Smashed Vinly Meet HMLTD We sat down with the London based six piece before their headline show at Patterns to discuss festivals, fans and their own thoughts on the current state of the live music scene.
HMLTD take pride in their undisguised individualism, dressing in a unique, nonconformist way that is synonymous with their sound. The inspiration for their own live shows comes from a deep disappointment with the gig culture as whole, noting their own reluctance to see live music due to the supposedly monotonous repetition. “I would stay that our shows are fundamental, absolutely fundamental. I’m sure you’ve been to see bands before...it’s usually quite dull. It’s not what people want to do on a friday night. Especially when there’s four of them on the bill and you know it’s the same thing over and over again. Every single time we ever went to see anybody it was just completely awful so we started to make our own [gigs] really...that was how we started.”
When it comes to their live shows it's clear that the band take pride in their energetic performances and their engagement with the fans. We asked them what they do to separate themselves from the rest to create such a distinctive style. “We just put some effort in. Nobody else really tries that hard, or at least most people don’t...it’s just a fundamental disrespect of the audience which you get with most artists. There’s an expectation of you, as you just turn up on stage with a guitar and sing and that that’s enough to attract people. They’ll pay a fiver, they’ll pay a tenner and think that’s enough, but it’s just rude I think...and it’s quite arrogant.” A theme of self-expression is always promoted by HMLTD, their outfits set out to challenge narratives and defy the ‘social norms’.
It’s clearly not all about self image however, with the band encouraging their fans to express themselves and bring their own unique styles to the shows. “[We like that] people can feel that they can wear what they want at our show.. We like to create a space where they can feel like they can express themselves. That’s one of the best things about our shows I think, people have that chance to dress up and be whatever they want to be.” Their individualistic style doesn’t stop here, and one true example of their expressive tastes comes in the form of their music videos. Often these support bazaar, gory and grotesque visuals that perfectly match the themes of their aggressive live performances.
It’s clearly an important format for the band, and they ensure they are fully involved with the production. “We don’t believe in the idea of commissioning, we also prefer collaboration. That mean’s there's conversation, it’s a two way thing. So whenever we do a video it’s very much a collaboration between us and an artists that we know and respect. That’s what produces something that’s true to us and true to that artist as well.” HMLTDs unsurprisingly nonconformist view on the music scene and was what inspired them to create the band and be different, they admit that ‘a lack of inspiration’ necessitated them forming the band, and that this was the key to their writing process. “In terms of actually influencing, we try to avoid listening to music you know? if you see it as a purely musical project then you’re never going to do anything remotely interesting. You have to pay as much attention to what else is happening in the world, people who get bogged down by music end up creating very boring music. There’s a shocking lack of originality in guitar music, more than there’s even been since it began you know? I think that’s why. People aren’t branching out enough....because the best genres at the moment are not guitar related genres, it’s hip hop and pop.”
With their latest release ‘Satan, Luella and I’, they would be the first to admit that a lot of their music have received mixed reviews, but HMLTD are pleased with their latest work. “I mean we like the song, we’re really proud of it. We’re so glad that everybody else likes it. At least everybody we know...so far it’s had a positive response.” The single has been released prior to their UK tour, but the relentless touring can take its toll… ’‘We get too Ill. Our first tour was i think seven or eight dates consecutively and by the end we were extremely sick, it’s impossible to do. We need to come back to London and rest.” When talking to them about festivals, it was obvious that touring their own live show to their already faithful fans is clearly HMLTDs ideal way to spread their message.
However, the band have mixed feelings about their summer activities, noting an obvious reluctance to perform on the festival circuit. “We do festivals but we don’t really like them as a general rule. I mean there’s too many young children and too many old beard scratching 40 year olds. Festivals have become an incredibly middle classed affair. Just for Guardian Reading, Radio 6 listening middle aged people. Having Although the interview gave a valuable insight into what HMLTD stood for, I can’t help but feel that their responses could be compared to an eager freshers student with a word count to reach and an unhealthy reliance on a thesaurus. HMLTD have since finished their UK tour are planning to release more music before the end of the year.