MUSIC INTERVIEW: Hot Milk
Manchester’s Hot Milk are a band brimming with sheer force, delivering high octane alternative-rock-meets-mainstream-pop driven by big riffs, big choruses and equally bigger amounts of upbeat energy. Their debut EP Are You Feeling Alive? demonstrates this, headed up by Han Mee and Jim Shaw’s flair for lifeful pop hooks. Having toured with the likes of rock royalty Foo Fighters and UK favourites You Me At Six, Hot Milk have grown in confidence, charisma and volume ever since. On the brink of releasing their brand new EP I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD and with a UK tour to follow, we spoke to co-vocalists/co-guitarists Mee and Shaw backstage at the Download Pilot event, discussing their excitement for the new era of Hot Milk, the decision to release another EP and more.
So Han and Jim, over the last few days there has been a lot of big news in the Hot Milk camp including the release of the band’s latest single, announcement of an upcoming EP and September tour. Are you looking forward to this new era of Hot Milk?
Han: I feel like it’s a bit overkill at the moment, like here is another thing we are putting out and here is another. We are just super lucky to be busy and have people supporting us and getting to see them in real life, tell them and show them in person that’s all we want to do.
Jim: We are like excitable children at Christmas just wanting to show our parents everything we have done at the moment.
Starting off with the upcoming EP I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD, set for release 10th September 2021. How is the second EP going to differ from your debut Are You Feeling Alive? It seems like this new one leans lyrically into the sorry state of the world and how we all exist so downtrodden by it all.
H: The debut was the first four songs we ever wrote, so we had no idea what we were doing. We kind of just did it as a bit of a joke. They are just not a representation of us anymore, whereas these new songs are a bit more thoughtful of how we want to sound and also what we want to play live. There are songs we have written in the past which we don’t even want to touch ever again. There is a lot of diversity on this EP, every single song is different, we have everything from drum and bass to songs that have more of an 80’s vibe. Music is whatever you want it to be and anyone who says it’s not is a liar.
J: The first EP’s song came out two years after we wrote them. The old songs are just not a good representation of us, whereas these ones we sat on throughout the entirety of lockdown absolutely smashing them to pieces saying do we like this part, do we like that part. We are super happy with what has come out and it’s really the breath of the Hot Milk sound.
Was there a particular reason behind opting to drop another EP instead of an album? Was it just a case of relishing in the freedom of being able to turn around an EP release quicker than an album, given that a lot of music now is being released this way?
H: Not at all, I think we just want to experiment more first before committing to the full-length. I think we want to figure out who we are and we just want to be in the right mind frame for that. The debut album is important, it sets the scene and it’s got weight to it and for us, we want to have a full on album that has the best material we can do and I just don’t think we are there yet. We will probably do another EP after this one.
J: We are still a young band and we are getting closer to what we want to do, but I don’t think we can sit down and write ten tracks we want to put our flag in yet.
You recently released title track I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD, a song that feels designed with the live show in mind, with its catchy choruses and heavy energy. Can you even begin to think what it’s going to be like bringing this new track out to Download today, given that you are opening the main stage?
H: I think this song is about living every single moment for yourself. We are here for a temporary amount of time, we are here because we got given this space for one time so we may as well try and do whatever we can and this song is about that. It’s about grabbing all those things and going, you know what, today I am going to pull a sick day off work and go to the Download Festival.
J: We are opening with that song as well today. I think it represents the anger and frustration and just pure emotion everyone has had for the past year.
Speaking of live shows and just to round off, there is an upcoming Hot Milk tour on the horizon this September, as well as a festival appearance at Reading & Leeds. Seeing as Hot Milk have supported Foo Fighters and You Me At Six before, how are you feeling about stepping out as the headliner?
H: That’s the thing, this tour has been pushed back and pushed back and if we are going to come back we are going to do it big. I think it’s really interesting only ever playing big support tours, because you don’t ever feel like what you are doing is working. I love being a host, whether its being in the band or when I’m at home, I love being a host to people, so I think hosting our own gig with our own people is going to feel amazing
J: We have waited for this for so long, because this tour has been pushed through to this year. We never had our own space on those support tours to connect with our people and we are still yet to come to shows and see the people who care about what we are doing, so this tour will allow us to do that.
Hot Milk‘s new EP I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD is due for release on 10th September 2021 via Music For Nations, available to pre-order HERE.
See Hot Milk live at one of the following dates:
Wed 8th – GLASGOW – Cathouse
Fri 10th – MANCHESTER – Academy 2
Sat 11th – BIRMINGHAM – O2 Institute 2
Sun 12th – LEEDS – Key Club
Tue 14th – NOTTINGHAM – Bodega
Wed 15th – CARDIFF – Clwb Ifor Bach
Thu 16th – LONDON – O2 Academy Islington
The band will also be performing at Reading & Leeds Festival in August.