We had the opportunity to chat with Hot Milk, a pop-punk band who have recently released their debut EP and have a festival-packed summer ahead of them. Hannah Mee, vocalist, chats to us about using her platform to talk about mental health.
Have you always had lyrics with a deeper meaning?
I’ve always been a deep thinker. My degree was in politics and philosophy, so I’ve always been taught to think about things but when I stopped having a stimuli/ academia to focus on, my brain went in on itself rather than something to focus on. I started thinking inwards and from that, I became very sad.
Hot Milk isn’t just a band for us, it’s a ladder to get ourselves out of what we hated. It’s a life saver.
What made you want to write about mental health?
I think it’s important to be open, but my girlfriend always says it’s intimidating because I’m the most open person ever, but I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You write about the things you know and are going through. James and I wrote those because we needed to, not for anybody else. We weren’t even going to start Hot Milk but I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life, so we started the band to get ourselves out of it. Hot Milk isn’t just a band for us, it’s a ladder to get ourselves out of what we hated. It’s a life saver. What’s important about these songs was taking something out of our brains and making them tangible so we can move on.
What are some of the stories behind the lyrics in your EP?
‘Awful Ever After’ is more of a personification of this part of your brain that always wants to be sad. My brain likes being sad sometimes; It goes down a rabbit hole of sadness and there are days where I just won’t get out of bed. In the video, we put some dark shadow people because I’ve always felt like there’s this person creeping in my head was me, but a darker side of me. Awful Ever After is asking myself what this life is about. This awful ever after we’re living in, is this it now? Is this life? There’s also a lot of metaphors because it’s good to compare it to something more tangible. I love a metaphor, I think of some on the spot sometimes… life is like a bread bin, you never know what’s in it. It might be cookies your mum has put, or it might be a sewing kit.
Why do you think mental health has become so prevalent in recent years?
I think it’s something that has become a buzz word but it’s personal to everyone because we all have our own stories. That’s why I like to use metaphors instead of making it all about me. It’s important to talk about but I think the reason why we have so many mental health issues in the 21st century is because we live through our f*cking devices. We don’t live in communities like we’re supposed to. Humans are herd animals; we’re supposed to live in groups so we can support each other but nobody is doing that anymore. Everyone lives off jealousy. Nobody cares about what anyone else is doing and there’s no love anymore. Which is why as a band, with friends, or family, we have days where we just put our phones away. When we have band practise, we leave our phones at the door, if I see someone with their phone, I tell them “take your phone out your hand”, because it’s making people sad.
I was bullied at school, so I attached myself to bands because that’s where I belonged. We’ve all been through it so we’re a special bread of humans, it’s a shared experience. You either understand this music or you don’t.
Specifically, in the alternative scene, it’s more common, why do you think that is?
I think the alternative scene is full of weirdos and people who have struggled in their lives. Look around [Slam Dunk Festival], none of these people were in the popular groups at school, they were all shunned on. I was bullied at school, so I attached myself to bands because that’s where I belonged. We’ve all been through it so we’re a special bread of humans, it’s a shared experience. You either understand this music or you don’t.
Why do you think it’s important to talk about these topics?
Well if you have a platform you’ve got to use it. You’re a dick if you don’t. If somebody actually wants to pay attention to us and I can get some stupid words out my mouth, then my time on earth has been used wisely. It might balance out some shit things I’ve done.
So it’s not just to help other people, it’s to make yourself feel better too.
There’s no such thing as a selfless act but if I can help someone else, inspire someone else, or help someone think just a little differently, then I have done my job. I don’t care about what happens to me, I think helping other people is the backbone of what we need to be doing. Helping people is good for your heart.
What other topics do you want to use your platform for?
We’re halfway through writing our full-length record and it’s political. I was going to study to be a doctor in politics but then I quit to do music, so I’ve always had a political overtone in my lyrics. Not initially on the EP because that was a different part of my life, but moving forward it’s almost like a social commentary for the sake of the world. I think it’s time to start writing about what’s more serious. I don’t think you make any changes in the world by writing about love. It’s great and there will be a love song in there but it’s within the context of the world we’re living in.
Grab your tickets to catch Hot Milk support Foo Fighters and a couple of festivals this summer!