Over the past 12 months Manchester Emo-power pop duo Hot Milk went from quitting their jobs and moving back with their parents to follow their dreams that sent them full-throttle into the success of their current EP 'Are You Feeling Alive?'.
Their funky stylings of upbeat breakup songs have become hits amongst their audiences, with ‘Take Your Jacket’ and ‘Are You Feeling Alive?’ marching through the charts as empowering ballads that inspire you to live your best life, crafted by the duo talents of Jim Shaw and Hannah Mee who’ve opened up to us about the next record, the struggles of living their dream and their choice of murder song all at Leeds Festival 2019.
So, you guys have just come from touring with Foo Fighters, you’ve blown up in the past 12 months, you’ve got your own EP. Everything’s on the up, what’s that been like?
Han Mee (vocals & guitar): ‘The last 6 months for me have been the hardest six months of my life.’
Jim Shaw (vocals & guitar): ‘We’ve just riding that wave of one minute you’re up here in front of loads of people on huge stages and the next you’re at home with no money.’
Han: ‘I think as well because we quit our jobs as well to do this it was a big risk and we both moved back home to our parents. We’re at the point where are friends are buying houses and we’ve decided to do the exact opposite to live our childhood dream at 25.’
This is a great jumping off point because as artists there’s a lot that people think they know about you from living your life as famous musicians touring across the country, but there’s a lot of sacrifices you have to make. Could you touch on any sacrifice you’ve made in the past 6 months to get here?
Jim: ‘Actually having our own flat, having a well-paid job and affording to go on holiday.’
Han: ‘I had to get rid of my cat and we’ve sacrificed time with our friends and family as well.
Don’t get me wrong there’s some really amazing points of this and we’re so lucky to do it but I’ve still got family members that are like “what are you doing?” because they don’t get me or the music.’
Jim: ‘And colleagues in the music industry.’
Han: ‘Yeah, our colleagues, because I worked a desk job in the music industry for a bit and I was like “I just can’t do this anymore” and I remember the day I quit to do this I got so many people telling me I was an idiot. We had that external peer pressure that a lot of bands don’t have, no one did it the way that we did it. ‘
Well onto a more uplifting note, you’ve got a new EP 'Are You Feeling Alive?' Which could be described as a happy breakup anthem.
Jim: ‘It’s funny that people call it a breakup EP.’
Han: ‘Well it is a breakup, it’s a breakup with our old life. It’s about freeing us from those shackles of unhappiness, 'Are You Feeling Alive?' Is about questioning yourself and like are you really living life? Is this what you want to be doing?’
Speaking of that new era, you guys released a new music video for 'Are You Feeling Alive?' And it featured a milk box on fire, what’s happening next are we going see it submerged into lava? Take me on its journey.
Jim: ‘We were actually talking about music videos ideas, I think that was the plan. With the milk box in flames that was only chapter one.’
So, there’s a chapter two?
Han: ‘Well we’re going release two songs probably at the end of this year, like A/B sides that we wrote a year ago and we think it’s time to release them.’
Jim: We’ve kind of got an eye on a concept of what we want to do.’
Han: ‘We’ve got some new ideas for what we want to do with the record.’
Jim: ‘It’s different, it’s combining a lot of different genres into something new.’
Han: ‘Well here’s the thing, we’ve always said that Hot Milk is a project for us. We’re not a specific band we’re just a bit of everything so the full-length will have a Pop-song, a really heavy song, then there’s gonna be something else and something else. And people might not like some of it but that’s up to them.’
But in today’s scene I feel like the idea of “genres” is a big talking point, for example with band’s like Bring Me The Horizon people push for their ‘heavier’ sound. Do you ever feel that pressure as artists?
Han: ‘No! no, who cares? No not at all.’
Han: ‘We write these songs for us, obviously secondary we write them for the people that want to listen to us but for us we put our soul into it.’
Han: ‘You know who I really respect? Enter Shikari.’
Jim: ‘Shikari don’t give a shit, they just do what they want.’
Han: ‘Exactly! And that’s what we wanna do, put out what we’ve written cause its Hot Milk and cause that’s us. ‘
I saw your tweet today about still being in your PJ’s before going on stage, what is the process of getting here today? Give me the Hot Milk tour diary!
Han: ‘Haha everyone needs a poo constantly.’
Jim: ‘Oh my god the amount of times we’ve stopped the van is insane. But no we went to the HMA’s last night and then drove up to Tom’s dads house in Birmingham.’
Han: ‘We stayed at Tom’s dad’s house in Birmingham and we got in the hot tub at 2am. I was like’ I haven’t got time for a shower let’s get in the hot tub.
And then we drove up and I get ready when I get here, sometimes I’ll roam around naked backstage.’
Jim: ‘Oh, we are not ready until like, an hour before we get on stage?’
I feel like this is the most important question to ask two people like yourself, in the film American Psycho Christian Bale’s character kills somebody to a lively track from Huey Lewis & The News. If you had a murder track, what would it be? The catch is it can’t be heavy or scary!
Jim: ‘I already know mine! Tom Misch – Disco Yes.’
Han: ‘What would mine be? Maybe Carl Douglas - Kung fu fighting.’
Let’s finalize this interview with one simple question, what’s the next era for Hot Milk?
Jim: ‘Political fucking social commentary.’
Interview - Yasmine Summan