Somewhere after the initial postpunk boom, the invention of Alt-Rock and the “the” post punk revival, the world became saturated in a haze of soulless pop and incoherent electronic music, something we all love and cannot get enough of. Though as the world spirals into the abyss of Soundcloud mumble trap it is important to know and embrace the spirit which is that of the Rocker. Then came HMLTD, a band which incorporates all the theatrics of the glam rock gods while still maintaining a punk as fuck attitude as well as an adaptation and sprightful grip on the musical frontier of electronic and trap forward inspirations.
The band is composed of charismatic singer Henry Chisholm, guitarists James and Duke (who was unable to make the shoot due to preparations for an exam), bassist Nico, drummer Achilleas and Zac on keyboards. This motley crew of inter-European musicians collide at the perfect intersection of visual and musical. As a part of London’s creative elite their musical exposure and embrace is well matched to their stylish contemporaries of the design world, including the crew behind Art School London, Charles Jeffery, and Dilara Findikoglu.
After working in the parameters of a record label’s needs and expectations, the band was able to shed those confines and explore a darker sound and visual direction. This has yielded a grittier style which sees them collaborate with other musician of varying genre as well as release guerrilla style work which feels more glam, punk, and rock. While in LA on tour with Nine Inch Nails, we were able to captured the boys for a shoot and interview below.
Is this your first time doing a shoot in America?
Yeah its our first time doing a shoot in America.
That’s crazy, do you use a certain brand makeup or do you have a makeup artist on tour?
No, we do all of it ourselves. We use a lot of Bleach London. Have you heard of them?
They have done our hair for a very long time, they did a lot of vibrant colors and cuts and stuff. They have also released a makeup range in which we aren’t exclusively using it but we use it a lot. Really nice eye shadow.
Lets talk about the new EP, have you guys put together the imagery and I feel like your aesthetic is getting a bit darker.
Yeah defintley, it has always been quite dark. Like the first video we releases for a song called “Stained” a lot of people were quite shocked by I think, it was quite graphic and quite violent. I think that we are trying to do something quite aggressive. Yeah we like playing with violent imagery definitely. I think the new EP the new art work is for sure moving in the dark direction and the music has moved into the darker direction more recently on the EP. It felt like, if you see in colors, it felt black and brown. That’s how I imagined it.
I feel like your initial releases were very vibrant, its always dark. Its like a spectrum on darkness, only getting darker. And so you guys are touring all over America, where have you been and flown through?
So far we have been to Vegas, San Francisco, and now we are here in Los Angeles.
What’s next for you guys?
We just followed Nine Inch Nails for 6 days in Nevada and California and did one of our own shows and we are going to fly back. We are only here for two weeks.
What is your next release for the full album. Is that something you are still working on?
Yeah the album will be released in 2019.
Can you give us any idea on the vibe?
I think the EP was some songs- taking some songs that we knew weren’t going to be on the album but we wanted to release, they weren’t shit, so lets put them on the EP. So not to be down on the EP, because I really like it, its kinda the off-cuts of the album. So its going to be the same vibes as the album, its going to be vibrant, its going to be gray, its going to be dark, its going to be aggressive at the same time. But also, it’s just going to be better quality of the EP.
So how did you all meet and everything? What is your background?
We just met at parties in London really. None of us are from London, we just moved there from elsewhere and we met in the same party circles.
Were you into the dressing up and the new romantic?
Yeah that was definitely an influence. There are a lot of fashion designers in London that have influenced us that we know. So Charles Jeffery, Dilara Findikoglu, Art School London. There is a really big fashion scene in London right now and I think that is what inspired us largely.
Have you collaborated with these brands a lot?
Yeah lots. Lately we have collaborated with Charles Jeffery, Ingrid Kraftchenko . She’s fantastic, shes a new designer. Jeffery and Dilara Findikoglu are quit fantastic but Ingrid is new, someone to definitely watch. She plays with a lot of butchers fashion and imagery. She uses long heavy aprons, She isn’t too well known, she has only just graduated.
What is the process of your music? Do you feel like you work and making instruments or are you more instrumentally driven at first?
I think it just depends on the song. Some songs start on the lyrics some songs start on the instruments, with just a guitar line or whatever.
Because I think that was the most interesting thing about your music. I felt like you were really punctured in the different intersectioning of the music but in a way that was seemless that was not so.., I feel like pop music in America is so going into the direction where they are mimicking a style in which the structure being influenced by multiple genre interrupting the natural flow.
I think that is the natural outcome of the generation who listen to music on spotify because you change between genres so quickly. It’s not in the past where you had to change the fucking vinyl and it would take ten minutes to change from one genre to another and now you can change genres just like that. It has not only changed the way people consume music but they way they produce it as well.
