In The Middle with HMLTD
Having just been nominated by Q magazine as best new breakthrough act, selling out Scala in May, and their most recent single already hitting almost 123,000 plays on Spotify, it’s no wonder that HMLTD are the band on everyone’s lips. With their style just about as wild as their shows, Sarah Oglesby caught up with frontman, Henry, and guitarist, James, to talk about festival season, style inspirations and their up and coming gigs.
Your sound is quite indescribable, but how would you describe it?
James: I think, I think we represent the age of Spotify, and the age of streaming music illegally. In the way that we’re not, like every young person in the UK at the moment, they’re not restricting themselves to listen to one kind of music, because they are able access to everything to something that was released yesterday and something that was released like 50 years ago. I think that’s what’s reflected in the music that’s coming out at the moment.
Henry: You don’t get people who just like one genre anymore, that’s what you had in the 80s and the 70s, now people listen to everything. They listen to trap, they listen to 50s rock and roll, they listen to everything. And I think that’s what’s reflected in our music, it’s a sort of generation which has a very broadly spanning taste.
What kind of artists inspire you as a band?
Henry: Jenkin Van Zyl. He’s a big artist who has had an influence on us.
James: Hes a video artist from London. He does some fantastic videos where they are very violent, you feel very disturbed when you watch them, but there’s no gore in their at all. Its all kind of represented in very clever ways. We really like him.
You have quite a different and unique dress style. Who are your fashion influences?
Henry: I wouldn’t say it’s that different, I mean how we dress is something that’s largely been done before. You can point to club kids, you can point to new Romanticism. So, again, certain current designers- Charles Jeffry has a big impact on how we dress, but really we just try and dress how we like.
Your band name is HMLTD, where did that come about?
Henry: They were letters that always quite appealed to us. And we chose Happy Meal LTD around those letters. We like HMLTD, and we was try to think of what that could stand for. What acronym that could be and we came up with Happy Meal LTD but after a while we decided that, actually, we didn’t like that very much. And then there was the legal prop of it. So it just made sense to say ‘oh well we like them 5 letters initially so let’s just revert back to them, so we just change them back to HMLTD’.
James: There might come a time when we think of a better acronym that we like more than the actual letters.
Do think you’ll ever change from HMLTD or is this a name that is set in stone for you?
Henry: We’ll see. Like we said, we like them 5 particular letter, they are probably my favourite 5 letters in the alphabet. But they can stand for whatever acronym anybody wants to, you can impose whatever words to represent those letters are you like.
James: It’s fun to see what people come up with. HM Limited is a common one- I quite like that one.
Henry: Humiliated is a common one… I like humiliated.
Not long ago, NME described you as ‘the Uk’s most thrilling new band’, and Loud and Quiet referred to you as ‘the real fucking deal’. Are you affected by what the press say about you? Does it motivate you or does it give you a sense of pressure?
Henry: Not a bit. What the press say doesn’t matter to us.
James: You can get up in the morning and you can listen to one person’s opinion, and you can let that effect what you do. And then an hour later you’re going to hear someone else’s opinion and by the end of the day you’ve heard about 25 people’s opinions and your going to be so restricted that you cant even do anything. You can’t even get out of bed the next morning.
Henry: I saw an interview recently and it was talking about how in the races, horses wear blinders. And the reason is so that they don’t look to the side, so they just keep focused on what they are doing. And that’s what its like looking at opinions. If you’re looking at what other bands or whatever artists are constantly doing and think ‘oh should I be doing that?’, and if you’re looking at other people’s opinions then you’re never going to get anywhere. You’ve just got to have convictions and do what you believe in, and if you start paying attention to other people’s opinions then you’re fucked as an artist I think.
You’ve just brought out a new single, ‘Satan, Luella and I’, how has it been received?
Henry: Extremely positively. Almost too positively. Yeah we prefer when things divide opinions I think
James: We didn’t get much criticism for that one at all. But again, the reception of a song is not something we really think about too much. We’re really proud of the song, it’s my favourite song we’ve done so far.
Will you be playing some unheard song tonight at Brudenell, or do you tend to stick to the classic well known singles?
James: New songs? Songs that we haven’t released, we’ll be playing about 5 or 6.
Henry: One very newly written, this will be only our second time playing, so we are looking forward to that.
Hmltd’s newest single ‘Satan, Luella and I’ is out now. Don’t miss out on catching them at one of there up and coming tour dates!
[Feature Image: Noisey]