By: Shayla Lee
When ‘She Tastes Like Summer’ popped up on my Discover Weekly playlist, I don’t know what caught my attention more; how good the song was, or the band’s unique name. Hailing from the UK, the indie-rock band has gone from playing house parties to festivals and venues in just a few short years. Their music is both nostalgic and happy which means their music is my favourite kind of music. We had the chance to chat with Harry Handford, the band’s lead vocalist, who talked about the band’s new music, their musical influences, and his love of real Canadian maple syrup.
TLG: Tell us a bit about yourselves! When did you form? How did you come up with the name Spilt Milk Society?
Harry Handford: Me and Josh, our lead guitarist, started it after finding out we both played instruments. It all came about when Josh was decorating my mum’s kitchen in 2015. It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s taken us to where we are now – me and Josh are living together in a flat in Liverpool and we’re living and breathing this band.
The name has two sides to it. On the one hand it states what I think is the obvious; that we live in a society in which every one cries over silly things, such as “spilt milk”. The other side of it is that it’s a mix up of a well known saying (‘theres no use crying over spilt milk’) which we discovered on a T-Shirt.
One of the things I love about your music is although it is cohesive, you still explore different sounds in each song. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I’m not sure haha. I really have no idea how to sum up what Spilt Milk Society is musically. All of us are into such different genres and we all have other smaller projects going where we explore that, but Spilt Milk is just this overriding thing. The songs are a mixture of my childhood love for rock and a more adolescent love for indie-pop. We do explore different sounds yeah and that’s because we’re young and from the off didn’t want to be defined as a certain brand of music. We want to be able to put out a disgustingly poppy song followed by something groovily dirty and people be okay with it.
What inspires you creatively? Do you have any musical influences?
Obviously a lot of musical artists inspire me – Kevin Parker, Kendrick Lamar, Thomas Mars, Chet Baker, Yannis, Donal Glover, and loads more – but overall I tend not to let other musicians change the way I write, and so I’d definitely say taking a walk to the cathedral I live next to or down to the Liverpool docks is the most inspiring thing in my life. I’d definitely choose sight over hearing as there’s nothing more beautiful and motivating than a sick ass view. Then again not hearing toto africa ever again would be gutting.
What has been the coolest experience of your careers thus far? What would be the ultimate dream? I definitely see you playing at some huge festivals in the near future- I’m calling it now!
Every gig we do we make the most of and celebrate afterwards and our songs are going well so everything is just a highlight at the moment! We appreciate your belief in us haha. We were asked to headline Glastonbury this year but I have a family holiday in Cornwall with clashes so going to have to give that one a miss…
‘She Tastes Like Summer’ was the first song I heard by you guys. When I listen to it I feel nostalgic, happy, and want to run and dance in a flower field. Can you tell us more about this song?
I wrote this when I had just broken up with my girlfriend, Leah, (I was either 15 or 16) who I’d been with for 3 years and I was both gutted but also strangely optimistic which is definitely reflected in this track. In many ways it sums up a the mind frame I was in at the time. On another note, it all ended happily as we’ve been together now for almost 6 years! And yeah I also imagine running through flowers when I listen to it – which is a nicer concept than it is in reality because who actually likes to run?
You recently released a new single called ‘Amsterdam’ and it definitely has some 80’s vibes. Can you tell us more about this one?
This track confuses me. I don’t know what I make of it. I wrote it whilst in Amsterdam, a city close to my heart, and finished the whole song in about 8 hours. Everyone I showed it to loved it, but I just sat on it for ages because I was never convinced. We then ended up working with a producer called Ryan Pinson who has a very creative mind as far as producing goes. He lifted the track straight up and made it sound huge and groovey at the same. I have a lot to thank him for because he fulfilled the potential of the track and also taught me that sometimes other peoples’ input is more valuable. I generally swear by doing things myself to make sure they’re to the right standard, but it’s easy to forget how many crazily talented artists there are everywhere.
Your album art is also very unique! Now tell me if I’m looking into this way too much but for ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘She Tastes Like Summer’ the art both features a cloud above a body/bodies. For ‘Voices’ and ‘I Like My Own Company’, a sun or moon is above a body. Am I crazy or is this intentional? What inspires your cover art?
I love colours and the whole process of designing artwork so I get really involved in it. At the moment I’m working with a guy named Jakarta from LA who has a unique eye for images and colours; he worked on She Tastes Like Summer and Amsterdam artworks. Voices and I Like My Own Company are both the product of Mike McKenny’s weird and wonderful mind. He’s another level of insightful when it comes to unique style. And maybe you’re onto something with that…maybe not… either way we’re spending as much time on the next artworks and we are on the music so we’re excited for it all to come out!!
You are all pretty young – just like us! Are there times where people don’t take you seriously because of your ages? If so, how did you push past it?
Yes and it’s inevitable. It takes a lot more for a 14 year old (which is how old I was when I started gigging) to gain actual respect from an adult and it’s something society refuses to get over. Didn’t ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ teach the world anything?! Anyway, I guess we pushed past it as a band early on because when we started playing people would listen and the promoters would be impressed and see how many people we were bringing in etc. Also the fact that we age as time moves forwards helps as people see us more as adults now haha. At the end of the day, if what you’re doing is genuine and interesting then it’s easier to push past any barriers or expectations set. People probably still see us as children but they can’t deny Cops and Robbers is a sick song.
At the end of the day, if what you’re doing is genuine and interesting then it’s easier to push past any barriers or expectations set.
What can we expect from you in 2018? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver soon!
Our bassist, Adam, is in Vancouver right now interestingly enough. His girlfriend is Canadian (they met at uni) and he’s been there for a month now. If he doesn’t bring me back actual maple syrup he’s straight up out of the band. I say ‘actual’ maple syrup because England doesn’t know what that is. I’ve been to Canada, I’ve suckled upon natures natural goodness, and I can testify that it’s a million times better. As far as the band goes, we’ve got so much to do this year I can’t wait to get on with it. Songs, tours, more songs, etch a sketch pads, full english breakfasts, another song or two, lots of good clean fun.
What songs are you currently listening to?
We have a playlist called ‘Now That’s What I Call Moosic’ which we keep regularly updated with songs we’re listening to if you want to check that out.
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Nope, only that we love your support and truly value everyone who listen’s to our music and follows us. Also, sorry for rambling a lot of the time, it’s a dirty habit that I cannot shake. I’m sure we’ll catch up again soon.
We want to thank Spilt Milk Society for the interview! All photos in this article were provided by Harry. You can follow the band’s musical journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Spotify. Check out our favourite song ‘She Tastes Like Summer’ below!