AIDEN HATFIELD

Aiden Hatfield band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Last year, after featuring in various bands for a decade, Leeds musician Aiden Hatfield decided that the time was right for him to embark on a solo career, and last month, he brought out, to a positive response, his debut single, ‘This Is Never Ending’, which showcased an alternative rock sound influenced by the likes of Guns N’ RosesBiffy Clyro, and Frank Turner, as well as lyrical content that is an honest representation of his battle with depression.

With ‘Chapter One’, his much-anticipated first EP, being unveiled next month, I spoke to Aiden about all of this, his thriving clothing brand, In Music We Trust, and much more.

Firstly, what was your earliest musical memory?

My earliest has to be my dad having Guns N’ Roses on in the car whenever we went anywhere, and to this day, they’re still my all-time favourite band, but it wasn’t until I was 13, and one of his friends brought his new guitar over to our house, that I realised that I wanted to actually play music and not just listen to it.

And when did you decide to pursue music as a full-time career?

Pretty much from that point on, I knew that I wanted to “make it” as a rock star, and I’ve played music ever since, but it wasn’t until I was about 25 did I realise how much work I was going to have to put in to actually make it happen, rather than just thinking that wanting it really bad was going to be enough, so therefore, I’ve worked at it every day since then.

For a decade, you played in various bands, before taking the decision last year to go solo. What were the main reasons behind doing that?

I find it really difficult to find people that are as driven and passionate about music as I am, so I figured I’d just do all of the work myself (writing, recording, shooting videos, and booking shows), then just get people involved when I wanted to tour, and so far, it’s been working out great.

And how, for you personally, is it different to write and perform songs, in comparison to doing it as part of a collective?

Well, playing on stage is pretty much the same since I have a band up there with me, but writing songs is completely different, as I’m now the only person involved in the writing process, which is both amazing and a nightmare.

I can write songs to be exactly how I want them to be, but it’s so easy to run out of ideas when you’re the only one comping up with them, but I managed to get ‘Chapter One’ finished to a point where I’m completely happy with it, so at least I know I can do it, and will continue to do so.

You have been open about your battle with depression. Honestly, at first, did you find this difficult to discuss with others?

Funny story, actually…I didn’t originally open up about it on purpose. I did an interview with the BBC and, prior to the interview, the interviewer asked if I had depression, and I kind of said “Err… yeah, I guess I do” without thinking much of it.

The interviewer then broadcast this information on regional television, so then there was really no going back from there. I kind of came down in a cold sweat when I first saw the piece, but it has since given me the confidence to be completely open and encourage others to do the same, so really, it was a blessing in disguise.

And you help those who find themselves in similar situations with your clothing brand, In Music We Trust. where you donate half of the profits to the Mind charity. Did you ever envision, when you started it up, just how successful it would eventually become?

When I came up with the idea for the brand and everything behind it, I knew I had come up with a really great idea, I knew that it had the potential to be successful, and I also knew that people would love it and it would be relatable, but at no point during those early days did I think that I personally would have the capability or the motivation to actually do it justice.

That being said, I knew I had to prove myself wrong, so I did, and now, I can’t believe how well it’s doing and there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful for the amazing support I’ve had from other people.

Recently, you unveiled your debut single, ‘This Is Never Ending’. How has the response been to that so far?

The response to that has been so amazing. I knew those that supported me unconditionally would enjoy it because they’re amazing, supportive people, and they didn’t disappoint, but I didn’t expect complete strangers that didn’t already know me, and the work that I do, to like it as much as they did.

I also didn’t expect people to tell me that it’s their “go to” song when they’re having a bad day, and I certainly didn’t expect people to tell me that their elderly mothers absolutely love it! (laughs)

And the track has been taken from your much-anticipated debut EP, ‘Chapter One’, coming out next month. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was fairly straightforward, as I’m the only musician that plays anything on the EP. I’m responsible for the drums, all of the guitars, the bass, and all of the vocals.

I recorded the whole thing in my house, and got it mixed and mastered by Kieran Smith, who did an amazing job. I honestly couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Also, what can be expected of the upcoming release?

Well, I’m a big fan of emo music from the 2000s and how poetic the lyrics are, so it’s my own take on that, but with guitar solos since I’ve always loved Guns N’ Roses.

Also, there’s not a song on there that didn’t come straight from my heart, and I just hope that people enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed writing and recording them.

And to promote the EP, you will be embarking on a UK tour. What can audiences expect from your live sets?

Well, I plan to play every song off the EP with a band up on stage with me, but I’ve also got a bunch of new songs that I want to play for people, which will just be me up there with a guitar, as I’ve never been one for playing to backing tracks or having anything too flashy going on, which a lot of bands are good at, and it’s fine that they do, but that’s just not for me.

The plan for my EP was for it to sound like four musicians in a room, and I want the same from my live shows.

Lastly, what are your plans following ‘Chapter One’ coming out and the conclusion of the tour?

