MUSIC INTERVIEW: HOT MILK
The saying goes there’s no point crying over spilt milk, but what can be said about Hot Milk? Epic shows, exciting releases, future projects and leather pants stick out to us. Bring The Noise got to sit down with Han Mee and Jim Shaw ahead of their time on the road with Pale Waves to see how they’re changing the game in 2022.
How has your latest release been received?
Jim: It’s a weird one. We released it during a pandemic so we weren’t able to tour it properly or do anything other than put it online. It’s more often than not that you see the people that don’t like it. But, being able to go on that first headline tour and hear everyone sing it back, see people. We did everything ourselves so it was really difficult to engage people and tell if the songs were good. Like, is this the right thing to do? What the f**k am I doing with myself?
Han: No one tells us if the songs are any good or not. Management doesn’t go, “this is a great song!”, they’re just like “cool”.
J: When would you like it out?
H: We don’t know if it’s good until people listen to it and also, you don’t know if people are lying to you. You write all these songs, you do it all, you produce it yourself, you put all this effort into it but people might just be like ‘we’ll just tell them it’s good because they put so much work in. Someone just tells me if it’s sh*t!
J: By the time we’re done with it, we’ve listened to it like one hundred, thousand times to we love it and hate it. Either way, I think it’s been taken in well.
H: There is a couple of songs that haven’t been mixed like I wanted them but I think, ultimately, the ones I’m most proud of are the ones people are connecting with. As long as people are finding meaning the way we wanted them to and even ways we didn’t if someone finds meaning in it that I didn’t necessarily think of then go for it.
Hot Milk is dominating Spotify right now! You’re on eight official Spotify playlists. What’s in your daily cycle?
J: That’s a good question!
H: A lot of jazz at the moment. Tom Misch, I’ve been listening to recently.
J: For me, I’d say a lot of country.
H: We don’t listen to a lot of our peers. We’ll always listen to new songs coming out and message to say ‘’Cool song!”. I have such a broad music taste. I love house music, love drum and bass, soul. Slow Thai is one of my favourites!
J: My last five is Hardy, he sounds like he loves rock and metal but plays country, it’s sick. I’ve got Cory Wong and Dirty Lukes which is just a crazy fusion kind of incredible musicianship. Daisy-Brain is wicked, I’ve got him. Nothing But Thieves, a lot of that at the moment and Chelsea Cutler.
H: My Spotify Wrapped for years now has always had Adele. My and my mum went to watch her and I think that’s a special artist for me because of the connection it has to my mother.
You guys are also crushing it offline with several festivals lined up! Slam Dunk, So What? BottleRock. What would you say are your festival essentials?
H: I’m a big fan of a baby-wipe shower. We did a lot of festivals when we were younger and I’m not proud of it but when you were 15 years old you would take a twelve-pack of Stella and some Ketamine.
J: Me and my mates had two boxes of wine but you take out the bag, it’s called a goon. So, what we used to do is get string and tie it to each of our hands and each of the goons. So when you pass out at night you just pull on the string and there’s the goon. When you’re finished, you can blow it up and use it as a pillow.
Hot Milk are joining Pale Waves for the rest of their UK tour and in a recent post, you teased at a new era of music. Is there anything you can tell us right now?
H: Bit more rock n’ roll, bit riffier, bit more anthemic, big songs. It’s a rock record, rock opera with a six-part story, characters and narrative. It’s quite a lot to chew on for an EP but f**k it, we had the audacity.
J: Concept. The label came to us and said ‘you need an EP’ and we’ve gone ‘how about all this?’ And they’re like ‘oh f**k!’. Right now we’re like, can we do a comic, can we do four videos at once?!’
Are we allowed to dive a bit more into the comic? Will we keep that off record?
H: I don’t know, f**k it. I can’t keep secrets anyway.
J: There’s one written, let’s put it that way.
Hot Milk has done so much in the three years you’ve been together, you’ve covered so much ground. What are some of the highlights?
H: I think, the headline tour that got pushed back like three times was a big one because we only toured for a year. We toured in 2019, then we ended up inside longer than we had been in a band so it was kind of the rejuvenation of like we are in a band, we are musicians. You kind of forget your identity for a bit. So, that September tour was a real triumph and connection with those that’ve been there for us. I genuinely feel that everyone in that room is very much like family and just talking about it makes me cry again, stop it. It felt like all the hard work, all the tears, came to a point where it was worth it.”
J: On top of that with Covid, it’s like is there going to be a big drop off? Is the tour going to get cancelled? A lot of energy, money, time and a lot of tears has gone into it. It’s always the uncertainty, that’s the hardest thing about being in a band. One day you could be here and the next it could all be taken from you. It’s terrifying but it spurs you to live in the moment.
Who inspires Hot Milk’s fashion?
J: I think it changes from era to era. I say eras, we’ve only been around for what? Three years. From when we started, we’ve grown and come into ourselves a lot more so it kinda changes season to season.
H: Definitely what makes you feel powerful, what makes you feel good. I feel most at home in a nice pair of leather pants right now so that’s what I’ll be wearing. It means I can play a gig and go to a cocktail bar after, don’t have to get changed!
J: It also means that when she’s sat in the van they just make squeaky noises, she couldn’t sneak up on anyone.
H: Yeah, there was a group of people in the corner who turned around and started to laugh so I was like “are you laughing at my pants? What are you laughing at my pants for?!”. I’m either wearing leather pants or nothing at all, most of the time I just walk around in my underwear because I feel more comfortable with no clothes on. They’re well used to seeing my flaps at this point, aren’t they?
H: Anyway, clothes are clothes. What makes you feel nice.
What can we expect from Hot Milk this year?
J: Mental breakdown.
H: Trust me, that has already happened. I think this year Hot Milk will come into their own a bit more.
J: New music and lots of f**king shows all over the place.
H: I think what I go through is being severely over-confident but the next day feeling like absolute shit and having no confidence whatsoever. It needs to level out a bit more and with this new record, we can take a lot of confidence from it. These are big songs, written for stadiums, written for life. We want to be headliners at Reading and Leeds in ten years and that’s what we’re going to do.
Interview by: Mya Brown
Hot Milk’s latest EP I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD is out now via Music For Nations, available HERE.
See Hot Milk live at one of the following dates:
Fri 27th – ARLINGTON – So What Music Festival
Sun 29th – NAPA VALLEY – BottleRock
Fri 3rd – LEEDS – Slam Dunk North
Sat 4th – HATFIELD – Slam Dunk South
Sat 18th – TUTTLINGEN – Southside Festival
Sun 19th – SCHEEBEL – Hurricane Festival
Mon 27th – BIRMINGHAM – Villa Park*
Sat 2nd – LONDON – London Stadium*