An Interview With HMLTD
On Thursday night, only an hour or so before they were due on stage at The Magnet, I spoke to James from HMLTD about band inspirations, their upcoming tour, and their plans for the rest of 2017.
Jess: How was the soundcheck?
James: Pretty standard, pretty boring. What’s involved in a soundcheck is you just turn up and play a little bit, rearrange your monitors and then you go. It’s one of the down points of the job, waiting around for soundchecks.
Jess: I know you played in Liverpool last November at EGBGS, how does it feel to be back?
James: We really like Liverpool, I’m currently walking past the bombed out cathedral and we’re playing at The Magnet tonight just up that road. We like Liverpool, the people are extremely friendly, far more friendly than London, almost too friendly. We’ve only been here twice but had a good reception both times, which is really good to hear.
Jess: I feel like this is the first day of the tour isn’t it?
James: Yeah it is, it’s a broken up tour, not a straight block of dates. We have Dublin tomorrow, Manchester after that, then going home for a couple of days, and then back out again. I prefer it as I don’t like being out in the van everyday- it’s quite nice to have a few days off.
Jess: So have you got any plans for this tour? How did it come about?
James: Well we see every tour as an opportunity to expand and get out there. I think the last tour we did was our first ever tour or the UK, and this is the second I suppose. We really like it, we love coming up North especially because the crowds get into it much quicker than the Southern crowds. I think they’re more open and receptive, whereas the Southerners are a lot of chin stroking, a lot of folded arms.
Jess: From what I’ve heard if you go to a gig in London, if it’s for a smaller band that no one’s really heard of the crowd is a lot edgier.
James: Its brutal! If there even is a crowd.
Jess: Where about would you say is your favourite place to play?
James: Other than London, we like Liverpool, we had a great time in Manchester and Glasgow. We’ve never really been anywhere where we haven’t been welcomed or enjoyed it which is quite a blessing. I’m sure our day will come.
Jess: This year so far you’ve done a few festivals and released 2 singles, do you have anything else planned for the rest of the year?
James: We do! We’re releasing a single, don’t want to put an exact date on it but we’re thinking in about a month’s time.
Jess: Can you tell me anything else about it? Or is it all hush hush.
James: I can tell you it’s called Proxy Love, it has a B side as well but we’ve not decided on it yet.
Jess: I like how you’re the sort of band that when you release a single you do release a B side- so you get 2 tracks.
James: We like the fact that you can create a bit of contrast between them. When you’re releasing 2 songs at the same time you can create something a little more inclusive. We’ll always make a B side, sometimes the B side is better than the A side- we had that with our first single.
Jess: How did you all meet?
James: We met in London. In various ways, we didn’t all bump into each other at one point. That would be very coincidental and quite unbelievable. The French guys in the band had a band back in Paris and they were together. Then we were all just in London and just bumped into each other one by one. We like the way each other dressed and looked, then we happened to come together. It’s not been the same line up as day one, but it’s working.
Jess: Would you say as a band, you prefer writing/recording or performing live?
James: I think we enjoy both, I personally prefer recording and writing. But to get noticed you have to be a good live band before you record anything. And where we’re coming from it’s a powerful live show.
Jess: Who would you say is your inspiration as a band, I know South East London has a presence with Goat Girl and a few other bands.
James: Yeah we’re friends with Goat Girl and the whole of the South London scene. In terms of inspiration and the current scene- not talking in terms of Goat Girl and Shame because they’re contemporary. But the scene we use normally has been due to more of the negative influences. It’s quite dull like in terms of brown trousers, and I think we saw that and thought about when you come to a gig it can get quite boring quickly if you go to a lot because they’re all quite similar. It can get a bit monotonous. So, not that we necessarily did it to stand out as such but we did it because we felt there was a bit of a hole to be filled.
Jess: How did the band name HMLTD come about?
James: We used to be called Happy Meal Ltd but we don’t think that name really represents us anymore so the initials are meaningless. They don’t stand for anything and just happen to be the same initials as it. You can fill them in with whatever you want.
Jess: What bands/artists are you listening to at the moment?
James: Its more artists in general, not necessarily bands, I think there’s a lot of very inspiring visual art going on in London at the moment. Jenkin Van Zyl he’s fantastic, he’s directed on a couple of our music videos but his own work is much better. The thing I like about it is its very violent but there’s no gore in there, there’s a lot of suggestion of violence but no actually violence. The way he does soundscapes is very interesting. Charles Jeffery is a great new fashion designer. In terms of music I would say there’s a band called Pixx, whose led by this girl called Hannah, we’re playing our show with her tonight, she’s fantastic. I highly recommend anyone to check those out.
Jess: Finally, if you could describe HMLTD in one word what would it be?
James: You know what im not sure I could. Let me just go ask the rest of the band. Phantasmagoric, Futuristic, Skeptical.
Click here to read the review of HMLTD’s amazing gig at The Magnet.
HMLTD’s most recent music video for their track Satan, Luella and I is available to watch now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdV9qhvE1jE