On the day of his newest VIP remix with Snails, we had the opportunity to catch up with up-and-coming producer/DJ, heRobust. His birth name’s Hayden Kramer, he’s from Atlanta, and he can tear apart a dance floor with heavy trap music. Trust us, we were there for his set at Camp Bisco, and we almost lost our dear friend, Earl, to a vicious mosh pit at the “Above the Waves” stage. We actually had to ward people off with our haunting Shia Labeouf totem while fleeing to safety. After Bisco, we were excited to meet the man behind that party, and his personality only made us more excited for his show at Elements Festival in Brooklyn, New York. Get your tickets here, check out the new VIP remix below, and meet our homie: heRobust.
Hey Hayden, appreciate you taking some time to answer some questions for our readers. First things first – we covered Bisco this year, and everybody from our campsite was talking about your set. Tell us about your experience at the revenge of Bisco.
It’s always been my dream to play at a waterpark, and they had a waterpark! So I guess you could call that part a dream come true.
For fans who aren’t familiar, can you introduce yourself to newcomers and tell us three weird things about yourself?
I’m really into health food. I don’t eat for pleasure, I eat for sustenance. Before I was HeRobust, I started as a freshmen in Atlanta who played on the senior basketball team. I love listening to old school dirty south hip-hop before performing anywhere.
You find your roots in Atlanta. Tell us how that city and its music culture helped shape the artist you are today.
First of all, Trap music comes from Atlanta, so the hard southern rap sound is something I grew up around. When you’re young in ATL that kind of music is everywhere, it’s really more of a lifestyle. So I started off making hip hop beats and dirty south instrumentals and later on when I heard electronic music, like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, it completely blew my mind and changed the way I looked at producing.
What the fuck does heRobust mean?
It’s something I made up. Like a Robust Hero, it just stuck after a while.
Tell us your most ridiculous story from a concert experience.
There was this one time that I had just finished my set and the next guy had started playing when a random kid from the crowd jumped on stage and frisbee threw this guy’s laptop into the crowd. Obviously the dude was pissed so he started fighting the kid and once that happened everyone else in the crowd starting fighting each other/ bum rushed the stage. Then to top it all off some dude tried to break up the fight on the stage but slipped and fell and apparently he had a prosthetic leg, because it flew off, and then the original guy who frisbee threw the laptop picked it up and started hitting people with it! The whole thing was fucking nuts!
Before you were on stage, whose dance floor did you find yourself on?
Outkast, Three 6 Mafia, Waka Flocka… Back in the day in ATL I loved seeing the underground scene, like guys like Rekchampa, Divine Interface, P Villa, Deku, and Unda.
Tell us about some new music you have in oven.
I don’t want to give too much away, but recently I’ve been using a lot more of my own voice. It’s something I’ve done for a while to create vocal samples, but recently I’ve had a lot of fun singing hooks and melodies and layering them into my production. Just between you and me, that was me singing on ‘Skurt Reynolds.’
What’s the process you take to create a track? How has that process changed over the past five years?
As far as my process goes it’s heavily focused on sound design. I’ll spend much more time designing my synths than I will writing the synth lines themselves. However my song writing is a constantly evolving process. Back in 2011 I was making downtempo music, stuff that’s completely different from what I do today. These days things are more complex, yet I’m constantly working to simplify things down. I might get really excited one day and make this crazy beat, then experiment by making a ton of different sections, bringing the song all over the place. The next day I’ll wake up and be like “this needs to be boiled down to something people can grasp.” It’s like a process of sifting through ideas to find gold.
What’s your favorite song to play during a set that you’ve produced? Inversely, what’s your favorite song to play that you did not produce?
Right now my favorite track to play is ‘Skurt Reynolds.’ It’s been wild dropping that one and watching crowds go nuts. Its always an honor to hear other DJs drop it too. My favorite song by other producers changes a lot, I’m always hearing new music, but I love to play songs that people recognize.
Are you working on any collaborations with other artists now? Who do you plan to work with in the coming years?
I’ve got some stuff in the works, as always. Grab the VIP of the ‘Pump This’ track I did with Snails last year, along with a remix EP that is out in August. There are a ton of people on my ‘dream collaborators’ list like Prefuse73, Dorian Concept, 2 Chainz, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill… The list goes on.
We made sure during your set at Bisco that whenever you looked up, a flexing Shia Lebouf was staring you in the face. This being said, what’s your favorite Shia Lebouf quote?
“Just Do It”… or is that Nike?
Anything else you’d like to share with your fans?
Look for more new music, a fall tour, and an Australian tour coming later this year.