I caught up with Henry and James (second names are frowned upon) from HMLTD before their debut Newcastle show at Think Tank. From their appearance, it is clear HMLTD are different. Henry is wearing a bright red blazer and an extremely low-cut t-shirt to match his red lipstick, whilst James opts for a black fishnet top and plenty of black eyeliner and eyeshadow to ensure his bleach blonde hair stands out.
Then when asked about their issues with having children watch them James replies, “it’s not really appropriate.”
Their opinions on festivals are different too. For some bands, festival season is the highlight of the year but not for HMLTD:
“When you do your own shows, people are there to see you,” Henry points out. James supports him, “a lot of children, a lot of chin-stroking.” Then when asked about their issues with having children watch them James replies, “it’s not really appropriate.” Clear and concise. It may seem like HMLTD are too serious from these responses, however, they have a clear vision for their band. They know exactly what they want to do and they are doing it.
To precede this tour HMLTD released a new single, ‘Satan, Luella & I’, and it’s fair to say this was a big step for the band – a real sign of the quality and ability they possess, and the band agree. “It’s my favourite song we’ve done,” says James before adding, “it’s the first song we’ve got unanimous good comments about, which is a good thing and a bad thing.”
A bad thing? Surely not? “The response was a bit too positive,” Henry explains. “It’s always nice to get bad comments as long as they’re the right kind of bad comments,” James adds. This shows they are not resting on what they’ve got. They want to keep getting better.
This year we have been used to big names criticising today’s rock bands. However, HMLTD see where the Gallaghers, Kasabian and others are coming from. “I find gigs boring, two songs in you kinda wanna go, they’re all lazy,” James explains. Henry supports him, “they’re all the same especially within guitar music.” HMLTD’s genre influences range from spaghetti western to the dark alt-pop, but they look to pop and hip hop to inspire their live performances. “At least with pop and hip hop there’s a lot more effort put in, in terms of engaging with the audience,” Henry explains. This is something HMLTD have incorporated into their own shows. They thrive of audience interaction and enjoy experimenting with the settings of their shows, wanting to curate their own environment to give each gig a unique and special feel.
Their confidence and assuredness should not be mistaken however. HMLTD are a young up and coming band still finding their feet at a time that is more difficult than ever. To end the interview HMLTD offered some advice for today’s youth, the advice they took themselves that started them on this journey. “Just do what you wanna do,” says James whilst Henry adds, “don’t pay attention to other people’s opinions.” HMLTD certainly don’t anyway.