications. It’s difficult for me to say that this is for the good because the change has impacted on so many people’s lives. You used to have to train to press a record and distribute it – it was a craft and a skill, the same with studio engineers. Both of these jobs have been replaced by changes in technology. There will always be music makers and music fans, it’s how we get the bit in the middle to generate an income stream to keep great music makers in the business that we need to solve.”
MV: What have you learnt over the course of your career?
RH: “The difficult thing to do when you see enormous change is to see your place in that change. So what I’ve learnt is to never stop looking for how you can fit into a dream that is forever changing. Change is inevitable – if you don’t embrace it you will be changed without having any control as to how you are changed.”
MV: Musician, Composer and Producer – which hat do you prefer to wear?
RH: “My hat has multi-media written clearly across the top of it! In honesty it’s easier than fitting all of the above plus web-designer, photographer, video director and 3D artist all into the same space. But if I had to choose one of the three it would probably be producer. You have to know a little bit of everything these days to be self-employed.”
MV: A very true point! Ok so you’ve worked with some major greats over the years – Mary J Blige, Incognito, Omar to name a few – of all of them who have you enjoyed working with the most?
RH: “I think the late George Howard – Jazz saxophonist from Atlanta who I worked on ‘Attitude Adjustment’ with. He helped me on my ‘Sky So Blue’ album (recently re-issued) and was absolutely the most fun person I’ve ever worked with. He was extremely intelligent, giving and gifted.”
MV: Which artists/producers are you feeling at the moment?
MV: And finally, what’s next for you?
RH: “What’s next is taking a break from music for a couple of months to concentrate on my comic and game project and resuming work on the Sarethereal LP in the new year, which will include performances from Martine Girault, Natasha Watts, Bluey (Incognito) and Kenny Thomas.”
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