Hayden Capuozzo was born in Houston Texas, but called many cities his home. At the age of 24, Kayzo had his start in 2012 in a pretty unreal way. He was selected as the winner of Insomniac’s ‘Discovery Project’ Challenge with a mix that was absolute insanity in the best form. Winning this gave him a chance to play ‘Escape from Wonderland’ that year and making his performance one not to forget, that also happened to be his first gig ever.
Since his debut, Kayzo hasn't let up experimenting with creating music in genres like happy hardcore, hardstyle, electro, dubstep and even a bit of psytrance. He has recently created milestone collaborations on remixes with happy hardcore rising star Gammer on their Propaganda remix by DJ Snake and Carnage with their “Never Forget You” remix.
Kayzo released his EP “Welcome To The Doghouse” in Spring '16 through his own label ‘Doghouse Recordings’. The EP was comprised of an eclectic couple of songs to sink you teeth into. KAYZO most recently released his newest collobroaration with Barong Family artist, Cesqeaux, titled “Home.”
There is surely no slowing the Doghouse and Hayden.
Well my relationship with music started at an early age, just like every other producer in the game. I played hockey at a really high level up until the age of 19. I lived in all areas of the States, as well as Canada. Music was my outlet when bad games happened, and also my drive when working for what at that time was my goal, to be a professional hockey player. Electronic music was always in my ears. From the locker room, plane rides, bus rides, you name it. I always had headphones on. Now being a creator of what was once my biggest outlet. It's sort of like, "Okay it's my time to tell stories, and create that energy that once fuelled me as an athlete." I hope there are some hockey players blasting my music in their headphones pre game right now. That would be pretty cool. Honestly man, what else is there to say about music? It literally is my life. I wake up, get on my computer, check music blogs. I get on Twitter, and check what's going on in my favorite artists' life. I get in my car, and yea music is on. So besides the obvious of me sitting down in the studio behind my DAW making it, music is one of the biggest constants in my life, and that's pretty rad.
Home Town: Houston, TX
Currently Living: Los Angeles, CA
Origin Of Name: To be honest nothing to crazy, decided to take letters from my first and last name and scramble them together, minus the “K” of course.
Weapon of Choice: Production wise, definitely would have to be Massive, it’s my go to synth for all the weird stuff you hear in my music. Other than that my keen eye for a good animal photo to post on my Instagram.
Source of Power: My influences definitely come from different areas of my life. My family though has been the greatest influence when it boils down to having the drive to work for what you want. They have taught me that if you want something, you go and get it, you don’t wait for things to come to you.
Was there one particular moment in the recording or mixing process for your Discovery Project entry that made you feel like you were creating something pretty damn special?
To be honest, my entry was not intended for the Discovery Project. I was just trying to make something fun and different. I had never worked in a BPM lower than 128 at that point in time, so I thought “okay lets try 100 BPM, because that’s really slow and slow is cool.”
Are there any dots to connect with where/how you grew up to your musical output?
I don’t have the musical backing most artists’ posses. I didn’t grow up playing any instruments, besides playing the trumpet in the middle school band (oh yeah I did that). I would say one of the biggest factors to my musical “upbringing” if you will was attending a school for music production called Icon Collective less than a year and a half ago. Yea, honestly not sure I have enough time to go on about Icon, and how it has shaped my life as an artist and more importantly a person. But for anyone trying to find a group of passionate like-minded individuals, Icon is the spot man. I owe almost everything I have at this point to that place.
What do your parents think of what you are doing?
Well at first I think they were a little skeptical with my decision to drop out of college and attend production school, what parent wouldn’t be? They have always supported my dreams 100%, though, and they know when I’m committed to something, I devote every waking minute to it. I think over time as they heard more and more music coming from me they began to open up to the idea of it more and more.
What’s the strangest part of your job?
I tend to wonder how I can wake up every morning and make music, and then go play it for a large group of crazy people who love it just as much as I do. I then go to bed, wake up and do it all over again. Not many people can say that.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a DJ?
I’ll just jump on the bandwagon with this one. Most people nowadays think all DJs hit play. Man it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been out to plenty of shows, and have seen enough sets to know that most of the game today is DJing live. I don’t care how it’s done, USB controller, whatever. If you’re up there giving people a “live” show, I respect it. I think most people would be surprised with the amount of preparation that goes into a live set.
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
As an artist, it’s a toss up between playing Escape From Wonderland, and playing Control Friday’s at Avalon in Hollywood. Playing a festival like Insomniac’s is a type of experience that really can’t be put into words. It’s every artist’s dream to step on a stage of that magnitude. As for Avalon, anyone that knows the scene in LA/Hollywood knows that Avalon is infamous for having some of the biggest and best talent in the game come showcase there skills on Friday, so being on a poster with names like Cazzette, Project 46, and James Egbert was pretty incredible to say the least.
Do you have any memorable moments from past EDC's or any other Insomniac party?
EDC 2013 in Vegas! Yes, it was my very first EDC experience, and it was honestly one the best times of my life. I have never felt so close and connected to the scene than being there. Everyone was there having the time of their life. I met some pretty awesome people there, who were all just in the same place for the love of music, and that to me is a pretty good reason to continue to make music.
