Where Heyz has been—and where he’s going next [Interview]
Mike Hayes, better known by his moniker, Heyz, didn’t begin producing music until the age of 26. He had gone to college to study marketing, and even had his own startup before he decided to leave his structured life behind to start pursuing his passion.
Called Cult Entertainment—and eventually, Cultivate—the company worked with the likes of Wolfgang Gartner, Firepower Records, and more. After raising money and acquiring advisors for the software that the company had been designing, the suggestion was made that Hayes should use the startup in the real estate industry rather than the entertainment industry.
“I just kinda looked at myself one day and was like, ‘what the fuck am I doing right now?’ Like, I don’t know shit about real estate. So I quit. I just picked up Logic and started making music,” Hayes told Dancing Astronaut.
“I’ve always been super musically inclined. My brain just understands it. I don’t know what chord I’m playing. I don’t know what key I’m in. I just can hear what needs to happen and somehow do it,” Hayes said.
It took the budding producer a while to find his niche, as he dabbled in a variety of genres before he finally decided to settle on a more bass-oriented sound. Once he figured that part out, he began releasing songs on Deadbeats, starting with his Who Is HEYZ EP.
Heyz’s most recent Deadbeats release, “Touched,” had first been teased on his Deadtreats mix this past October. The track had taken more than two years to complete, and the vocal aspect of it always called to him.
“It just sat and it was bad,” he explained. “But I always liked the vocals. I thought it was powerful and energetic, even though it repeats. I just thought, ‘I can build a bunch around this’ and going into this year, the music I want to put out is big and energetic. Like a huge moment—the songs you close your set with. That’s what I want every song to be.”
With all of his releases so far, Hayes has proven that he has his own distinct sound. While his Who is HEYZ EP, released last summer, introduces his new direction, “Touched” takes it a step further. Hayes plans for his newest single to be the first from a larger body of work that he’s currently working on. Some of the tracks remain in their earlier beginning stages while others are a bit more fleshed out.
“Essentially, I want to only make vocals tracks. So no more beats,” Hayes said. “I feel like that’s super important and that’s one thing I really like about Zeds Dead’s music is that there’s always some kind of catchy vocal hook and it makes its potential to be timeless way higher. So pretty much everything I make, I want it to be a single. So when I release an EP, I want it to be a bunch of what could be singles. Strong, stand-out songs.”
Although Hayes seems to have it all figured out at present, his journey to figuring out that he wanted to make a career in music didn’t come easily. The idea of it had always called to him, but his own self-doubts had gotten in the way up until his mid-20’s, he explained:
“I was always afraid to make music myself. Like just if I sucked and I thought it’d be insanely hard to learn the software and what it is. I mean, it’s not impossible. But once I started it clicked super quick, hence mau5trap signing me within three months of making anything. I was like, ‘what the hell is going on right now?'”
Hayes did not really start to settle into his routine of making music until 2020, when the pandemic disrupted the music industry in ways never before seen. It caused him to get more creative with how he marketed himself on social media—a task that, as a former marketing professional, appeared to come easily.
His TikTok account currently sits at more 382,000 followers. With a mixture of comedy and his own music, the account follows him as he pokes fun at trends with lies about his former art major, messing up the lyrics to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallions hit single “WAP,” traveling to shows, and more.
As he looks to what else is up his sleeve for next year, he’s also been working on an animated character to serve as his own mascot. With a hazy, ghostly look, the character will be provided with its own backstory to further immerse fans into the world of Heyz.
“I want this to be long-lasting. I don’t want it to be a fad sound, I want huge, high energy. I want people when they come to my shows to just get that feeling where everyone’s so immersed where you can turn around and you totally are just lost in what’s going on around you. I just want to immerse everyone in this world of Heyz,” he concluded.
Featured image: Heyz/Instagram