Following the release and success of his highly-anticipated album Two Fold Pt. 2, Martin Vogt, better known as Haywyre, embarked on a tour to commemorate the album’s release. With support from fellow Monstercat label members San Holo and Grabbitz, along with other artists, the tour took place across North America, coming to an end in Toronto, at The Hoxton.
I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Martin on his album, the tour, and his live performances, right before his show that evening.
In regards to the whole ‘Two-Fold’ project – What brought about the whole notion of dichotomy, and how has that helped inspire the project altogether?
The concept of opposites and duality have been a HUGE part of what inspires me as an artist to begin with. If you look at Dichotomy, I had named it that before it was even part of the Two-Fold project. It’s been a huge inspiration to me, from the beginning, as a concept. I think sometimes as an artist, what you do is defined by what boundaries you decide to push, or what boundaries you decide to accept.
And that’s what was so exciting about the project – instead of just thinking of what I want, I wanted to adapt a frame of reference which was external. Something that I didn’t necessarily have control over. It was really exciting to do that, and just say, “according to this idea of ‘variety’ and ‘duality’ and ‘opposites’, what is the next logical step? What would the next track sound like? What does the project as a whole sound like?”
And how has the notion of dichotomy manifested itself in your production over time?
Over time, there was a bit of an evolution in the philosophical background to the project. The first part was more so based on opposites, and that’s what I tried to focus on – contrasting elements. The second part was more so a unity in opposites, looking at them as more connected than what I assume them to be. And so I try to approach the music from that perspective. It kind of evolved from a conflict in sound, to a little bit more of a harmony – a little bit more of an interconnectedness.
On a whole ‘chicken vs. egg’ concept, what would you say comes first, usually – the philosophies or the music?
It’s a little bit of both always, I guess. I swear – wasn’t there a scientific study that just recently proved that one of them came first?
I think so.
What was the answer?
I don’t wanna say anything – I don’t want there to be any incriminating evidence, so I’m not gonna comment on that – but I believe there is an answer out there now. So, that’s pretty cool.
What has the whole Two-Fold experience taught you?
It’s good to step outside of your comfort zone, and it teaches you a lot about who you are – who you want to be, who you don’t want to be, etc. I felt that very strongly, from the beginning of the project. And as much as it has been exciting, it’s also that much more relieving to be done with it. Because now, there’s no more pressure of fulfilling an expectation for another album related to the project. There’s no more pressure to make music that’s relevant to that idea. Now, I feel like I can explore music that I am more intuitively excited about.
Now that the tour is at its end, what’s been a highlight/favourite moment for you?
This doesn’t necessarily relate to a specific moment or a specific night, but spanning over the entire tour in general – connecting and participating with some of the really hardcore fans. Some of the people that really understand and appreciate what I’m doing, y’know?
Up until now, the performance experiences that I’ve had have been related to being a direct support act – and it’s a lot of fun always, for sure – but to go out to a show, and to look out to all the faces that are in the audience and be like, “you guys know who I am, why I’m here, what I do” etc., and to present what I’m doing in full confidence knowing that I can expect them to appreciate what I’m doing, is the best thing ever.
How has the whole “Family culture” associated with Monstercat help shape you as an artist?
When I started working with them about 2 and a half years ago, my bubble was very minimal. But when I started showing them the work I was doing with Two Fold Pt. 1, they started taking interest too. I noticed their initiative when they flew out (from Vancouver) to Minneapolis where I was going to school – we sat down in a board room, in front of whiteboards, and they were like “okay, let’s plan this out. You have this music, what do you wanna do with it? What can we help you do with it?” That’s the first time that I felt that there are other people that were just as inspired or excited about what I’m doing, besides myself.
And that’s a rare thing. I mean, up until then, it was just me – I was just on my trajectory, doing things how I wanted to do them, with or without people. And that was the first time I felt like “okay, there’s other people that wanna partake”. From there, I ended up doing an internship at the label – I was with them for a month, and I had so much fun, and such a big learning experience. I dropped out of school, and we figured out a way for me to get a work permit, to be there permanently. I live two blocks away from their office now, have my studio a block away from their office, and we work very closely together. I know their entire staff very well, and a lot of their artists too. It’s cool. Very supportive community.
What prompts you to do a live tour?
I have never done any performance without my keyboard. I’ve never even touched CDJs in my life – I don’t know how to use them. For me, the concept of doing a live tour – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The problem more so is how to communicate the value in my tour to other people. I don’t necessarily have the budget to do anything too crazy yet. But, with this tour, we decided “Here’s what we have to work with – this is what we can do”. And we ended up incorporating live camera-capturing. That’s one of the biggest steps I’ve taken towards communicating the value of what I’m doing with the audience. … I’ve recently played one of my largest shows I’ve ever done in Japan, which is like, 13,000 people standing out there.
The idea was, “we need to communicate that to the average audience member.” Wherever you are, whenever you are (a part of the concert), you want to be able to see, or essentially experience, the main contributing factor to the highlight of the night, right? So, with DJs, it’s not necessarily important for [the audience] to see what they’re doing – it’s more important for them to hear it, because the DJ is focused on their aural experience. Whereas for me, as a performing artist, I want people to see what I’m doing. It has to translate from every note that I play. And so, that’s been the most important aspect – getting those cameras, and projecting a live stream of what I’m doing, right behind me – so that everybody, no matter where they are, can see what I’m doing.