It’s a busy time for Claude Hay. Right now, he’s working his way down the east coast, taking energy-infused blues music with him.
While he’s touring, he likes to stay by the beach – parking his motor home in a nice spot and jumping into his van for the next gig. But three successful albums have also sent him away from familiar sand and surf; to places like France, Poland, Germany and the US. It’s nomadic, but it’s a lifestyle he “absolutely loves.”
“Sometimes I wake up and I don’t know where I am,” he laughs. “It takes me a minute to work out where I am overseas which is a bit freaky. But I just love it . . . I wouldn’t change it for any job in the world.”
Claude Hay is a Blues & Roots musician, currently on a seven week Australian tour to promote ‘Good Times’ – the latest single from his third album, released last year. A solo artist with a difference, Claude uses looping pedals to layer musical phrases from different instruments as he performs, gradually creating the sound of an entire band on stage. He also has a passion for building his own guitars – his latest creation, Stella, was made from a $7 baking tray.
“I generally like hearing an instrument that has a different sound,” he says. “I find some sounds just really spark something in my brain and I write something a little bit different or try different areas of guitar. Different tunings make you play in different ways and I kind of like that.”
Earlier this year he won ‘Best Male Vocalist’ at the Australian Blues Music “Chain” Awards. His second album Deep Fried Satisfied was particularly successful in the US, reaching number nine on the Billboard Magazine Blues Chart as well as number one in Australia on the Roots Music Report. Claude says touring in Alaska was a highlight, something he attributes to the hospitality and enthusiasm of his US audience and to the beautiful scenery.
But he’s also fallen in love with mountains closer to home. Claude grew up in Sydney’s inner west and discovered the Blue Mountains quite by chance, when he was passing through and friend asked him to stay. “I just remember thinking ‘I could live here for the rest of my life’ and that’s literally what we did.”
Claude has been based in Katoomba for about eight years now. When he’s not on the road, he lives in the house he built on a peaceful acre of land by the bush. It’s also where he makes his music – the house has two recording studios set up there. “It’s a nice place to go home after a tour and just chill out and escape from the world so to speak,” he says. “It’s a good place to go back to.”
He’s about to head overseas again, this time to Germany, Belgium, Poland, Holland and New Zealand. But he’ll be back in his “crazy house” in the mountains by August.
“I just love it,” he says, “it’s my little place”.