As much music as possible for the rest of my life, as I don’t ever want to stop doing what I love. I’ll continue to run my In Music We Trust clothing brand, I’ll keep encouraging people to be nice to each other, and I’ll keep making mistakes and learning from them… all whilst playing music.

Aiden Hatfield EP Cover

‘CHAPTER ONE’, THE DEBUT EP FROM AIDEN HATFIELD, WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 15, VIA IMWT RECORDS, AND TO PROMOTE THIS, AIDEN WILL BE EMBARKING ON A UK HEADLINE TOUR, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Aiden Hatfield tour poster

FURTHER INFO ON AIDEN CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

AND DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE FOR AIDEN’S CLOTHING BRAND, IN MUSIC WE TRUST, WHERE 50% OF THE PROFITS GO TO THE MIND CHARITY. 

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THE RIVEN

The Riven band photo

THE RIVEN (from l-r): Arnau Diaz (guitar), Totta Ekebergh (vocals), Olof Axegard (drums), Max Ternebring (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having all met as students studying music in London, four-piece The Riven have developed, since forming in 2016, an immensely powerful blues-rock sound reminiscent of outfits such as Thin Lizzy, early Rush, and Rival Sons.

Shortly after unveiling a well-received debut EP, ‘Blackbird’, the band decided to relocate to Sweden, the native country of three of the members, and since then, they have been working hard on putting together their first album, which the quartet recorded in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

With the release of that imminent, I spoke to drummer Olof Axegard about the upcoming self-titled release, journey so far, and much more.

You’re all from Sweden and Spain, but you actually formed the band in London. How did everyone end up there?

We all went there to study music. Arnau lived with Max and Totta, whilst I was in the same programme and year as Arnau. You could say Arnau was the glue, but the idea of the band didn’t become real until Max and Arnau started writing music together, and the next step after that was to get more people to join them.

Totta was living in the same house, and as we know, she has an amazing voice, so it was a good thing that she liked what they were up to and joined. I joined later on, as they were throwing a birthday party for one of their housemates, and I went there just to party really.

Later that night, Arnau asked if I was busy, and if I would be interested to jam some music they had been writing. Obviously, knowing Arnau, I knew it was gonna be good, so I accepted his offer, and the rest is history.

How did the name The Riven come about?

It was Totta who came up with it. We, as most bands, went through a period of a lot of different names being thrown around, but nothing really stuck until Totta found this Swedish word “riven“, which she then looked up to see if there was a English word for it and there was, with the same spelling and meaning.

Riven” means torn or broken, which captured us as a band very well. We all come from different sides of music, we all come from rock, of course, but we approach music and writing differently, which keeps everything fresh and exciting.

What inspires the band lyrically?

We like our songs to have lyrics with a lot of meaning, and that could be a story or something that has happened to us in real life. Personally, I like conceptual ideas, so, for me, it’s stories.

However, these stories need to have connections to my personal life, and a good example of this would be ‘Far Beyond’, a track from our new album.

In 2017, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Blackbird’, which immediately won much acclaim from the underground rock press. Honestly, were any of you expecting that at all?

Well, no! (laughs) I mean, we all love our first EP, but the reception we got, as our first outing, wasn’t expected, so it was a very incredible experience to hear so many good things about the first bits of music we put out there.

And the band promoted that with a tour of the UK, Sweden, and Finland, supporting the likes of Fates Warning, Elephant Tree, and The Dahmers. How was that as an experience for you all?

Fun, unbelievable and amazing! Not much more to say really, as we couldn’t have asked for a better first tour. Supporting such incredible and different bands was a huge experience, and we learned a lot from each of them. Also, being able to play in different countries just a few months after the release of our first EP was great.

Later that year, you relocated to Sweden from London. What were the main reasons behind this move?

The reason behind that is because we felt that we needed to move closer to our scene of music. I mean, London and the UK has a great live music and rock scene, but most of the bands that we listen to currently are coming out of Sweden, so that felt right as our next step.

Also, I think we had all gotten a bit tired of hustling around London, and we wanted to do something new.

And how, in the band’s opinion, how is the contemporary Swedish rock scene different to the contemporary British rock scene?

Just looking at the amount of great bands that the Swedish rock scene is creating at the moment, compared to the British, you could say it’s way more suiting to us. Don’t get me wrong, there are great bands coming from the UK like Elephant Tree or Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, however, it just feels right to be in Sweden right now.

Very shortly, you will be releasing your self-titled first album, which the band recorded in Madrid. How was the recording process for that?

It was great! We had a good amount of time to write and do pre-production with Ola Ersfjord before going to him in Madrid to record it, so once we were there, everything ran very naturally and very smoothly.

Ola made us feel like we were at home, so we were all able to get the best performance out of ourselves. We had a great time recording in, and enjoying, Madrid.

And how will the upcoming release differ to ‘Blackbird’?

There’s a lot that will differ from the ‘Blackbird’ release. First off, we have a great label behind us helping us reach new goals. Also, we have people around the world willing to work with us to be able to go into new markets, so more or less, ‘Blackbird’ was all us, whereas now, it’s a massive team effort, which feels great. The music business is tough, so having this team behind us is a joy!

