Interview: Hot Milk

in Interviews

If you’ve not heard about Hot Milk yet, consider this your introduction, because you’re going to hear a lot more about them.

Their first tour as a band was to support You Me At Six on their European dates at the start of this year, and they’re just going up from there.

I had a chance to sit down with Hannah and Jim before their show supporting Deaf Havana, at the Albert Hall. We talked puppies, busted zippers, tours, EPs and what 2019 is going to bring for them.

You guys have seemed to have popped out of nowhere! You started the year off by touring Europe with You Me At Six. How was that?!

Jim: It was fucking awesome

Han: Yeah a lot of people say that! It was awesome, but very stressful at first

Jim: The lead up to it was hectic. We got told just before Christmas, we had no songs out, and everyone had finished work for Christmas, so we couldn’t book any transport or any crew. We just had no plan. So I was sat on Christmas day doing a production plan!

Han: And I was practicing and just like ‘shit, shit, shit’. I was in Australia with my girlfriend and I was like ‘how do we do this?’. We had about two weeks to sort it all out.

Jim: And of course we didn’t know how well we’d go down in Europe, so we were a bit apprehensive.

They seem to have reacted really well to you guys, from what I see on social media.

Han: They did!

Jim: They were fucking wicked.

Han: In Prague and Warsaw especially. We’ve found that the European crowds have a certain looseness about them, they don’t care who you are, they’re just on board. UK’s different because people are shyer here, and more reserved.

Jim: Yeah everyone is super respectful here.

Han: But no-one is disinterested. You know we’ve had people singing our songs every night, which is weird.

Jim: And coming up to speak to us afterwards, saying that they loved our set.

Han: Yeah definitely, it’s just not the same kind of ‘losing their shit’ that we’ve had from Europe.

Despite the differences, both responses seem great. Going from ‘shit, what the fuck do we do’ to where you are now in what seems like months!

Han: Well the big thing for us is that we have been waiting in the wings for so long, like it seems to have popped out of nowhere for us, but for us it’s been the result of two years of planning.

Yeah, I was going to ask about the background because it wouldn’t be a case of just popping out of nowhere.

Han: We were both working in Manchester in music.

Jim: *gestures to Hannah* she was a promoter, I was in lighting.

Han: Those careers were our plan B. Plan A was always to be in a band and play music. We’ve been in different bands, and they didn’t work out, so we thought ‘well we’ve tried and they didn’t work out, so we might as well work with bands’. But we weren’t happy still, it still wasn’t scratching the itch, so we came together and started writing one night, over a bottle of wine.

Jim: Yeah, we got pissed and wrote ‘Take Your Jacket’ in about 25 minutes. I mean, we live together and we’re not working because we’ve put everything we have into this, so we can have an idea at 2 in the morning, and we can just start working on it together.

Han: Yeah, and because we know each so well. We’ve lived together since we were 22, so it cuts corners, like we argue all the time. I can say anything I want to him and it’ll be fine; I argue with him like I argue with my mum.

Jim: It just cuts so much bullshit out.

Han: You don’t have to be like ‘that’s a good idea, but..’ and then be nice. You can just be like ‘that’s shit, next’. And then he’ll be like ‘why are you being a dickhead?’, and I’m like ‘I’m not, I’m just trying to get the best out of us’. So we argue, but there’s a lot of love between us.

Jim: We just constantly push ourselves to be better.

That’s great, that’s the kind of dynamic you want.

Han: Exactly. And I never want to be without you *looking at Jim*. Like we live together for a reason.

So, how did the You Me At Six tour come about?

Jim: We were trying to find a tour then we thought we found one, then it fell through, and luckily our management know Josh really well, and our management played our music for him which he really liked. They hadn’t sorted out support, and our management said ‘well what do you think to this’, and You Me At Six were on board.

Han: That’s the thing, it’s been pretty organic. Every tour we’ve got, it’s because the band likes our music. They’ve listened to it and then gone ‘yep, let’s have you on’. Same with You Me at Six, Deaf Havana and Foo Fighters. They heard it and were like ‘shit, let’s get them on’. So it’s been really authentic.

Jim: That was a weird conversation. When our management were like ‘Dave Grohl likes your music, do you want to open for them?’

Han: We were like ‘….are you sure?’

Jim: Every conversation we’re having at the moment is ridiculous. We’re answering the phone and just laughing at all these things that keep coming in.

Han: We’re trying to not get lost in it, every shows a show. We’ve just gotta get on with it; it doesn’t matter if we’re playing to 80,000 people or 80, it’s a show and we always put everything we have into each one. All we want to do is enjoy what we do and have fun, and build our memories.

