They’ve met Dave Grohl, supported Pale Waves, and claimed Manchester as their own. Now, the British noisemakers are ready to get going again.
Back on the road and on track to dropping new music, Hot Milk’s Hannah Mee is amping up for a show at London’s infamous Koko. It’s been a while since the band and the vocalist is starting to feel the pressure. “I’m nervous about it! We’ve had a month or so two months off. I’m the kind of person who if it’s not right in front of me, my brain will go somewhere else,” she laughs. “I feel under-practised, but I also go off like instinct, so we’ll see what happens!”
For the latest instalment of our new music series, Queer & Now, we find out catch up with vocalist Hannah Mee in Camden to find out more about Hot Milk’s grand plans.
What does it mean to be an alternative Manchester band on the rise?
We were both in the music scene in Manchester and that’s how we met. I was putting on shows and he was working in the venues. It was a bit of a surprise for people when came out with music. We both weren’t born in Manchester, but this city is us. We know no other band that knows the city just like we do and it’s our home a
Jim and I were dating for four years before the band. He was my last boyfriend. He’s still my best friend and we went through a lot together. We lost someone and started writing together to get through the grief period. It wasn’t intended to go anywhere, but something new was coming out of it. Hot Milk was our way of staying in each other’s lives in a really prominent way because we weren’t ready to let go of each other. When people break up, they tend to never see each other again and we really didn’t want that.
Your artist bio states: ‘we want to invite you exactly as you are and unapologetically’. What does that mean to you and Hot Milk?
For me, growing up with a lot of people that came to me, when they wanted to come out, whether they were trans, gay, or whatever, I didn’t know why they always did that. I’ve guided maybe four or five of my friends through the transition process. I’ve seen their pain. I’ve seen how hard it is to go through that makes me upset. It’s really important to me to be able to say to people ‘I love you, fucking come here!’ I don’t care like come to my house. There are not a lot of places that are aggressively like and I also challenge people to come to our shows that aren’t on the same page as us. I think that’s the progress that we need.
How have you seen that sense of community during your shows?
Don’t get me wrong, my dad doesn’t get any of this shit, but he’ll come to the gig. It’s about everybody and we want to make an intentional space. It’s not somewhere necessarily for people that are ostracised by society. It’s also for those people who aren’t to have their minds expanded. We’ve got an intentional space for the people that are ostracised by society, but the people that don’t, walk out and go ‘well, why isn’t every place like this?’ I think that’s the important groundwork we need to change people’s minds in a positive way.
How would you describe Hot Milk’s current sound?
I wouldn’t say we were a pop punk. I think it’s easier to put us into that section of music. I come from really punk roots and found bands on my own. I started with Green Day and worked my way back to The Ramones, Joan Jett, The replacements and the Clash. What appeals to me about punk is that it’s not just music, it’s a whole way of life. It’s a question-everything approach and it actually made me go into a politics degree and a Master’s in politics. I wanted to understand the system in which we live and punk music made me do that.
Late last year, Hot Milk shared your new EP, The King And Queen of Gasoline. Since then, you’ve been teasing a new album. How’s the record coming along?
We have been working on our debut album and that’s a big thing. We’ve been putting it off for a while because we wanted to experiment a lot and figure out what we wanted – you only get one debut album and people hold you to it forever and ever. So, we want it to be right and we want it to feel like it was natural. We started in LA and we have been building the rest in Manchester. Some people are gonna love it and some are going to be like ‘Hot Milk, what the fuck is this?’.
We went to Sweden, because a lot of interesting music comes out of Sweden, and we were limited to what we can record at home by ourselves. We can record guitars and drums, but with vocals, it’s really hard to get a specific sound. James and I are good at writing songs, but we’re not very good at producing vocals. So, we went somewhere else and did that. But, the record will be really heavy in places, but it’s also really dancy and joyous. It’s a whole journey and, honestly, it’s like two things at one time, as is Hot Milk. Hot Milk is a juxtaposition itself, so it’s whatever I want it to be.“
Can we expect anything soon?
We are working on new music and this is the first time I’ve spoken about what that might be and some themes. We know what the first single will be, I know what it’s about myself but I’ve not fully articulated it yet myself. Essentially, there are themes about being a mess, and people thinking you’re not right, but so what? Lean into that and it takes away the power of anyone else’s opinion by doing so.
Whose that you know that you’re one person removed from?
I have a very well-connected manager, who knows lots of people. He’s been Foo Fighters’ tour manager for 25 years. He’s like a legend and got Brad Pitt in his phone. Not me, I’m from Preston! I don’t fucking know Brad Pitt. But, I met Pharrell once and he liked our band.
I was a bit wavy and my manager asked if I wanted to meet him — he’s got the smoothest face. He was like ‘I love your band’ and I went ‘do you want a jaffa cake?’ I was like so nervous I got stuck in like a brain loop and just kept offering jaffa cakes over and over again.
And, we have to ask, who else is on your dream list to meet?
Dave Grohl is a nice man. We’ve met him a few times when we’ve played shows with him. I’d love to meet Tommy Wiseau. I bet Taylor Swift would be a good night out. I reckon we’d have a good conversation.
Hot Milk’s EP, The King And Queen of Gasoline, is available to buy and stream now.