Exclusive Interview with Kayzo: Inspirations, Relationships, and the Future of The Binches
By: Katarina Cvetko
American based DJ and producer Hayden Capuozzo, known professionally as Kayzo, has been tearing up the electronic music scene with his unique and versatile sound. The young prodigy has no boundaries when it comes to his work, incorporating sounds from multiple genres to create something that stands out from your typical headlining acts. We had a chance to catch up with him before he made his Electric Love debut in Austria to discuss his musical inspirations, life on the road, and the future of The Binches.
Photo Credit: Kayzo Facebook
Festival Squad: How do you feel about playing at Electric Love for the first time tonight?
Kayzo: I’m really excited! This is my first time at Electric Love and my second time in Austria. The first time I came here was a few months ago at a club that I played called Lusthouse and it was really really fun so I’m excited to be back in Austria. There are a lot of really good Austrian fans so I’m stoked to be here!
Do you adapt your sets depending on the country you’re in?
Over time, coming to Europe and Asia more, I’ve definitely had to kind of adapt? I try not to … I don’t want to adapt too much where I’m not playing stuff that I want to play that I would normally play in the US. I want to be forward thinking and push new music onto Europe and Asia, so it’s not the same old thing, but there are things that I will play more of style-wise over here than I will in the US just because that’s what the energy calls for over here. Overall, I still try to play my own vibe, my own sets, something different than any of the other artists.
So in Europe, obviously they get a lot more exposure to hardstyle than they do in America. Are you going to be playing more Hardstyle in your set tonight or will you give the crowd a taste of the more typically American style of electronic music?
This trip over in Europe, I’ve actually added much more hard music to my set than I had previously in the past few months playing in the US. So yeah, I have more for tonight than I would normally.
So one of my favourite things about your sets is actually how you bring together so many different styles of music and mix them together so flawlessly. How did you decide to start integrating songs from Bring Me The Horizon and A Day To Remember into your sets?
It’s what I grew up on. I grew up on a lot of pop punk and rock like Underoath, Bring Me The Horizon, Sum 41 … just to name a few of them. But when I got inspired to start incorporating the production side of pop punk and rock elements into my music, that’s when I started to bring that into my sets. No one was playing it and I’ve loved listening to it my whole life. Anyone born in the early 90’s, they listen to a bunch of pop punk and rock and Warped Tour stuff and I know they went through that type of music during their early teens so I just want to kind of bring something back to them that they may have forgotten about. It’s just what I resonate with. I’d rather play pop punk and rock because that’s what I love versus playing like a hip-hop song I may not enjoy or something just to get a reaction.
How do you think the crowd has responded to you playing that type of music?
It’s actually been surprisingly really good. I was most wary of it overseas and surprisingly in Europe, all of the Bring Me The Horizon and pop punk rock stuff that I do in my sets ha been really well received and it’s been great. It’s been making me want to push forward and implement even older songs. I try to find like, all the stuff I used to listen to when I was like 14 years old and then I’m like, alright, let’s see what they think of this … and it’s been surprisingly a better reception that I had hoped for, so I’m gonna continue to do it. Push a different agenda forward. It’s cool to see a small collective in electronic music pushing that side of music to the electronic side.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
I don’t want to go cliché with dance music as much but … we sat and talked about pop punk for a while so you already know I’m obviously inspired by bands like Sum 41 and Bring Me The Horizon. Going back to the dance side, I first got into dance music or the bass scene at least listening to guys like Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, Bassnectar and obviously Skrillex. Their old stuff is re-inspiring me now. Like the old, melodic bass music where it’s not just a bunch of crazy bass sounds. It’s more of a fluid idea, fluid melody, fluid song with kind of hard sounds verses just noise, so I’m trying to go back and find a way to take the bass music sounds that they used, find my own sound, and find a way to get that feeling out of it.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Alright well, I’m gonna go with Bring Me The Horizon as my band. That is my band, that is my bucket list! My all-time bucket list of collaborations. In the dance music side… that’s a tough one! I would say at this point, I would really like to collab with Vini Vici and see how that traditional psy aesthetic could fit into my side of hard dance music, the pop punk, and the rock. What could happen if we throw both of our sounds into one? That’s always been really tempting to me like… how can we bring these two worlds together?
