In the New Zealand music landscape, the small lower North Island University town of Palmerston North is one of the more crucial-yet-understated musical locales in the country. A hotbed for post-punk, free noise, rock, and hardcore, its creative culture gave birth to internationally recognized bands like The Skeptics and Lung, cult '90s label Yellow Bike Records, and iconic community recording studio and all-ages venue The Stomach. It's also home to a longstanding underground musician, sound engineer and producer named Hayden Sinclair. Hayden's best known musically within beat music circles for his Buska Dimes project. On any given evening, after sharing dinner, dank memes and dad jokes with his partner and two children, you'll find him making beats and writing songs in his home studio, occasionally venturing out to perform live sets.

With an autumn/winter population of eighty thousand-odd, which drops off substantially when the students leave over spring/summer, Palmerston North can be desolate at times. Making music in a provincial New Zealand town isn't for everyone. For those like Hayden who can connect with it however, it's a powerful source of inspiration. "There is that saying 'limitations breed creativity'," he says. "That's how I'd describe it here." Versatile and prolific, Hayden will write a whole set of new material for a specific show, change everything on the day and perform it live once, before zipping the folders and moving onto a new challenge.

When he isn't working within the beats and footwork/juke paradigms as Buska Dimes or crafting '90s style acid-house as 1964, he collaborates with friends from home and abroad on a series of rave, house, disco, funk and hip-hop projects. "I can't really explain why I create so much, or why creating is so important to me," he muses. "I don't remember being any other way; it is life. It's so ingrained in how and who I am as a person. Perhaps it's my substance of choice."

Hayden began his musical journey by learning guitar in elementary school. He grew up on classic hard rock in the sunny east coast city of Hastings, before acquiring a taste for death metal in his teens. "My guitar tutor started by teaching me heaps of AC/DC," he says. "Five years on, I'm playing Megadeath's 'Dawn Patrol' with some buddies for our intermediate (middle school) talent show. Mum and dad were really chill about their 12-year-old playing Deicide and Cannibal Corpse covers on his cherished Ibanez through a Holden 4x12 quad in the garage."

Although he never let go of the exuberance of heavy guitar music, Hayden's Buska Dimes SoundCloud showcases a series of futurist disco, beats, and juke songs that blend traditional musicality with the raw off-the-cuff energy of loop and sample-based beatcraft. He hasn't released a huge volume of music under his current aliases, but between the quality of his recordings and live performances, IZWID Records co-founder Scott Bulloch saw it fit to invite him to join the international Red Bull Sound Select platform. This relationship has allowed him to perform around the country alongside the likes of Kutmah, Zackey Force Funk, Azizi Gibson, Flatbush Zombies and Kamandi. "I didn't really know Scott before Sound Select," Hayden recalls. "I'd heard about this guy from Palmerston North who was doing things in the LA/UK beats scenes I was a fan of. He owned synths and audio stuff I'd only dreamed of owning."

To make the transition from metal to beats and juke, Hayden had to go through a few stages. "Compared to today's standards, I was a late bloomer [in electronic music]," he continues. "I was fifteen, and a friend had picked up a cheap TR-707 [drum machine] from a secondhand store. We jammed away on that thing trying to emulate the Primus drummer." Not long after, he got involved in the local outdoor rave scene and never looked back. His first keyboard (a Yamaha CS1X) followed; as did a move to Palmerston North after secondary school to continue his education. In Palmerston North, he used his student loan to acquire a computer and music software. "For awhile that was me, just making techno and playing it by myself."

One of Palmerston North's big selling points was The Stomach: an affordable community recording studio and practice space/all-ages venue. Haydn knew some kids who made an album there for, as he puts it "fuck all dollars." At the time, he was playing in a rap/rock band, and they had plans to record. The recordings never eventuated, but he stuck around and made friends within a community of local musicians and electronic music producers.

"I met this fantastic guitarist named Kris. We made a techno metal thing called Release and formed a metal band called Hellborne. Simultaneously I met Jeremiah Ross, [now well known for his video game soundtrack work as Module]. We did really well with a couple of live electronic acts, Trinity and sense_." During this era, Hayden also connected with his close collaborator Craig Black. They formed an electro-pop group named HUFF, through which they toured Japan. "I'm always working with Craig, and that's currently taking the form of some kind of holistic dance music."

Through playing in different bands, Hayden began to record at The Stomach. "In a roundabout way, that was how I ended up working there as the sound engineer in the 2000s," he recalls. "The Stomach would've been how I made almost all my connections back then. I met the vast majority of people I make music with locally through The Stomach. I'd say it's an essential resource all medium sized towns should have."

The years passed, and Hayden continued to expand his listening palette. Two crucial guides were Dan Keenan and Cam Lock, the hosts of a long-running experimental beats show on community focused Palmerston North student station Radio Control. Hayden was already listening to seminal IDM acts like Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Autechre, so Cam introduced him to Flying Lotus and the Californian beats sound. After hearing Mono/Poly's Paramatma album, which he describes as "the most mentally influential album I've ever listened to," he went all in. "For me, hearing new music becomes like an addiction or an obsession," Hayden admits.

As he delved into the Californian beat scene, Hayden became fascinated by early Project Mooncircle releases, the Russian beat scene and the first wave of Boiler Room TV. "It was relatable because it was a bunch of people who had similar ideas about music doing things in their lounge or whatever," he explains. Given the size of Palmerston North, the scene for beats and juke was, and remains, small. The flipside to this is a warm and well-connected community. "I can play shows with really good friends and everyone is really supportive. I can record in a professional studio for cheap. I can write a beat in the morning, send it to radio by the afternoon and get a polite thank you email from Dave [the station manager]. There is always something to do; you just have to make it happen yourself sometimes. But is that such a bad thing?"

Hayden is part of a group of local producers including Given Names, Slower Motion, Alpha Beta Gamma and Dar Kist. Together, they throw live beats jams and beat battles in D.I.Y venues and small local bars. "Because it's such a small family scene, it's good for new beatmakers," he says. "It's okay for people to come up to you after playing and ask heaps of questions... You take the time to listen to their soundcloud, talk about music and lend them your SP404 sampler. It's that kind of thing."

Lately, he's started incorporating field recording techniques into his productions. "I like the depth noise adds to a recording." After realising he would often add record crackle and tape hiss to his productions, he decided to take the things further. "I began recording sounds around the house, the neighbour's bird aviary and traffic going by. Then I started using them as sound beds under my music." Through listening back over the field recordings, he's started sampling or looping the odd noise to use as percussion, or amplify snares, melodies, and organs. "You hear something that pricks your ear up, loop it, give it a tune and process it," he explains.

Alongside his experiments with field recordings, Hayden has been experiencing a creative mindset shift, one that's breaking him out of his pattern of writing, performing and locking away music without release. He credits part of this shift towards the support of the Red Bull Sound Select project and artist community. "I've gone full circle back towards a 'just do what makes you feel you' approach and it's come at a time where, creatively speaking, I really needed to hear that. I'm on the cusp of doing things I normally wouldn't have and beginning to trust myself and my instincts. It's taken me a couple of years to get there, but I'm working on a new single, a music video to go with it and a bunch of other stuff."

You can listen to Buska Dimes music online via Soundcloud.