How does what you do for a living affect you on a day-to-day basis?
I’ve learned to live on a lot less, to say the least. I think I’m going through that starving artist phase right now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have learned so much about myself since starting this journey. My family and friends has also been nothing but supportive of my career path. Having them in my corner makes things a lot better.
What is your ultimate career dream?
Owning a house full of cats and sloths and having a lifetime supply of Papa Johns pizza. No seriously that would be dope. But yeah, besides that, just to be happy every day making the music I love. I don’t measure my happiness by the amount of money I make or stages I play.
Are you impulsive with your work or do you have a sketch in mind before you start?
I’m definitely more on the impulsive side. Or maybe a better word would be go with the flow. When I’m in the studio I’ll basically have an idea of temp and “genre” if you will. Other than that it’s like throwing a dart blindfolded. I have no idea where the song will go. 99% percent of the time it ends up changing genre and tempo. I usually end up fusing genres together and making some really weird sounds that somehow work.
How, if at all, does listening to music figure into your creative process?
100% factors in to my creativity. I try to find new music every day. I am always looking to see where artist are heading stylistically. I love to see artists I look up to pushing the envelope. Ever since hearing the Dog Blood remix of “Wild For The Night,” I have been dying to make weird 808 acid like synths.
What’s the most important piece of gear in your studio and why?
My MacBook! Everything I make is “inside the box.” Without my MacBook there would be no Kayzo.
How important is it for you to experiment and take on the risk of failure?
With the industry being more saturated than ever, I would say if you aren’t experimental, you probably will not last too long. There are solid new producers popping up everyday, so staying ahead of the curve is key in my opinion.
Do you have a list of people you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
My god yes. I won’t go on too long of a rant, but I’ll give you my top three. Tyler the Creator, Gesaffelstein and Skrillex. Tyler is about the craziest artist I have ever listened to lyrically, so having that level of weird on a track would be amazing. Gesaffelstein is like the king of dark techno in my opinion, and I have been really inspired by that style lately. Skrillex is Skrillex, I don’ think I need to make a case for him!
If we pressed Shuffle on your iPod while you went to the bathroom, what would you be embarrassed to come back to us listening to?
Jesus, I have taken stuff off of it since middle school, so you would probably find some really awesome 50 Cent or T-Pain hits accompanied by some really great boy band rock.
What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of coffee being made.
What should everyone just shut the fuck up about?
Big room house. Dude, it’s fun to listen to and fun to make sometimes. I’m tired of people complaining about making it. If you could do it the way some guys do it, you would in a heartbeat. Quit complaining, it’s all music, and all fun.
What gets you excited when you think about the future of electronic music and club culture?
How free and open it is. There really is no stopping it in my opinion. With the growth of technology, it is only making music and production more accessible to anyone. I’m pretty stoked to see where the next generation takes music, and definitely the art of live performance.
When you look at electronic music and the surrounding culture, what worries you about the future?
I know I just ranted and defended big room house and how everyone is making it, but at the same time, I think artists are becoming too complacent in the studio. Make big room, make a lot of big room but take some risks with it man. The problem is not the style, it’s the fact that everyone wants to sound like the last guy who made the hit.
What are your weaknesses?
I need to relax more. I’m a workaholic with production. I need to just get out more and enjoy life.
Do you have a secret passion?
Well I played hockey for like sixteen years, so I would say it still holds a place in my heart.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
I would take them to a Papa Johns, and let them order what ever they want. It’s that good.
Is success physical or internal?
Success to me is internal. Success is being happy. If I can wake up everyday and love what I do then, yeah, I’m pretty successful.
What do you remember about your first DJ gig?
Okay, so Escape From Wonderland was my first gig ever, and yeah I experienced one of my worst nightmares. The guy before me was just wrapping up his set, so I decided to start setting up, and was trying to find a power strip to plug in my controller. The power strip was in a cabinet right under the decks, so I had to maneuver below the guy to plug in my stuff. Right as I was going to plug in to the outlet my hand hit the on/off switch to the power strip, which apparently powered the whole entire stage. So yea, I basically ended the guys set ten minutes early. Watch out guys, if I’m playing after you, your last ten minutes of music is never safe. Big fail, but a lot of fun to say the least.
What’s the hardest professional lesson you’ve learned thus far?
This industry takes time. Nothing happens over night. At first you are going to suck, and going to suck a lot. The hardest part if battling through making bad music. I remember when I first started producing there were times when I was like “what are you doing here?” If you can get through the learning phase, and really do love making music then accepting that you will suck at the beginning isn’t really that bad.
Do you have a favorite all-time mixed CD or series?
I really enjoy any type of mix Zeds Dead puts out. Always so different and full of amazing tunes.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about entering the Discovery Project competition?
Do it. Honestly, my girlfriend had told me about the Discovery Project before I even found out about it. I think it was a day or two before the due date for Escape From Wonderland, and I had just finished up “Precession” (the song I entered), when she was like “dude you need to enter ‘Precession,’ it would be perfect for what they want.” I had no idea about the contest until that and thought, what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. I look back on that being one of the most important turning points in my musical career. It was the start of a real career in this industry in my opinion.
Favorite pizza is all types of pizza. And can we all just stop “turning up?”