Trails 1305 Soundhog: AKA Ben Hayes


‘I’ve been buying records since I was four years old beginning with January by Pilot in 1975.  In 1985, somewhat older but not much wiser I started making music out of other people’s music with 1/4″ tape loops, cassette recorder pause buttons and an Atari 800 based sampler.  This coincided with a headlong dive into ‘60s psych and ‘70s prog thanks largely to my 80s synthpop heroes becoming overblown and crap.  This is an era I’ve still not quite surfaced from. Later still, I somehow made a minor splash in the early ’00s in the first ‘bastard pop’ exposion…’

The name Soundhog is the main pseudonym of north Wales resident Ben Hayes (taken from a 1970s-era blank cassette-tape made by EMI) a some-time DJ, producer and composer. Those 1980s experiments with tape and basic sampling facilities eventually culminated in the early 2000s with some notable examples of ‘bastard pop ‘ which ended up, for better or worse, in the near unavoidable ‘m@$h-up’ culture of the present day.

This attention led to a brief but enjoyable spell of DJing parties in the UK and Europe. The early part of the decade also saw the release of an electronic 12″ single called ‘Curdler,’ and a few remixes for various artists including Shelly Poole and Chicago-based electropop dup Microfilm. Ben is also a member of the experimantal electronica trio Tauchseider (along with Stuart McLean and Innes Smith) who released a CD album entitled ‘Louder’ (which features contributions from Colin Newman of Wire, uber-producer Richard X, Severed Heads main man Tom Ellard and JD Twitch from Optimo) and more recently remixed Fini Tribe’s balaeric classic ‘De Testimony.’

Ben was also responsible for a notorious series of tracks released under the pseudonym of The Freelance Hairdresser (a play on the name of Bastard Pop pioneer Freelance Hellraiser), whose most famous creation was probably Marshall’s Been Snookered which featured a vocal by Eminem set over Winifred Atwell’s ‘Black and White Rag’ as famously used by the BBC for the Pot Black TV snooker show theme. His wonky remix of Kevin Eldon singing ‘Machadaynu’ from the Peter Serafinowicz / obert Popper show Look Around You almost got released as a single, but not quite.

I’ve been popping up on late night weekend BBC Radio Wales playing unusual and hopefully interesting tracks for the past seven years. I own three 1970s synthesizers, a guitar and bass and occasionally try to make some kind of unlistenable noise using them. I still create the odd online mix set when I can be arsed and they’re usually pretty good, if very undiscovered. I’ve covertly DJed on one of the stages at Green Man over the last couple of years although I don’t take to the turntables in public situations much these days. I own more records than it’s possible to listen to in my remaining lifetime and this situation is not helped by my sudden obssession with 1930s dance band 78s. I never thought I’d see the day but these two 2006 re-edits have finally made it to vinyl. The intention had always been there but these things take time, as it transpired!

The Dakotas edit might be familiar to anyone clever enough to listen to the Mix90 series, while the Open Mind has never been heard until now apart from one airing at a DJ night in Preston in 2007, played from a 10″ dubplate.

soundhog umbrella

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