Their latest album has been described as a “masterpiece” and lead singer Hayden’s voice “enormous”, so we thought we’d delve a little futher into the foursome that is the Wild Beasts.

We catch up with Hayden in Byron Bay, a common visitor to the place since his mum is Aussie.

Hayden, welcome back to Oz. How long have you been here this time?
Since Boxing Day. The other guys arrive soon and it’ll be their first time here.

Your voice has been described as “enormous”. When did you find out you could sing?
I think it was definitely a mental discovery rather than a physical one, when me and Ben started to play together we realised we were the best when were most ourselves, that was always when we got the most release and the most enjoyment. In that sense we never really pegged ourselves down or anything. If you peg something down you often allow it to blow away. It is definitely a feeling thing and we’re still morphing and we’re still changing, I don’t think I’ll sing the same in every album, I don’t sing the same on the first one as I did on the second, they’re different expressions. The human voice is a very – obviously a human thing – It’s like looking into someone’s eyes, you can’t change the colour of their eyes, they can close them or hide them but you can’t change their colour.

Two Dancers, your latest album, was described by The Sunday Times as “one of 2009’s indisputable masterpieces”. How do you take a review like that in?
You have to believe in what you do and once you feel happy with your work then anything else is just a compliment you know. It’s really nice to have someone agree with you. You have to put that extra effort in and you have to give yourself over to it, you have to give a little piece of yourself and if you’re honest like that then those sort of people are won over, it’s all the easier. The hardest thing is being honest and putting yourself over, but once you’ve ridden that challenge then the rest, it comes quite easily.

What would be your favourite Wild Beasts track?
I’m probably most happy with the recording of “Hooting and Howling”. To me that was a recording that took on a life of its own.

Who are you happy to be playing alongside at the Laneway Festivals?
I think The XX are a great, great band. I think all the accolades they’re getting is a very healthy and well deserved thing, I’m always looking forward to them and I think Florence is a great pop star and I think it’s genius with what they did with “You’ve got the love”. I’m really happy with the mix (of the festival) actually.

Who is an artist you look upto?
When I was in[Brisbane] the other day I went and saw Joanna Newsom, she was absolutely incredible. She’s who I aspire to lyrically, vocally. As a musician, she has the whole package.

Where is your favourite spot in Australia?
I would have to say[Byron Bay] but I’ve just been to Bellingen which was also nice.

So what’s next for you guys?
After we’ve finished touring and wrapped it up for Two Dancers we’ll be eagerly making a third album and of course start recording again.

Wild Beasts are touring with the Laneway Festival, still to visit Adelaide (Feb 5) & Perth (Feb 6). They also play sideshows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth this week. Details at

Words: Alice Terlikowski