Phase Fatale is the artistic moniker of Hayden Payne – one of the most prominent figures of the contemporary post-punk scene, who’s bringing his guitar music influences into techno. Bite Records founder, Hayden is also half of the Italo body music duo Soft Crash


. We caught up with him prior to the Bite Records party at Berghain to discuss Cronenberg’s influences, his most recent release, and the upcoming Bite Records compilation.

You are one of the current Berghain residents, what were the highlights so far?

When the residency started and I released my first EP on Ostgut Ton in 2018 – that’s when I officially became a resident – which was followed by my 2020 album “Scanning Backwards”. More recently we’ve had the first Bite Nite in October, it was really cool and I’m also very happy with my Sunday night DJ set back in March.

You are originally from NYC?

I was born in Philadelphia and I spent my teenage years in NYC.

Why move to Berlin?

It was for the music. I was playing in bands before, in 2013 I was touring with the band Automelodi and before that, I was in Berlin for a study exchange. That was more than 10 years ago and I decided to move here once I finish studying. So, I moved here with the intention to tour with my band. Later I understood that I also want to produce dance music.

Do you think there’s a big difference between the New York and Berlin scenes?

I think when I left almost 10 years ago, New York was quite different. There was of course a dance music scene, but it was kind of highbrow. The whole post-punk band scene was almost fading out when I left, while here in Europe it almost never stopped. If you look at Berghain it was all mixed together, they were playing EBM, goth, post-punk and techno stuff, and it was always the same crowd. Back then New York was much more divided, it was not mixed like that. Now, New York has changed, there’s a really cool and mixed scene there.

How did shoegaze and post-punk influence your own music?

I grew up as a guitar player, been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. It really influenced the way I approach techno, post-punk and shoegaze is really about the atmosphere, the mood and the textures that I try to carry over to techno. Of course, I use a lot of processed guitars in my tracks.

How did the Soft Moon Desertion remix happen?

I know them from the scene, we met for the first time at SXSW. When I moved to Berlin in 2016, I had a chance to remix them as well, then we toured together and I was opening for them as Phase Fatale driving in the van all around Eastern Europe. Recently we met at a festival in Warsaw and they were like “Hey, let’s do another remix.” and that’s how it happened.

What’s going on with Soft Crash?

We’re having concerts here and there, a couple of times every month, and preparing a new album for the end of the year.

You started your label Bite Records a couple of years ago. Who are the Bite artists to be excited about?

I started the label five years ago to put out all the artists and friends around me that fall in between techno, goth and industrial genres, but still dancy, catchy, and sensual music. We have a Bite Records compilation coming out on vinyl on May 5th, it’s 18 different artists but somehow it all fits together even though they all have pretty different styles. There’s also a super exciting album coming in July from Unhuman & Petra flurr, it’s really more on that post-punk, death rock side, all the songs have vocals but it’s still very deejayable at the same time, because Unhuman is a very good producer and Petra is kinda of a Berlin legend in the queer punk scene. It’s really next-level stuff for the genre.

When you create a release like Nailed to the Net do you think about structure and concept? Is it important for you? Or it’s more about improvisation?

When I start to work on music is about ideas or songs I can hear in my head and I need to translate them into reality. The concept never comes alone, as the music gets created I can start feeling the concept coming. Nailed to the Net was inspired by Ghost in the Shell for example.

Do you have this kind of a Cronenbergian obsession with car crashes or it’s just me?

Yep, really influenced by Cronenberg’s Crash and J.G. Ballard’s novel.


Listen to the Bite Records compilation “Shedding Skin” HERE!