Hayden Gigner is the frontman and wordsmith for current Peterborough pop-rock titans, All in Colours, who decided from day one to make every day a party, every show an exhibition of fun, showcasing happiness with great visual displays and audible gold. At only twenty-four years of age, Hayden has had an extensive history with music and is one individual who truly oozes notes from his pores, and bleeds delay and reverb. He is the perfect person to conduct my first ever interview with.

Copyright of Danny "Sambuca" Ackerley, 2012: Source.
I first met Hayden when I was about fourteen in a local shopping centre, I can remember the exact spot too; Hayden was then the boyfriend of my best friend’s elder sister, and we had all congregated outside of Boots for some off reason. His towering presence, gangly physique and black army cap intimidated me, but he was kind, and sweet, and it never seemed a burden to trouble him with a question about music or tips with playing the guitar, which slowly blossomed into a respectful friendship and (one would hope, mutual) admiration.

A self-taught musician, Gigner has the ability to pick up any instrument and create magic; a well versed articulate, he began making music properly eight years ago. He used to quote Taking Back Sunday’s “Literate and stylish, kissable and quiet” when describing himself on social networking sites, but now let’s hear it in his own words…

How would you describe yourself to those who have never heard of you?
Emotionally invested, unapologetic, and girly. Pop music, sometimes, with some gutsy bits.

Milk and two sugars? What’s your brew?
Earl Grey, no milk, no sugar.

What got you into music?
My mum was into reggae, UB40, Chaka Demus, motown, and northern soul. My dad was into country: Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell. I don’t remember much of a drive to be a pop star when I compare that to things like the smell of the guitar (which turned out to be an antique) and the first lessons I taught myself about tone, really the basics of how to get a note out. But it was returning to those sensations that became an addiction and that meant I spent so much of my time since playing, rather than wanting to be a musician. 

You’ve been involved with many different projects over the past several years, from school bands such as Gunstar Heroes, touring with Silent Ground, playing festivals with Decades & Digital, to your new, current outfit, All in Colours, along with a feast of solo projects along the way featuring different styles: standard acoustic (‘Star’, ‘My Breath… Take It?’), folk (‘Time for Tea’, ‘Ballad of the Boy Who Cried Wolf’), emo-tinged rock (‘Ibiza’, ‘Beg Me to Leave’), to a most recent piano-pop-ballad-eqse sound (‘Evasive Manoeuvres’, ‘Love (Like it was in the Movies)’). You’re like Peterborough’s answer to David Bowie. But what do you prefer to do?
It really does depend on what mood I’m in or what day it is. I haven’t yet found a genre of music I don’t enjoy involving myself in. I think music is universal and for me it has always been about expression. Each genre allows for a different mode of expression. I love a chilled room with precision mic’d instruments where every note can be felt but I also love going nuts on stage where the hype from the audience overtakes the players. 

Any interesting stories along the way?
So many; being on tour especially is the most surreal experience. The road is such a romantic place. All the people that don’t fit in to the main hubs of society find themselves there, like moths and porch-lights. There was this one show where a troupe of acrobatic wrestlers invaded the stage and started throwing each other around. I met a facial gymnast once in Camden, who could fit his own nose in his mouth. 

What was school like for you growing up?
I’m sure it influenced me greatly in many ways but life started at sixteen for me.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life?
Honourable people and beautiful people, and I think honour is beautiful so I could have just said beautiful people but I can see how that could look a little shallow. Acts of love and genius, I look up to people who show them.

I remember, several years back, when we recorded ‘Glass Half Full’ at your old place in Bretton, we played it to your mother, and she straight away said that you could do better. I was shocked as I thought it was the greatest song to have ever been created - do you find she pushes you continuously?
I don't think she pushed me on purpose but when I wrote a song, I'd want to play it to whoever was around and my mum was just honest, which I appreciate. To improve you need to balance between being excited with what you create and acknowledging how you can evolve.

Would you say music runs through your blood?
You mentioned my cousin Ben, as in Ben Mackereth of Tu Amore. We certainly share something. As far as I know there haven’t been a huge number of musicians in our family. My mother played once, or so she tells me, but gave up after her counterpart in a duet bailed on a show and left my mum on stage on her own. She never played after that, and many years later that same guitar was handed down to me. I guess there’s a story there.

What would you say your influences are?
In terms of music: I already mentioned reggae, Madness, UB40, motown, northern soul, Michael Jackson, Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman hugely influenced me, Nirvana, VAST, a track by My Vitriol called ‘Always Your Way’. That really opened my eyes. InMe, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, Dashboard Confessional, Coheed and Cambria, Deftones, Poison the Well, 36 Crazyfists, a Wu-Tang Clan rarity called ‘Shaolin Style’. Hall and Oats, The Waterbuoys, I could carry on…

Do you have any non-music related influences that help you write and make music? Or even influence your way of life?
Anything that sinks in that deep I guess. Since all the music comes from that groove, that subconscious feeling. It’s a spiritual place so anything that affects me comes out in the work. I have a few political interests that sometimes thread through in lyrics but they are rarely the main point and they never overtake the passion of the other thing.

Is love a factor?
Love is, for me at least, the most natural thing to write about and for. There are some truths out there amongst all the science and religion and love, I have found has the potential to be one. 

How many people have asked you to write a song about them?
Not a lot. Including all the silly jokes, probably less than twenty.

My favourite lyrics by you include “The tip of the iceberg is the tip of the knife, cause whether you like it or not, you’ve been the love of my life” (‘The Proposal’, also reused in ‘The Firefly Song’), and “Climb into the most uncomfortable places just to get close” (‘Star’). What is the favourite set of lyrics that you’ve penned?
I like lyrics for different reasons. Sometimes you can say something simple and it’s effective and sometimes you fall in love with a few words because the syllables fit nice over the beat. Sometimes it’s a metaphor that gets you tingling or an image because you can relate to it. I wrote a song about desperate love entwined with the idea of an impending nuclear attack, like the feeling of utter abyssal decimation and the lyric was “Hide ourselves underneath the windowsill”, which was an image I remember from cold war public service broadcasts, and it sounds beautiful over the chords of the song even if it might not make any sense to a lot of people.

What is your writing process?
I write mostly when I’m busy with something else. I used to write a lot working behind the bar. I hear the songs in my head then later sat at the piano I’d work out what chords I was humming. I had written entire songs that way. If I try to write from scratch at home, I get nowhere.

What was the best show that you have played? What was your favourite?
Probably a home show. At the Park? I can't pick one. There’s always a good vibe in this town.

Do you enjoy performing live?
I do. I love the ritual.

Where is the weirdest place that you have played?
Maybe a time when Donny Tourette ordered us to play our whole set again at the Purple Turtle, in London.

Channel 4 approaches you and invites you to do a Come Dine with Me special. Who would your ideal competition be, and why? Whose house would you want to snoop around?
I’d love to have a chat with David Cameron and some other influential people, if not to straighten up a few things gone awry then just because I’m intrigued.

Turns out the Come Dine with Me special was a flop, and you end up eating a cheese and onion quiche with a glass of Buck’s Fizz at Dean Gaffney’s. What score would you give him?
Cheese and onion quiche isn’t my favourite and Buck’s Fizz isn’t my poison, but Dean seems nice. Unless the conversation was inspiring, a 7 would be generous.

What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Something involving food, I imagine. 

Why music? What does it to for you? What, to you, is the best thing about music?
Music is a different plain. In life, you breathe and speak and walk and talk and do things. When you play, and you really get into it you are just there in the music, it’s a totally different place and you are free to make whatever you want to happen next just happen. I call it ‘the groove’ but there are other names for it, but that’s the best part of music – the groove.

What have you been listening to as of late? Any unheard of artists we should be aware of?
I like Flo Rida. I also like Gotye. If you haven’t heard The Low Anthem then you should. And I recommend Bitch Alert.

Who’s your favourite member of KISS?
No comment.

Is there a film you wish you wrote the soundtrack for?
I would love to have a go at an original film score one day. Obviously Star Wars, Kill Bill, Enter the Dragon, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly come to mind.

With that said, who would you have play you if Hollywood came knocking (or, to be more realistic the National Lottery Trust x UK Film Council) in a film or your life story?
A well trained toucan.

They say that travelling broadens the mind. I understand you recently went travelling around Asia – how was that?
The world is rapidly getting smaller. I travelled there to learn a martial art from the monks that practice it and though where I stayed was still predominantly rural, the developed world is overtaking and some important knowledge is being buried underneath it. I am glad I was able to go when I did, and if commitments allow I plan to return in the near future to complete my training (like Luke Skywalker did on Degoba) before the tradition becomes too sparse to find on a reasonable budget. 

What’re your top five travelling, and touring, essentials?
The means to sustain yourself, whether that is a wad of cash or something you can make money with like a guitar, is all you need and you can go anywhere. Other than that, I recommend a telescope (the pirate kind), a hat (for when it’s hot and for when it’s cold, and when you need to put your head somewhere for sleeping and such), and the electronic game known as ‘Bop-it’.

What’s your favourite joke?
There are two fish in a tank. One says to the other: “To be honest mate, I don’t even know how to drive a tank”.

Do you have any advice for any budding, aspiring young artists out there that want to cut their teeth in this sort of field, and dedicate their lives to music? What wisdom can you pass on?
Do what you love. If you love music, do it all day, every day and one day you will be so good at it that someone will pay you to do it. 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Still doing this, I hope. I would love some radio play and to see a bit more of the world but the industry is changing. With things like Gangnam Style and The X-Factor floating around it’s impossible to predict what the next big thing will be. Maybe one day I’ll write one.

What’re you hoping 2013 has in store for yourself and All in Colours?
I am currently putting together an album, something that has been years in the making and something I am very proud of. It is likely I won’t go into the studio with it until later in the year, perhaps early 2014, so I won’t say much about it now. All in Colours will be recording again in February with the hope of putting together our first EP along with some music videos. Our other goal for next year is to shine some light on that in the press. We all believe that we haven’t yet discovered the best tunes we are going to create. It’s still a developing sound, and we’re working towards a niche.

I appreciate all the time Hayden has given me in order to complete this interview, and, if at all possible, my respect for him has again increased; I would like to thank him once more. Cards on the table, Gigner truly is pure talent and the most humble and modest human being I have ever met.

He not only deserves, but has earned, your respect and time – I guarantee you will not regret spending a few moments listening to a song of his, solo (he’s up on iTunes!) or band work. He is the most unrecognised and underrated, inspirational artist Cambridgeshire has seen in years. I fully back the work of this gentleman, and find it an outrage he is not more successful and known, let alone paid to make music for a living. He inspires me always and always leaves my jaw on the floor, and I know he will do the same to you if only you give him a chance.

I’m sure he also appreciates the fact I did not ask him what his favourite colour is.

Follow on links: You can read about his travels in China, by clicking the following link to his personal Tumblr: click here.

You can also view a fantastic performance by Gigner, helping him on his crazy journey, as he performs ‘Evasive Manoeuvres’ back in 2010: click here.

Exclusive: All in Colours have been incredibly generous and allowed me to upload an exclusive, brand new song, which they recently recorded, and is set for release later this year. Beautifully entitled ‘Inhale/Exhale’, the boys are back on form with a belter. You may have heard this performed live if you have had the good fortune of catching them play as of late, but now all can enjoy. I am eternally grateful for the chance to be the first to introduce you to this excellent track. Follow the link to download on MP3 format: click here.

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