Aiden Hatfield is the creator of a music inspired clothing brand called In Music We Trust who donate fifty percent of their profits to the Mind Charity to help those with depression and other mental health issues. Our Nursing Stories reached out to Aiden to talk about music, mental health, and his clothing brand In Music We Trust.
ONS: When did your interest in music start?
AH: My initial interest in music started from a very young age. My dad was always into some really awesome music so that got my interest as early as I could remember. I always dreamed about being a “pop star”. As I got older, I found out what a guitar was. From the moment I first saw one and held one, I knew that I had to own one. So I bought a second hand one for £40 with the money I earned from doing my paper round. I haven’t stopped playing since then.
ONS: How did your career unfold to allow you to start In Music We Trust?
AH: I’m not really sure that my music career opened up in a way that allowed me to start the clothing brand. I just knew it was something I always wanted to do. Being a musician obviously, has it benefits when running a clothing brand that is so closely linked to music and it’s effects on our mental health. I’ve always been a struggling musician so I figured I’d make it even more difficult for myself by running a clothing brand at the same time.
ONS: How did you come up with the name?
AH: The name stems from the saying ‘In God We Trust’. I don’t believe in God but I do believe in music. Music has been there for me in the same way a religious faith is there for other people. It speaks to me and gives me a reason to get up in the morning. It’s helped me through so many situations and I wanted that to be a strong message within the ‘In Music We Trust’ brand.
ONS: Tell us about the brand.
AH: The brand started at the beginning of 2015. I was working part time, as a Christmas temp, in a retail store. As a musician, I rarely have any money. When I got paid from having a “real job” I didn’t know what to do with the money. So I spent my first month’s wage one a box of t-shirts so I could donate to a charity that supports those with depression. These days, I get pictures and messages from people all over the country and all over the world saying they’ve seen someone wearing one of the t-shirts. It’s still really surreal but it’s also amazing to know that so many people support the cause.
ONS: Describe a typical week for you.
AH: A typical week will vary depending on what I’m doing at the time. I spend a lot of time on Twitter to promote the brand as well as my recording studio (aph studios) and my band (Coloured In Silence). If I’m not on social media, trying to get people interested in what I’m doing, I’ll be designing t-shirts for the brand and the band. I’ll be recording other bands or doing work with my own band. I’ve just filmed an advert for the clothing brand and a music video for my band. I also spend as much time as I can with my daughter (she likes to steal all of my ‘In Music We Trust’ stickers whenever she can).
ONS: How would you describe your music and what inspires it?
AH: The music that I’m working on at the moment can easily be described as ‘alternative’. I like to describe it as sort of an “anthemic emo” sound. When I write, I find it difficult to write about fictional situations. It’s all based on life experiences. I love a good bouncy song that is just there as a “party” song and is all about jumping around, but I can’t write stuff like that. I pull influence from pretty much everything in life. I write about past experiences, my struggles as a musician, my struggles with my own thoughts and the things I’m feeling. It sounds really depressing when I describe it, but it’s a little more upbeat than I make it sound.
ONS: What instruments do you play?
AH: I play a couple of different instruments but in my band, I play guitar and I sing. I also play bass, drums, and a bit of piano. Because I see myself as a songwriter, it made sense to have a good understanding of what other people in the band can do with their instruments. I currently write and record everything involved with my new band (guitar, drums bass, piano, and lyrics), apart from the vocal melodies and harmonies. I come up with a rough melody for the vocals but our singer (Millie Whittaker) is a much better singer than I am, so we work on the melodies and harmonies together.
ONS: How did you become interested in mental health?
AH: When I first started the brand, I was convinced I suffered with depression. I never said anything to anybody and never tried to get diagnosed. Growing up, I was made to feel like depression just meant somebody was lazy and felt sorry for themselves so they didn’t have to bother getting out of bed. As I felt worse and worse, I dealt with it by starting the clothing brand to highlight the issue. I’d still not told anyone that I thought I had it. I think this was my “cry for help” and my way of telling people that I had a problem. It worked because I now openly admit that I suffer with depression and I encourage others to do the same.
ONS: How do you feel music links into mental health?
AH: I think this varies from person to person. A lot of artists (musicians and other artists) seem to be prone to mental health issues. I guess that’s why we seem to have so many musicians that commit suicide. For me, playing music is a way to keep me sane. It’s the same for a lot of other people. There are other people that listen to their favourite artists as a way to help them get through any situation they might be in. I think this might be way teenagers are so drawn to music. They’re going through so many changes with their bodies, hormones, and lives, so they put on an album and just forget about things for a little while.
ONS: Have you ever thought about creating relaxation music?
AH: I like to play a lot of acoustic guitar because I feel like the sound of it really relaxes me. When I play it, I’m not trying to write something that I intend to use, so it’s completely stress-free and for my own benefit. I write a lot of music all of the time, some of it has a very relaxing and mellow sound. It may be that one day I record some of these ideas and put them out there for other people. For now, that’s something I’d like to keep as my own.
ONS: Do you have any plans to release more designs/products in the future?
AH: Yeah, there are always ideas floating around for new designs and new products. Because I started this with one box of t-shirts, so much of the profits get donated and I run the whole thing by myself, it takes time to build. But the brand is getting bigger, stronger and more support than ever before. So there will always be new designs and ideas for the future.
ONS: How do you think In Music We Trust will develop in the future?
AH: It would be nice to eventually hand over the brand to someone that I trust so they can give it their full attention. I never plan to sell the company, but it would be nice to have somebody to run it as their full-time job. I currently do it alongside so many other projects. It’s such an amazing cause but I obviously do other work so it doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves.
ONS: Finally, why did you choose Mind charity?
AH: When I first started the brand, I was considering a few different charities. ‘Mind’ was once of the charities but they didn’t have a department that specifically supported those with depression. So I eventually chose a charity called ‘Depression Alliance’. They were a great charity to work with and supported everything I did. In the August of 2016, ‘Depression Alliance’ actually got taken over by ‘Mind’, because ‘Mind’ saw that ‘Depression Alliance’ had the infrastructure to help those with depression. This meant the guys at ‘Mind’ now had a specific department that supported those with depression. So it made sense to make the transition once ‘Depression Alliance’ got taken over. ‘Mind’ have always done such amazing work, but now I had a real reason that connected to me.
Thank you very much Aiden for taking the time to chat to us. You can purchase the merchandise featured in this blog by clicking here.
Follow In Music We Trust on Twitter by clicking here.
Images credit Toolsie Photography’ (http://www.toolsiephotography.co.uk/)