Wednesday 3 October 2012

Aiden Grimshaw // Interview & Live Review

Aiden Grimshaw has just wrapped on his first UK tour- and with most dates selling out it was a resounding success. If his face seems familiar you may recognise him from 2010's X Factor line-up. However,  he's paving his own way in the industry.

Est.1987 headed down to Leeds Cockpit to chat to Aiden about working on his debut album "Misty Eye", moving to London and his love for Biggie Smalls...

Aiden Grimshaw 

A lot of the tour dates have sold out and with only a few more to go have you enjoyed it? This is your first proper tour, right?
Yeah, it’s going really good; it’s nice to be doing something. It’s only a small tour, but it’s nice to give us a feel of how it’s going to be. I’ve just been listening to the album over and over again so it’s nice to be able to come and play it and discover more things about it.

After the album being so well received is the live scene important for you?
I think so, yeah. I found my love for performing on the stage first.

Have you learnt any lessons from this tour?
Don’t go out and get smashed and go to a hotel and start running a bath and then go back to bed because you’re going to flood the hotel. I didn’t but one of those people in there did [pointing into the other dressing room].

Misty Eye, the album

So the album “Misty Eye”- you worked with Jarrad Rogers on it and you’ve said it’s an album about love and break-ups. Was it quite important for you to have that focus working with one person and have that coherence within the record?
Yeah, I think so. What I’ve found is that you have to have people around you that understand you. We’ve done like a year and a half of going round and writing and recording and I’m pretty weird; a lot of people don’t really get me, so nothing really worked. Then I met Jarrad and we just clicked and it was really nice.

You covered “Breathe Me” by Sia on the album; why that song? 
Someone mentioned it to me dead early on and then we got to the end of the album and there was a hole and I just wanted to say the same thing and it’s such a brilliant song.

You’re from Blackpool but have been living in London for two years now. Northerner to northerner- how are you finding it down there?
It’s good; it’s nice to walk round feeling the oddball. I feel so northern and you just walk into a club and everyone just looks at you like “what the f**k have you come as?” It’s great; people walk fast, really fast as well.

Without X-Factor where do you think you’d be now?
Errr, I wanted to go to drama school but I didn’t fill out any applications so that’s the reason I did X Factor. I don’t know, I’d probably just be sat around in my pants being a lazy b*****d. [laughing]

Aiden on stage in Leeds
Do you feel like everything happens for a reason and if it wasn’t for being in X Factor and not winning, Misty Eye wouldn’t be the same record? Or even exist at all?
I think you should live every moment as if it’s going to be documented on This Is My Life with Richard Parkinson and that I’m building up a brilliant story.

Are you glad that you took time out after X Factor and didn’t rush into releasing and touring? And that you’ve detached yourself from that?
It’s been nice. Well, I changed my hairstyle and nobody noticed me, it was pretty devastating to be honest; staring at people and hoping they recognise you [laughing]. But yeah, I definitely needed to take a step back from it, but everything feels good and like you say everything happens for a reason. I didn’t plan to wait for two years; I was just finding my feet and the right time.

So we also saw you modelling for “Mr Porter” – how was that experience compared to what you do musically?
Modelling or just sitting down looking moody; easiest hour. It was a really good shoot.

What’s next for you after the tour?
I’m just going to be preparing for Christmas really. Yeah, I don’t know; this tour has been pretty small so hopefully we’ll do a bigger one; just force more people to listen to my music basically.

What music have you been listening to?
I dunno, I’ve just been listening to Biggie Smalls getting my gangster on [laughing]. We like a bit of Alabama Shakes on the tour bus as well. 

And here's what happened when Aiden Grimshaw took to the stage...

Aiden at The Cockpit

The atmospheric beginning of “Hold On”, gradually building layers of sounds, definitely sets the tone for the evening. Aiden’s debut album has only been out for a month but it appears to be already a firm favourite with the crowd who know each song before it begins. The setlist neatly mirrors the chronology of the album. “You wouldn’t read Harry Potter in any other way, would you?” reveals Aiden. And it makes sense, right? Clearly a personal album, for there is a preferred flow to the record; it is honest and organic. Debut single “Is This Love” takes on a more electronic edge and is up-tempo and dance rhythm based, whilst piano focussed “Be Myself” slows the pace. “Misty Eye” is an album about love and break-ups, with each track marking a point in the journey. “This Island” is darker and echoic, soaring in the chorus with a thumping beat, whilst “Poacher’s Timing” is more stripped back. Aiden also throws in a cover of Sia’s “Breathe Me” before rounding off the night with most recent single “Curtain Call”

Aiden on stage at Leeds Cockpit
The encore shakes things up a little with a track that doesn't actually appear on the album. “Chokehold” is a slight step away from the more sombre tones of earlier tracks; it’s acoustic, folk emphasis casting a lighter mood over the crowd to end the evening. During the interview earlier in the day Aiden said that “you should live every moment as if it’s going to be documented on This Is My Life” and that he’s “building up a brilliant story”. I think it’s safe to say X Factor was only a minute chapter in what is set to be a brilliant story. Here’s to the future that is waiting to be written.  

The debut album "Misty Eye" is out now