Interview: Weird Milk on 'Time Machine', growth and their first US trip

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Photo by Timothy Casten

North London band Weird Milk have been consistently unveiling incredible singles this year, including ‘Anything You Want’ in April, ‘Honey, I’m Around’ in July, and more recently ‘Time Machine’. They’ve also played shows regularly, including supporting bands such as Trudy and the Romance. We spoke with Charlie Glover and Zach Campbell of Weird Milk to recap their busy year and talk about what’s ahead for them.

Next year will include their first-ever tour across the Atlantic ocean and will include a stop at Austin’s prestigious SXSW festival, as well as shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, with Charlie noting that they’re “shaking with excitement” about the upcoming tour. Though he said that there are a few logistical things that they need to figure out, their American tour is at the top of the list of things they're excited about next year. “We’ve only just found out about it all, so it hasn’t sunk in just yet, and we’ve still got to figure out where we’re staying and all that stuff, but we’re excited,” he said.

2020 is also the year that they’re set to release their highly anticipated debut EP — the EP is currently a work-in-progress, but they confirmed that it will be ready sometime next year. Charlie said that they’re “currently writing for it,” with Zach adding that they’re “trying to organise how the songs will fit together.” It’s a process that they’re not rushing either. The most important thing for the band is that they’re writing regularly. Zach also said that they’re not always thinking about EP when writing new music, “When making new songs, we haven’t been actively thinking about the EP,” he said. Instead, they’re letting it happen naturally and plan on writing as many songs as they can and then see which ones would flow the best on a body of work.

Though they joked that the reason that they haven’t done an EP yet was because of monetary reasons, they said that the real reason why they’ve held off releasing an EP is that they’ve wanted to explore their sound first before encapsulating Weird Milk into a body of work. Charlie said, “We’ve been releasing music for two years, and before this year, we were only releasing music when we could, but not very often. But this year, we made a plan to show people the different sounds that we could come up with.”

With the three singles that the band have released this year, we’ve been able to experience different sides of their sound. Charlie said that ‘Honey, I’m Around’ showcases the 60s-inspired sound that they love, ‘Anything You Want’ is “poppier”, and their latest ‘Time Machine’ is the more “conceptual” of the three.

Their new single ‘Time Machine’ was inspired by a deep dive into The Cosmos by Charlie after a patch of boredom. He joked that he, unfortunately, wasn’t hooked onto Carl Sagan’s more popular version of The Cosmos, “I was really obsessed with it [The Cosmos], and unfortunately it wasn’t the cool one, it was the Neil deGrasse Tyson one on Netflix,” he laughs, “I didn’t want to put that into the statement as then everyone would be like, 'ohhh that’s lame'.” After binge-watching his new favourite guilty pleasure, he went onto show Zach the song and they then finished working on it together.

Zach said that ‘Time Machine’ is their take on the current political state of the UK right now, “For me, though Charlie wrote the original idea and chords and stuff, the song is a fun and fictional response to what’s happening over here — it’s like a ridiculous response to a very ridiculous situation. For us in the song, the answer is to build a time machine, going back in time away from it all.”

Hypothetically, if they were to build a time machine, Zach said he would like to go to Ancient Egypt — “I don’t know enough about it, but it all looks very cool and they were way ahead of their time. It would be an interesting place to walk around.” For Charlie, he would make his way back to the 60s and visit California and sit in on one of Brian Wilson’s (of the Beach Boys) studio sessions.

The 60s is a sound that’s often aligned with Weird Milk, with the band sharing a mutual love for Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. When starting Weird Milk, Charlie said that they were listening to the Beach Boys all of the time, “We were just obsessed and addicted. It was in the summer as well, so we played Pet Sounds and it really had a profound effect on us.” He also added, “It was when we were trying to start writing songs. After hearing that, everything just clicked and we learnt the songs and I would say it taught me how to write.”

They’ve come a long way since their 2017 singles ‘This Close’ and ‘You’, with ‘This Close’ released before Charlie played the piano or wrote songs in the band — ‘You’ was the first he and Zach wrote together for Weird Milk. Since then, both Charlie and Zach agree that they’ve improved as musicians and as a band. The band also have a much clearer direction of where they want to take their sound and what they want to do, including experimenting more sonically or attempt to create a ballad. Playing shows frequently around the country and in London has also helped them refine their live shows immensely.

2019 has been a breakthrough year for the band, and things are only about to get crazier for them — with more music in the works and an opportunity to tour the US, Weird Milk are certainly ones you want to keep an eye on next year.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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