It’s release day for London four-piece Weird Milk, but what is ‘Honey, I’m Around’ all about?
From the opening moments of your debut ‘This Close’ to the closing bars of ‘Honey I’m Around’, how far have Weird Milk come sonically?
I think it’s clear that the way we play our instruments, interact with one another and write our songs has greatly matured with time. Persistence and deep faith in ourselves, despite many a setback, has allowed us the space to learn and build on what we’ve always had. With no discredit to our old songs, which we still hold dear, we have definitely honed the way that we approach structuring a song’s arrangements and making records. It’s great to look back and reflect on how our entire team has grown and grown over the years; we’re in a really good space these days. I think that this newfound optimism, coupled with our lifelong ambitions to be real-life musicians, shines through most clearly in our latest work.
Some things haven’t changed, the honesty, the emotion and those beautiful harmonies. In such dark times, where do you find the light for the positivity that Weird Milk projects through its music?
I [Alex Griffiths] can only really speak for myself when I say that I have always been a very emotionally aware person; being generally very empathetic and tending to linger at the extreme poles of the emotional spectrum. This is great for songwriting, sure, but Weird Milk was never really a place to croon about how sad we may be, and more about how we can strive to get the best out of life, out of people… We want justice and we want people to be happy and at peace in themselves and with each other, and to enjoy everything. Of course, life just is a constant fluctuation between good and bad, happy and sad, but if nobody is positive, then everything stops. Nobody wants that — so here we are. A current goal of mine is to write a song that makes everybody want to get up and really dance together, like ‘Let’s Dance’ or something. I’ll have to ask the others, throw some ideas into the mix.
What’s the story behind your new single ‘Honey I’m Around’? Why now, why this tune?
‘Honey, I’m Around’ was written around May ‘18, during a heatwave, and the members of the band at the time were based in Ealing, West London. Summer evenings saw the likes of Harry Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac and Marvin Gaye occupying the record player, soundtracking the scarce luxury of burgers and sausages, charring on disposable barbecues. The World Cup bets were in, and passions were high. But come on, let’s revive that 2018 spirit, this is what I’m talking about! Hopefully this song reaches out to people and makes them want to go for a drive, go (legally) fast, window cracked open, wind in hair etc. — Yes to romance, yes to sunshine and yes to smiles all around, baby. Absolute no to global warming though, we need to nip that in the bud…
What have you been listening to collectively as a band that inspires you to make new music?
Oosh, that’s a big one. To be concise, I would say we generally are really drawn to older music, that has stood the test of time, remained relevant and is just staggeringly beautiful. It really has to be saying something for it to get me. Charlie’s been listening to loads of of Bob Dylan and has always adored the Beach Boys, Zach’s always been really taken aback by Leonard Cohen and Fleetwood Mac, I’ve always loved The Velvet Underground, The Strokes and Radiohead. Different things deeply inspire us individually but then we have artists like Father John Misty, Alex Turner and The Lemon Twigs, to name but a few, who we’ve discovered together and listening to people such as these over the years has really given us new bursts of inspiration to get writing.
In your head, if ‘Honey I’m Around’ is being played on the stereo of any bar in the world, where would this be and what type of establishment would it be?
I would say that the song is versatile, and it was designed in conception and production to be both retrospective and modern in aesthetic, to suit modern radio and high fidelity sound systems of the now, but to retain that nostalgic warmth and denseness of your dad’s favourite, old record — that was the aim, anyway. I always imagine a car though…seriously, crank it, crack that window and tell me I’m wrong.
What has been your stand out moment in 2019 so far? What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
2019 has been such a wild year for us, and definitely our most successful. I said it before, but we are in a great place right now, surrounded by a lovely team that work as hard as, if not harder, than we do, and it keeps on growing! Releasing the song ‘Anything You Want’ and the Paris video was great, playing all of our best shows ever this year has been so satisfying, and the sustained support we’ve had all year has been amazing on all fronts. Thanks to everybody for that, truly. We’re playing TRUCK Festival on the This Feeling stage at 4:15pm, this Saturday (27th July), which we are very excited for, naturally. We then have our headline show for Jigsaw Festival at the Camden Assembly on the 7th August, which I urge everybody to come to, as it’s going to be our biggest one yet. We then have a mini UK tour supporting the lovely chaps, Trudy and the Romance in October. Also we’ll be releasing at LEAST one other new song this year. We’re veryyyy excited for what’s to come, and more of that will be announced in due course…we have super exciting news for early next year — a dream come true for us all. Watch this space.
Which artists for you are doing special things in 2019? Moving music forward and creating great art.
I’m a biggg fan of the Billie Eilish record. The production is ground-breakingly good. I loved the Trudy record as well, and it’s honestly even more impressive live — I would definitely implore you to go to a show and see what I’m talking about. I recently saw a band called Hummah at SET, Dalston (great venue), comprised of a few old friends of mine, and a guy called Oscar Brown on vocals/guitar. They blew my mind actually, the entire set was crafted to perfection, and the sound in that room was fantastic! Definitely ones to watch.
Is pop a dirty word? Explain.
I’d say that pop music was likely originally marred with the emergence of the independent market, which seemed to nullify its creative authenticity. It’s also such a broad bracket that it’s almost irrelevant to use when defining a genre nowadays; not that I believe we should be compelled to define our music into such brackets in the first place. I do however believe that, with the mass emergence of self-made artists-come-producers, crafting so-called pop music, the genre is actually more relevant and legitimate than it has ever been before.
By Karl Johnson