And finally, what are the band’s plans following the album’s unveiling?

First of all, we have our release gig on March 15, then we have a couple of tours in Europe coming up during 2019, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media feed to see where we go next.

The Riven Album Cover

THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM BY THE RIVEN WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 1, VIA THE SIGN RECORDS.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

 

DEATH BLOOMS

Death Blooms band photo

DEATH BLOOMS (from l-r): Dan Partridge (drums), Paul Barrow (vocals), “Giz” Gibbs (bass), Ad Lucas (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by ETHAN O’DOWD

From Liverpool, Death Blooms are an up-and-coming four-piece who specialise in a boundary-pushing metal sounds that is explosive, sinister, and takes from a diverse range of musical influences.

Having brought out a new single, ‘Crosses’, ahead of their second EP release this April, I spoke to the band when they stopped by recently in Stoke-on-Trent, as part of a UK headline tour with SHVPES, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band first get together?

PAUL BARROW (vocals): So we had been in all sorts of different bands, and it was when mine and Ad’s old band finished that we decided to start something new, which we did, and we just carried on from there.

How did the name Death Blooms come about?

PAUL: At the beginning, we had a bunch of different names that we were considering, and Death Blooms just happened to be the best one. Also, it was the name that best fitted our sound.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

PAUL: We just put in as much as we can, from a wide range of influences, for example, nu-metal, metalcore, pop-punk, which reflect our diverse musical tastes, so yeah, we just throw everything in, and see what happens.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PAUL: So far, we’ve tended to write lyrics that have a personal meaning to all of us, for example, metal health issues, but basically, we just put down whatever’s going through our heads at the time, and I think that creates a general vibe where we can release our emotions.

AD LUCAS (guitar): All of the confusion in our heads, we just get a piece of paper, and write it out.

You recently brought out a new single, ‘Crosses’. How has the reaction been to that so far?

PAUL: It’s been amazing, and people seem to really dig it. It’s been weird, though, as the song has been in our live set for a while now, pretty much since we started, but yeah, the reaction so far has just been ace.

“GIZ” GIBBS (bass): And when we’ve been playing it live recently, everyone has been singing along to it, which is fucking awesome.

And the track was taken from the band’s second EP, ‘You Are Filth’, which will be coming out this April. How has the recording process for that been?

PAUL: The process just started, everything came together, and then it was over.

(The band all laugh)

PAUL: Nah! It was actually really cool. We recorded the EP over a few sessions with Dave Radahd-Jones at his home studio.

AD: He’s the same producer who helped us with our first EP.

PAUL: Yeah, he’s ace, because he seems to just get our sound, and what we want to do with it. In comparison to when we did the first EP, where me and Ad got together, sat down somewhere, wrote a few songs, and then sent them over to Dave, this time, we spent two sessions writing the tracks with him.

It was a dead comfortable atmosphere throughout, really, and I noticed that Dave’s studio had some really nice carpets.

(The band all laugh)

PAUL: Also, the coffee was nice.

AD: Yeah, coffee-fuelled metal!

(The band all laugh)

How will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the debut?

PAUL: I don’t know, really, as I think that it’s just a continuation of what we did with the first EP, only with a more coarse sound.

AD: I feel that it has more groove and melody.

PAUL: Yeah, it’s almost like it’s heavier and punkier at the same time.

AD: Yeah, I think we’ve added a bunch of songs that have more hooks to them, definitely.

Last year, you played at Download, supported King 810, and opened for Korn frontman Jonathan Davis in Manchester, which must have been quite an experience for the band.

PAUL: It was wild, and actually, it was Dan’s first show with us, wasn’t it, mate?

DAN PARTRIDGE (drums): Yes, it was.

PAUL: So you went straight in at the deep end.

DAN: Yeah, it was pretty fucking crazy, man, because we all grew up listening to Korn.

“GIZ”: It was a hell of an inititation.

(The band all laugh)

DAN: Yeah, definitely.

PAUL: When Dan joined, we just said to him, “By the way, your first show with us is going to be opening for Jonathan Davis“, but it was ace, man, and the Korn fans in the crowd got us, so it was good, like.

And how is it, overall, performing live on stage?

“GIZ”: Fun, real fun.

PAUL: It’s real fun.

AD: And we pray that it will never become a chore for us.

PAUL: We do what we do, and we fucking love doing it, especially when it all pays off, unless we’re feeling sick, but even then, we will still give everything to it.

AD: And now that we’ve just done our sound check, we can’t wait to get back out there.

And finally, what are the band’s plans following the release of ‘You Are Filth’?

PAUL: Shortly, we’re going to be announcing something that we can’t go into too much detail about at the moment, and then for the rest of this year, we’re just going to sort out what we are going to do.

AD: Stuff will definitely be happening.

PAUL: We’ll also be bringing out a few more singles from the EP, and a few videos as well, so yeah, a lot of content, and loads more live shows too.

Death Blooms EP Cover

‘YOU ARE FILTH’, THE SECOND EP FROM DEATH BLOOMS, WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 26.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE