By Kate Waldock
Aitch is the biggest name in the UK right now. With Strike A Pose, Taste [Make It Shake] and Buss Down, he’s pretty hard to miss. I sat down with him ahead of his recent Cardiff gig to chat about his upcoming plans, the slang he uses, and of course, the infamous Chicken Shop Date.
Aitch is chilled out and relaxed. I finally get to meet him after waiting for ten minutes for him to finish his Fifa game with his mates (no worries though, Aitch, I’ve had brothers, I know the drill). When we sit down he doesn’t seem nervous about the upcoming gig. I would be, having seen the hordes of fans waiting since 5pm outside Tramshed.
Talking to him was different to interviews with other artists, and that may be because he is literally the same age as you and me. When I asked him what it was like, all he could do was shake his head and disbelief and say ‘yea it’s a mad one’. He seemed both excited and yet relaxed into his role as a successful rap artist, playing to hundreds every night. This is an artist who had been touring for weeks, and in and out of interviews across the country. I had to come up with something new to ask him.
I had to ask him what ‘buss down’ meant. After all, it is the title of the song he wrote with his tour support, ZieZie. I was slightly disappointed to learn at first that it literally means; to ‘get the bus down’, but also, in Aitch’s words, ‘it also means… (insert pause where he asks whether he can say it without being inappropriate)… he’s gonna give her a good beat’. I’ll let you decipher what he means by that. This phrase is layered though, because it also means ‘something with diamonds in it’.
Aitch comes from Manchester, a bastion of indie culture and music, spanning from Joy Division to the Courteneers. Asking him whether he felt a pull toward the music that had appealed to the various other Mancunian artists, he replied that he’s ‘not really [into indie music]’. Dedicated to his craft, Aitch says ‘I just listen to rap you know. I do respect [indie music] but I wouldn’t play it in the car’. Perhaps Aitch is signalling the dawn of a new unstoppable era of Mancunian music.
His plans are big, and he’s not just going to stop at Aitch20. In 2019, Aitch worked with Ed Sheeran on a remix of the song ‘Take Me Back To London’, and he is keen to work with the international pop star again. When I asked him whether there were any other artists he’d enjoy working with (suggesting Billie Eilish), he said that he’ll ‘keep that one in [his] head’, so you’re welcome if that collaboration comes to fruition. He did say he is open to any kind of collaboration, if he enjoys the song; ‘I’ll do anything to be honest’.
As much as there are positives to quickly shooting to fame, new artists are also targeted by the classic tabloid media buzz, which sometimes leads to bizarre rumours. Aitch seems shocked himself, like he still can’t believe it; ‘it happened so quickly’. Last year it was spread across the media that Aitch had died, to which Aitch confirms ‘Nah, I didn’t die… I saw this thing like, Aitch has been shot, and I was like, nah, I’m still here’, Aitch is grinning at the rumour. So, before any Avril Lavigne style conspiracies start to pop up, I will confirm that Aitch does not have an exact lookalike who has taken over his career.
Before our time was up I had to ask him about the infamous Chicken Shop Date. Aitch’s relaxed attitude and easy conversation almost made me forget I was talking to someone who had reached stardom within a year. So I had to ask, for the good of the fans; ‘Is everything you said in that interview true?’, to which he responded; ‘yea, 100% true’. I was cynical about that looming question that had caused a stir throughout his fan group. I pushed the boat out, and asked about that question. He laughed, and said ‘oh right, no, that’s not true. I have restarted. I’m classing myself as a virgin again.’ I did point out that once it’s gone, its gone, but Aitch is playing the good guy, saying that ‘I’m trying to stay off the radar, be a good boy now’.
Finally, I asked him what his plans for the future are. At some point in the next year, he may be looking to make a new album, but he did say that there will definitely be ‘more music’. He said that he is ‘recharged, ready to go in and just smash it and get as many tunes out [as he can this year]’.