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’ Roses, Biffy 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.
‘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:
FURTHER INFO ON AIDEN CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:
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.