May 23, 2022

INTERVIEW: Hot Milk

"We just want people to let go, and all our songs are a vessel for that ability to have a little bit of chaos for one night. We stand for chaos; kind chaos is essentially what we’re all about."

Hot Milk are an emo power-pop band from Manchester. Formed in 2018, they’ve been taking over the scene with their dark lyrics, fun melodies and energetic live shows.

After a few missed tour dates due to health reasons, Hot Milk are back on the road with Pale Waves. Jim Shaw and Han Mee formed their band with one main aim in mind: playing live shows. So naturally, Vanguard Online spoke to them about tour life, as well as their latest EP I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD and their plans for the future.

VO: How are you guys?

Han: Not too bad! We’ve been off tour for about a week but we’re back so we’re feeling alright.

VO: What’s happening with all the rescheduled dates?
Han: Jim lost his voice for a few days and then Heather [from Pale Waves] lost her voice. We’re restarting the tour and adding the missed dates to the end so it just means the tour will have lasted for a month!

VO: Are you having fun?

Han: We were having fun until we came home in the middle of it! You get in a different mindset when you’re on the road and then suddenly you gotta come home and it’s like, what the fuck? I didn’t have enough food in the freezer, I had no milk in!

VO: You just weren’t ready to be at home yet!

Han: Not at all. My cat wasn’t even here, and my girlfriend was away so I was like, “Well, just me on my own is it?”

VO: Is this your second tour since the pandemic?

Han: Yeah, we did the headline tour in September and then we did a random show at the O2 with McFly.

Jim: But there’s a hell of a lot more to come.

Han: We have a very busy year, I’m looking at the schedule like, “When do we write an album in this?”

VO: Do you have any tour essentials or rituals or anything like that?

Han: I’ve been taking incense on tour.

Jim: Candles!

Han: I started taking a 35mm camera with me for memories.

Jim: And a little massage gun. I’m getting older now so after a show I just do the back of my head. And we’ve got a song that we sing before we go on stage, it’s a ritual.

Han: It’s a big part of the tour!

Jim: Basically, we’ve got this inside joke about loving Wigan.

Han: It’s very hard to explain to people, private jokes are always hard to explain.

VO: We love an ironic obsession! Let’s talk music. I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD feels heavier and darker lyrics-wise, would you say that was a conscious decision or is it something you don’t even agree with?

Jim: We’ve always been dark people.

Han: I think the first EP is not necessarily who we were. I think it’s what we wrote and just put out, but we are darker people. We naturally go heavier sometimes, [Jim] does especially, and I have to bring him back. So yeah, we like to flirt with that, we flirt with a lot of things. I think this next record is a bit more straight rock, it’s not necessarily heavier but it’s darker in some ways. Lyrically, they’re the best lyrics I’ve ever written and the guitar parts in this record are some of the best guitar parts Jim has ever written.

Jim: There’s things that we wanna do this year that we couldn’t have done with the first EP.

Han: It’s like a build-up, isn’t it? I think as an artist you never feel like you’re fully representing yourself and you’re always a bit frustrated about how things come out.

VO: What was the writing process like?

Jim: It was pretty stressful! We wrote the last EP in lockdown, and it was hard enough. We did everything in my bedroom, and I produced it all myself and we got to this one and we hadn’t really gone anywhere or done anything, we had a couple of gigs here and there but we were really struggling for experience. We were like, “What do we want to write about?”, I don’t wanna write about the pandemic because that’s just really dull and done.

Han: And then we just started writing about how we were feeling.

Jim: Then we started thinking of ideas like, “What if we turned this into a story?”

Han: So basically, it’s a concept rock opera record. It’s quite a big thing to do on not much money for your third EP and I’m like, “Have we gone too big before the album?” but I don’t believe in holding stuff back for an album. If you’ve got it now, let it go because you can always write something better later. We know what we have to do this year in terms of shows so we’re like, “Let’s fill those rooms” rather than feeling like we can’t take them on. Fill the rooms with the songs and feel like we deserve to be there because I think the songs sometimes can hold you back.

VO: So you wrote the next The Black Parade, basically.

Jim: It was one of the records that we looked like and thought that it’s something we wanted to do, but it’s a very big thing to even challenge.

Han: You could probably say My Chemical Romance are a massive influence in all our stuff, but I think we’ve done it in a Hot Milk way. You can definitely hear a lot of Queen in there too and Green Day and Foo Fighters but at the end of the day it’s Hot Milk at its core.

VO: What are Hot Milk’s plans and goals for 2022?

Jim: Play a load of shows all around the world.

Han: Play every country that we can. We’re going to a lot of countries for the first time ever, it’s gonna be a very beautiful thing and it’ll help with our confidence.

Jim: The whole reason we started this band was to play live and the fact that we haven’t been able to do that properly for two years has been really difficult. As much as we understand that living online is important and you can reach fans through that, we wanna go and see people.

Han: We all love a party, we’re all about the fuckin’ show. That is when we fly, that is when we’re the happiest and that is what’s at the centre of Hot Milk’s universe. I’m a party person and to be able to host our own party is essentially the dream. We just want people to let go, and all our songs are a vessel for that ability to have a little bit of chaos for one night. We stand for chaos; kind chaos is essentially what we’re all about.

You can party with in the following dates:

01/03 O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
03/03 The Limelight, Belfast (SOLD OUT)
04/03 The Academy, Dublin (SOLD OUT)
05/03 O2 Academy, Glasgow
06/03 O2 Academy, Sheffield

Don’t miss out!

Listen to Hot Milk’s latest EP, I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD, out on every streaming platform.