LIKE a marathon runner turning around the final bend, Hayden James can see the finish line in sight.
It's been six years since the Sydney producer released his debut single Permission To Love and announced himself as one of Australia's brightest electronic talents.
A self-titled EP and hit singles Something About You, Numb and Just Friends have followed and attracted almost 300 million streams on Spotify. He's toured with Rüfüs Du Sol and collaborated with American pop starlet Katy Perry on her 2017 record Witness, but an album of his own has been missing from his impressive resume.
But not for much longer. This week James was mastering his debut album at Sydney's 301 Studio, preparing for a release later this year.
"I've been releasing just singles my whole career and it's been great focusing on one song at a time to make it exactly what I want, but I'm endeavouring to build something, not only for me, but for people who like my music as well," James said before a morning mixing session.
Music streaming is causing many artists to forgo the traditional album format. Instead, they're concentrating on releasing singles to maintain momentum.
This method has worked wonders for James and many of his EDM contemporaries like Flight Facilities, but the album format still appeals to him artistically.
"I see it as an impact point for an artist, especially your first record," he said. "It's like you have something to prove, that you can write something that you can sustain over 10 tracks.
"It's not a concept album but I want all these tracks to work together. For me, a good album is being able to put on the first track and not have to skip a track and that's what I endeavour to do."
Several of his more recent tracks like Better Together and Just Friends are expected to make the album, but James said he was hoping to display a more organic approach to his songwriting.
Whereas many electronic acts begin with beats and samples, James began the writing process for his album on either guitar or piano.
"It's very song focused," he said. "Even though my stuff is put in that electronic genre, it's definitely more of a pop record.
"It's like every song you could sing along to and I focus way more on keeping it simple. A simple strong idea is better than crowding something with a whole lot of instruments.
"That's the main thing for me. They're not dance tracks. They're just actual songs."
But before fans can delve into James' new material, the Future Classic artist is taking his laptop on the road for the Hot Dub Wine Machine tour, that passes through Pokolbin's Roche Estate on Saturday.
James should be in fine form following sold-out shows in Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Bali.
"I went from snowboarding in Japan and playing on top of a mountain to a sweaty festival in Bangkok at 35 degrees," he said. "It was quite different and my senses were screwed up going through those temperature changes, but it was amazing."
Catch Hayden James, The Presets, Confidence Man and more at Hot Dub Wine Machine on Saturday.