So, talking of memories, do you have any funny/interesting stories so far from tour?

Jim: Haha, well we got stuck in avalanche in Italy.

Han: Yeah we missed a show!

Jim: Yeah we missed the Munich show.

I’m assuming you weren’t physically under the snow?

Jim: No! It was just in front of us. We woke up and we were just stuck. We were stuck on bus for 48 hours. It was fucking long.

Han: We got aid from the local authority. They came with sandwiches and water.

Jim: We were on the bus with the other support band, and we just didn’t know what to do.

Han: I was in pyjamas all day, and everyone was like ‘how much beer have we got left?’

Jim: Everyone went into survival mode.

Han: I think most of our tour stories we’d just class as normal night out. Tom and I sometimes have a wine night where we do a bottle of wine each before we go on. Prague was one of those.

Jim: Yeah I went to a brewery, came back for the show and our guitar tech was just like ‘you’re shit-faced aren’t you’. Yes I am!

So is that the plan for tonight, considering you have the day off tomorrow?

Han: I mean, we’ve already started *holding up an empty glass*.

Jim: Yeah this is my second whisky.

Han: I can’t have any more after this though, because I need to see my mum!

So, plans for 2019? You’ve got Leeds and Reading.

Jim: Yep, we’ve got Download, Foo Fighters, Live at Leeds, Stag and Dagger. A few others that aren’t announced!

Han: Maybe July in America, with a band.

Jim: With a band.

With an unnamed band?

Jim: Yeah with a big, big band.

Han: A big band, a nice big band.

Sounds exciting!

Han: And then some bits and bobs in autumn

Jim: Yeah it’s turning out to be quite a full year!

Are you looking to release and EP or album?

Jim: Yes, so we have our pre-order available now called Are You Feeling Alive?That comes out 3rdof May.

Han: Yeah then after that we’ll probably release some singles.

Jim: Yeah we have a shitload of singles we’re sitting on.

Han: Yeah we have about 20 tracks we’re sitting on.

Jim: None of them sound the same either!

Han: Genre is a lie. This EP from ‘Awful Ever After’ to ‘Are You Feeling Alive?’ is just so varied. It’s the same sonically, and it ties together because it’s us, but it’s so varied.

Jim: Yeah the ending of ‘Awful Ever After’ was inspired by Architects, whereas ‘Are You Feeling Alive?’ is like Chainsmokers.

That leads me nicely on, I was going to ask about your influencers?

Both: Everything!

Han: Jazz, I listen to a lot of Jazz.

Jim: Sigrid, Architects.

Han: I love a lot of early punk music so The Runaways all the way through to The Replacements, Operation Ivy, anything from the bay area in the 80s I really love.

Jim: I grew up playing acoustic music, so like Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly. So our tunings are all open tunings.

It seems like you’ve got so many influences you can just take the best of them and make something new?

Jim: Exactly

Han: When we wrote these songs, we were like ‘what genre is this?’, and how do we explain it.

Jim: Especially as a dual-fronted band, female, male band.

Han: It just doesn’t exist, so we just called it emo powerpop. It’s whatever we want it to be.

You could call it death metal!

Han: Well, the latest track is like Billie Eilish meets Bring Me the Horizon! It’s got some breakdowns in it. But we could make another track that’s like Ariana Grande. We’ll put out catchy songs that are us. They tie together because it’s us. Like it’s you and me *gestures to Jim* doing it. Who cares, I’ve got nothing to lose!

So put yourself back in December, did you see yourself playing these shows so quickly?

Han: Yeah I did. I was like ‘if we’re going to do it, let’s do it properly’. I want to headline Leeds and Reading in 6 years’ time. I have to be confident because nobody else will be.

Jim: We’ve just got to keep pushing ourselves.

Han: Don’t get me wrong I’m so grateful for everything we’ve done so far.

Jim: Oh yeah, we are so grateful, but we do piss our management off because they’re like ‘we got you this’ and we’re like ‘that’s great, what’s next?’

Well you need that drive and that vision, because if you don’t have that, you won’t strive for the next big thing.

Han: Exactly, we are very driven and we have high expectations of ourselves, because we know what we can do. If we do it right, we can achieve what we want to achieve.

Hot Milk show no signs of slowing down, so keep an eye on these talented bunch!

Based in Central Manchester, but frequently found in other parts of the country in the name of live music. Otherwise, I am a departmental manager for a software company.

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