New Band of the Week: Hot Milk

Emo power-pop rockers Hot Milk may have only recently released their debut single, but they’ve already supported the likes of You Me At Six and Enter Shikari and are due to kick off a nationwide tour with Deaf Havana on Friday (15 March). Oh, and not content with that, they’re also booked in to play three gigs supporting Foo Fighters in August.

We caught up with the band to find out how the hell this has happened ahead of what’s set to be a whirlwind 2019. And vocalist Han Mee told us: “It is pretty insane isn’t it! I’m trying not to get carried away with it all if I’m honest. A show is a show in my mind but honestly, we’ve been working on Hot Milk for the last 18 months and getting all our ducks in a row before coming out the gate. I guess it’s a combination of writing what we think are a decent set of songs, preparation and having a really great team around us.”

To which fellow dual vocalist Jim Shaw adds: “We have been mates with them for a little while and they kindly asked if we would join them on this run with them. We love the band, me and Han jam them all the time in our flat so it was a no brainer! Can’t wait to see them every night and sing very loudly!”

The Manchester quartet, completed by bassist Tom Paton and drummer Harry Deller, met while working in the city’s music scene. As Han explains: “I was putting on shows and Jim was a lighting guy in the venues I was putting on shows in. We had both had bands end many times before and we were kind of getting on with our lives trying to work in some kind of music job but honestly it didn’t scratch the itch for either of us and we just couldn’t stop the need to write music. For me, being in a band is the ability to survive, I need to write to feel fine and it is the only thing I have ever felt like I was supposed to do.”

The band today released their second single, Take Your Jacket, which you can check out in the video below:

The Hot Milk sound combines pop-like melodies and hooks with big rocky choruses, of which our first taster was debut single Awful Ever After. It opens up with a burst of big rocky guitars, before Jim’s vocals give way to Han’s big catchy response. A catchy chorus follows with the singalong lyrics “You know I can’t stay sober, stay sober, Drowning in the memory of you, Feelings start to take over take over use me to misuse and abuse, ‘Cos I’ve got nothing to lose.”

A second chorus drops into repeating riffs then builds into high0pitched spinning guitars over heavier chords then dual cries of “Stay sober” build the atmosphere in a rocky outro. Check it our in the colourful video below:

The musical inspirations behind the Hot Milk sound are pretty wide ranging. It takes in Jim’s love of everything from Architects to Ariana Grande through to Han liking “Literally everything ever” based on a strong punk foundation and growing up on The Ramones and The Clash.

As Jim explains: “Hot Milk for us is a culmination of everything we listen to. Think strong rock choruses with poppy hooks and a melody that won’t leave your head and you’re not far off. EARWORMZ.”

And on what inspires their music, Han tells us: “LIFE. A lot of this first record is about not feeling very alive or like you’re actually living your life. For a long time, I was on the wrong path and kind of being swept with it. Obviously love and breakups is always a good one to delve into but honestly a lot of what we’ve written about in this first record is not about the break up and ending of a romantic relationship, but the ending of professional ones and the struggle against yourself in the bigger picture of what you want from life.

“Saying that though, a lot of what we’ve written lately is verging on observations and political. My degree is in politics so I’ve always said I’d love to write a political record.”

In addition to the small matters of supporting Deaf Havana and Foo Fighters you can also catch Hot Milk at Download, Reading and Leeds Festivals and The Great Escape. More info on all their upcoming gigs is here.

They’ll also be releasing their debut EP Are You Feeling Alive? on 3 May, so it’s safe to say you’re going to be hearing a lot from them this year. You can pre-order the EP now here.

As Han says: “I think the thing to take away from us is that we are here to do our thing and have fun doing it. We have both been pretty down in the dumps the last few years and this band has been what saved us both. We have nothing left to lose and we’re ready to just fucking do this shit and anyone who wants to come have fun with us is welcome to. Open door policy with us, the more the merrier.”

You can follow Hot Milk on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify and YouTube.

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