For the latest edition of our Hello Tomorrow feature, we’re introducing you to the boys driving the sounds of the sixties into the very present. Comprised of lead vocalists and guitarists Zach Campbell and Alex Griffiths, drummer Charlie Glover-Wright and keyboardist Joe ‘Blue’ Moyle, the suited-and-booted Weird Milk boys are hotfooting their way into the 2020s.
Today, we’re premiering the band’s latest single, ‘Is That Love?’ which pulses and grooves with the swagger of recent-era AM, with a generous splash of Beach Boys vibes for good measure. “The song itself is about a relationship turning sour as a lemon and the main character realising that they don’t need it anymore and they’ll be better off on their own,” explains Charlie. Press play here:
Having bonded over guitar music, a childhood spent in the leafy confines of Buckinghamshire, and a mutual love of rewatching Wings 1974 on YouTube (“we always watch it because Paul McCartney’s voice is just the best thing ever…amazing!”), the boys’ paths finally rejoined in the big smoke, and Weird Milk was born. Although they are now dressed in suave suits, looking like they’ve stepped straight out of the sixties, they still present themselves with the same boyish camaraderie they claimed to have shared in secondary school.
With visuals arguably forming an increasingly important part of a band’s narrative, Weird Milk strive to make theirs evocative of how their sound feels. Alex explains, “It’s less thematically based on what we’re saying in the song, and more about the aesthetic of what the song feels like.” Warm and sunny, merry and comradely, they do make it damn hard to not feel good when you listen to their tracks. Focussing evermore on the performance aspect of their music, “All we’ve been doing until now, really, is creating the songs - now, we dress up in suits…” muses Alex - on the night of our interview, lead vocalist Zach Campbell breathed new life into a majestically flared suit that hasn’t been worn since 1974. Onstage, they wear ‘from-the-era’ gear, further alluding to this retro narrative they’re carefully - and successfully - cultivating. Sourced from a vintage shop south of Brixton, their chosen stage-wear retailer is a particular source of inspiration for many a fashion designer, as songwriter and drummer Charlie elaborates: “It’s this huge shop run by this Italian dude who buys thousands of pieces of clothing, and sells them to musicals, theatre productions, and fashion designers who come in to nick the ideas - apparently last week he had Versace in.” (“Apparently”, Zach emphasises.)
In the midst of a fleeting, Netflix binge-watching obsession with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Weird Milk became fixated on how they’d go about building a Time Machine for themselves, to help escape the absurd realities of today, and so emerged the lyrical inspiration for last single ‘Time Machine’. After having written the song, Charlie then discovered that Time Machine was a film in the sixties based on the novella by H.G. Wells, from which a huge amount of visual inspiration was taken - “We plagiarised the artwork”, chuckles Alex.
If time travel were possible, where would they choose to travel back to? Frontman Alex would go back to see The Velvet Underground in New York. “That would be the first thing I would do - and David Bowie, I’d like to see both of them.” Charlie continues, “I’d go back to the Swingin’ 60s - probably 1966, when all the albums were coming out, so you’d hear them for the first time - that would be really cool.” From the corner of the room, the quietly charismatic Blue pipes up, with a brilliantly humorous deadpan tone: “I’d actually go back to 2007, me. And I’d be the age I was then.” He states, munching loudly on dressing room crisps. Not with the wisdom, foresight and brain he has now? “No, no, just the age I was then.” Fair enough - life was, indeed, much simpler pre-GCSEs.
With three of the band members sharing the same flat, the songwriting has a collaborative and spontaneous feel, as Charlie explains: “We write together so we get the best of both. I’ll be in my room playing, and he’ll be in his room playing, or whoever’s kind of got a good one, you’d go down and would be like, ‘hey, man that’s really cool’ and you’d kind of collaborate. Other times when nobody’s in, you’d finish it all yourself, then it then goes through a kind of process. It’s never the same, I would say, which is good and it keeps us creative.” This seems to work well, as it means there is a lot of variety in their songwriting, and a constant stream of ideas. “All our songs have a unique, different sound to the others - so ‘Honey, I’m Around’ is really sixties-inspired, then it goes into ‘All Night’ where we just went Bob Marley with that.” Alex continues, “It’s quite flavoursome isn’t it. There’s a lot of different flavours…”
With multiple songwriters, of course comes varied sonic inspiration, including some more modern than you’d possibly expect from their nostalgia-soaked sound, including Frank Ocean. “We still have him in our Spotify bio as one of our influences, maybe that needs to be taken out - someone introduced us onstage as being heavily influenced by Frank Ocean and I guess they didn’t get what they were expecting…” laughs Charlie.
So, since this is an introductory feature, what does the distant future hold for Weird Milk? For Alex, “I would like the opportunity to release…an album…(the rest of the band make whooping noises and screeches as he comes to this conclusion)…an album through whichever means, using whichever resources…I know, I know I could have said anything and I said the normal thing… but I want to release one well. Not just let one plop out, I want to fire one out into the world, like ‘Bing’!” With the way these boys look to be heading, they’ll be firing out more tunes into the world very soon. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.