Hot Milk have announced their debut album ‘A CALL TO THE VOID’ set for release 25th August 2023 on Music For Nations.
For some, it might feel like a long time coming but Hot Milk always knew that when the time came to make their debut album, they had to be ready for it. It will be their loudest statement yet of who they are and what they stand for, an opportunity to show the world what they are made of.
Tracks on the debut album walk on a tightrope between the humorous and the serious, brimming with what might be called positive nihilism. They’re not so much finding the light in the dark as they are laughing because if they don’t, they’ll cry.
Take the thunderous first single ‘HORROR SHOW’, which premiered withJack Saunders on Radio 1. “To those on the outside of the lives that we lead, we may look odd, scary and different,,, so what?.” states Han Mee. “In their eyes we may be damned, lost, rebellious, and less than. This song accepts that difference, embraces it and shoves it back in their faces. Built to be obnoxious and written to be purposely aggressive, Horror show combines our loves of drum n bass n dirty riffs. fuck it, where are who are like it or lump it.”
The band have blossomed over the course of three self-produced EPs, this constant stream of releases has meant that Hot Milk were never away from the spotlight – or the stages they call home. Their rise kept accelerating, taking them to stadium support slots with Foo Fighters, the main stages of some of the best festivals Globally, an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel in the US to tours with bands like Pale Waves and their own headline sold-out shows to over 50 million streams of the EPs alone. Crucially, however, they were giving themselves space to find themselves as artists.
The band recorded the album between Manchester, Los Angeles and Stockholm with the bands very own Jim Shaw at the Producing helm for the majority of the record, much like all previous releases. An element that has become so important to the band and allowing them to control just exactly what they want to be as artists.
Other tracks of the record like ‘Breathing Underwater’, is a song, in Jim’s words, about “feeling like you’re absolutely swamped, drowning in your own self-doubt,” which captures Hot Milk, and especially Han, at their lowest ebb.
“I wanted to run away. I felt like diving into the sea and never coming back up”. she explains. “I didn’t want to feel anymore – it was all too painful to feel. I felt like a failure but I also felt a lot of pressure and I just didn’t really know what to do or where to put that.”
Creating art from that darkness, however, turned out to be a silver lining. “We got a beautiful song out of it. “That’s why art is really important – it allows you to get all those feelings out there.”
That mindset also inspired the title choice. A CALL TO THE VOID is the English translation of the French phrase l’appel du vide, referring to the brain’s trick of spotting opportunities to die. It’s the eerie jolt that is felt when you stand waiting for a train and the thought that you could jump, and end your life in a heartbeat, intrudes in your head. It’s that brief moment of being reminded of the fragility of existence.
‘Party On My Deathbed’, meanwhile, fizzes with life but is ultimately powered by a sense of reckless abandon. “It’s the idea that you only live once, so you might as well live it to your absolute fullest,” begins Jim, before Han elaborates on the idea that wanting to party till you die might not just be celebratory but destructive.
“At the time that I was writing, I was becoming really involved in the underworld of Manchester and staying out till God knows what time in the morning. You don’t care anymore, you don’t care about yourself or what happens to you. You just keep going.”
Despite this, however, it’s characteristically tongue-in-cheek, with a proudly British sense of humour too inspired by some of the band’s more left-field influences. “Some of the older Slowthai and AJ Tracey lyrics are quite clever in the way they use very British slang, with twisted metaphors around everyday British life,” says Jim. “That’s kind of like what we’ve explored.” The more alt-pop inspired ‘Bloodstream’, meanwhile, was made for creating moments on the big stages the band have always aspired to reach.
The most important thing for the band, however, is that these songs are written to scream from the speakers of the stage, and for their refrains to be screamed back at them by the adoring, tight-knit community they’ve built. “Live is where I’m happiest, live is where it’s home,” says Han. “We wrote songs with the intention of people going off, making you feel good, opening the pit up, letting go, crying, getting on your mate’s shoulders. It’s church for us.”