What has been the most memorable set that you’ve played in your career so far?
This year so far, I would have to go with EDC Vegas. It was my first year doing a solo set. It was at the Cosmic Meadow stage, which is one of my favourite stages when I used to go to EDC! It was special because I got to do my solo set and then I got to do The Binches set with my three really close friends, Dotcom, Yultron, and Ookay. That was probably the more bucket list moments because we got to close down all of EDC on Sunday. We closed down Cosmic Meadow, the sun was rising, and I got to play with my best friends on stage in front of a tonne of people! That’s got to be one of my career highlights so far, but I’m looking forward to tonight and a lot of other things coming up so I’m stoked!
Do you have anything interesting or unusual on your tour rider?
No… nothing right now. Surprisingly … at least in my friend group, I don’t tend to see anything too crazy out there, my rider is pretty boring. I don’t normally drink that much, especially on the road, so I feel bad sometimes because I’ll have alcohol on my rider and I don’t touch it. As long as I’ve got my Essentia Water which is like the PH balanced water, I know… that’s the one, I’m boujiee about water and coffee. Those are my two things that I need… good water and good coffee and then the rest can be like whatever.
Earlier this year, you took some time off touring to focus on your health. Since then, have you been able to find a balance between touring and your personal wellbeing?
I have. The beginning of the year was really insane because I ended last year on an intense note. All the way back I can remember last September I spent a whole month in Asia. From September until the end of my bus tour, I was pretty much not home at all and it was like country hopping, country hopping, continent hopping, and it really got to me. During New Years Eve time I spent like 30 hours in India, and I got right off stage and I had to fly to Montreal, play another set and then I had to fly the same night to Brooklyn and then right after that fly to San Diego and then I went to Holy Ship two days later. I got really sick after that, and then less than a week later, I started my bus tour so I was just like in a really low physical and mental state.
When I got that time off, it was the best thing I ever could have done for myself. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do because I had never had to postpone a show and it was down to the last minute. I didn’t want to do it, it killed me inside to do it but I did it. Once I saw all these unfortunate things happen to other artists in the later months that are dealing with mental and physical health, I knew I made the right decision. Some people just try to power through it and don’t think about it until it’s too late, so I think it’s important to recognise that you’re human. Take your ego out of it, take the money out of it, just everything out of it and think about you as a human being. It was the best decision I ever made and I came back from it feeling really refreshed with a new mindset in terms of like… it’s okay to be okay, be tired, be mentally depleted, it’s okay to recognise it. Sometimes all you need to do is just stop and let it all out and you end up feeling a million times better.
This is a bit of a personal question but the Internet has been blowing up over ‘Crazyo’. Can you tell us a little bit about how you guys met?
Oh my god. Yeah. So I met Cheney two and a half years ago all over Twitter actually. We followed each other and she had DM’ed me about something funny about a movie. I’m a very sarcastic person and she’s also very sarcastic and funny so we hit it off like that as friends. We kind of dated a little bit then, but I was in a place in my life when touring just started to really take off and I wasn’t ready to give time to someone yet. I wanted to but I knew I wasn’t ready yet because I needed to be a little selfish still and build this career and get to the point where I’m at now.
So I met her through the internet then, kinda stopped talking for a little bit and then about 10 months ago, we started talking as friends and I think it was just one of those things we knew we wanted to do over those two years of knowing each other but we were just busy living our lives. We came together, I love her, we’re here now and yeah. The Crayzo thing is kinda funny, everyone on the internet started that and they want us to like play shows together and whatever, but who knows, we may do something. We definitely make music together, she’s a very talented musician as well and so we’ve talked about it. If we want to make music together, it’s gonna be just for fun, just for us. We don’t want to make it with any sort of agenda because it’s a personal thing. I can’t imagine any much more of a personal thing to do with someone that you love than make music so … we’ll see.
You posted a photo of The Binches after EDC with the caption ‘This wasn’t the last time’. Do you guys have any plans to go on tour?
I will give a very loose nod without giving too much away, because I don’t wanna jinx anything. But yes, we will definitely be playing more music together in the future, one way or another.
Kayzo will be making an appearance at Area 4 Festival in Croatia in the coming weeks before heading back to the US for a series of shows.