I think it terms of technical songwriting, the song comes really quickly but it’s the transitions that we struggle with. We spend a lot of time trying to find ways to smooth them over and finding different ways to do them – because take for instance our most recent track it’s a punk/trap mix and that was kinda really hard to smooth over the changes. That’s the hard thing, the song comes quickly. But thank you for saying that it sounds seemless
It feels a lot more seemless. I was looking at this whole k-pop structural video about the way they piece there music together and it so abrupt where it goes from this weird attempted electronic folk to pop/trap/hiphop and it sounds, I don’t know, pukey. Kids love it though.
They do, they really do. BTS posted on a video on it, did you see that?
No I didn’t see that. They just had this whole situation where these girls followed this band called NCT-127. They followed them from Korea and they followed them to our office. It was nuts.
Where people screaming?
We have video footage of our people pushing them away to get the shot.
I think that sounds cool, but after awhile it sounds like it would be pretty annoying.
Eh, rather that than not. Where do you feel like your music is going though. Do you feel like you have a headspace that you are going to veer into as you progress. I initially seen you in all red and bondage, punk glam. And your newer press shots were post punk goth 80s.
Just like we do with the music we try to take pull fashion cues from wherever. We don’t try to limit ourselves to one look in particular, we will be influenced here by how the rappers dress in the US or by kind 80s bands in the UK, and we will just kind of throw everything together and approaches that there is no rose basically and take influence from basically everyone is wherever you can
Is there something you want to express with the new music that's coming out I just heard her new single who is the core of the other two musicians in it there's like another person in it
Xvoto.Delete she's a great new of Spanish singer she's really fantastic singer, she should have new music coming out soon. About the aesthetics thing, personally, I got a little freaked when we first started everyone was kind of saying “new romantic, new romantic, new romantic” and like an 80s kind of vibe and I was like I do love that and I love the way they dress, but I didn't want to be a throwback, you know.
I think that’s like an easy way to say it, New Romantic of course, but there was something about the way you dressed but it felt very now. I think it was something to do with the way you had the S&M, the kink level was a bit more cleaned up. I feel like that's something that the people did but they didn't really really fully dive into it. Now it's something that people are fully embracing and it brings a modernity to that whole aesthetic kind of like silent fetishism.
I love I'm really fascinated by like it's real Russian and Estonian pictures that you find floating around the really obscure website tor the web basically like two kids in Russia with their tops off one’s got an Axe and the other has a dildo or something are fetish gear and hshot on a horrible camera.
Yeah like a snuff film
I love that kind of stuff
Is there anything else you want to mention about the new single that was released the new EP that was released any upcoming projects?
We recently released two songs after the EP Flex and Death Drive I think those two in conjunction very much sum up where we are right now
So its bridging where it is going into?
I think so and on the album as well, if people want to see a sense of what's coming they should listen to those tunes, and the album will be out as soon as possible in the next year.
And again, going back actually going into the snuff film aesthetic is that part of the EP kind of based on? I loved it on my God. who is that person that photo?
That was me and my friend Mimi who, her and the guy who took the photo, our friend Tiger do a lot of set design for us, so we played a show in London and they made a big set around it, and we’ve done that in other places as well like in Barcelona and stuff we always have a big set design and all our London shows we all have a big set design built for us or in collaboration with us.
I remember when you shot the album cover like me and Henry and Jake just working on some music and we were just working on some music at Jake's house and Jake lives with me and Tiger we were just working on some music and Henry just left the room for like literally 10 minutes and came back in with this faced paint on and I was like ‘what did you do?’ oh and he was like I just shot the album cover cuz they just got in the bar in a shiity little toilet and then Mimi got in a painted the thing. Wass it blood or red it blood or red paint? There is no like money put into it there is none of that bullshit which we had for all of our previous stuff you shine like 20 minutes we should definitely do that more because it turned out really good
There's a purity to it it's completely unadulterated if you like in this album compared to like your debut do you feel like you had a lot of record restraints in your creativity?
We're with a record label so for a long time and by the time is very good and then they started to try to make us do what they wanted and we didn't really want to follow them and we are now split from that label and I now were basically doing what the fuck we want and we're kind of just doing everything ourselves. Our last two music videos we co-produced and we did them with a bunch of 200 pounds each. So now I think we kind of freed ourselves from their shackles interested in doing something very DIY wanted and collaborative kind of punk.
I was like Fuck it's over I'll go back to London wash some dishes or whatever because being dropped has such a stigma or used to be we were doing some work with Justin Tranter
I love Justin
Yeah he’s amazing but we were telling him that we got dropped and he was like ‘name an artist who hasn't been dropped. I got dropped three times before and I was really kind of inspiring because of the statement I thought he’s career was over and it's been just a liberating experience.
Well awesome thanks for chatting, any blood rituals to expect on tour?
Something for the kids.