Interview: Milk Teeth

Since the release of their debut EP, Smiling Politely, last year, Milk Teeth have been making a name for themselves across the UK, not because they’re part of a scene or a movement but through an incredible set of songs, relentless touring and wild live shows. Backstage before their performance supporting Nothing at The Oobleck, Matthew Burdon pinned them down.

While Milk Teeth’s music will feel familiar to fans of Nirvana and Pixies, you can’t deny that they’ve have carved out a unique sound for themselves with walls of noise undercut by stabbing guitar riffs. This is a band with a bright future ahead of them. And just like their music, they show no signs of slowing down.

The band have enjoyed some pretty big moments so far signing to Venn Records and The Agency Group, and with breakthrough single Vitamins they’ve quickly sky rocketed in popularity. But perhaps one of the most exciting steps was being asked to join Birmingham rising stars Jaws on their album release tour.

“It was cool to reach out to a different demographic,” says drummer Olly, “and Jaws were so accommodating for us.”

“It was a completely different crowd for us,” singer and bassist Becky affirms.

Milk Teeth played to the biggest crowd of their career on this tour at The Garage in London, which was a big deal for them, “‘every band that was playing was like, ‘this is weird,”’ Olly recalls.

Though Milk Teeth may be relatively new as a band, they have known each other for some time. As Olly explains, “I was 16 and had just started college and [guitarist and singer] Josh was in his last year when he saw me playing drums in the studio. He came in and said, ‘do you want to start a band?’

“Josh and [guitarist] Chris knew each other from secondary school and I knew Josh from college where we had worked together on a bunch of stuff,’ Becky expands.

From his perch at the back of the room Josh adds, “you want to play in a band but you also want to play with your mates.” That fundamental ethos has created a band full of chemistry that comes across in the music and in their live shows.

It’s obvious that they weren’t expecting to take off like they have though. Olly remembers how the “first EP was meant to be a demo and we’re still playing it now!” Recorded while the band were still in college, “it was written over two or three weeks and recorded over a week so it felt very…shifty’ Olly concludes.

Obviously the band have now evolved beyond college demos. Josh remembers those early days, “you get excited when you first start, you just want to get some music out, play some live shows.” Now the band can “do it properly, take time with writing and go to proper studios.”

For Milk Teeth this year has been about progression from the college band they were to a group of serious musicians. Nowhere is this more clear than in their upcoming EP Sad Sack, which includes the singles Vitamins and Linda. “It’s a fucking step up!” exclaims an animated Olly.

“We were worried when we were writing it that people weren’t going to like it as much as the first EP. Then we got to the studio, we recorded it, we finished it, got the mix back and we were like fuck,” comments Josh. “When you start spending the money to do it properly, what comes out of it…it’s worth it.”

From the sofa, guitarist Chris adds “at college we were like ‘these are the songs we’ve got, let’s record them’. Now we take the time to properly write them.”

This is something that has come purely with time, the band are in a different place musically to where they were when Smiling Politely was released.

“Now we’ve got our grounding in music we kind of know what we’re doing with a record,” says Olly. “When I came into this band I wanted to play melodic hardcore and that comes across on Smiling Politely.”

“We’re more comfortable with what we’re writing now,” adds Becky.

It’s not just on record that Milk Teeth identify a change – extensive touring has obviously had an impact on their live shows, as Becky explains “When you’re playing to a crowd every night for eight days straight at a time, your set’s going to get tighter. Nothing’s getting sacrificed though,” she concludes.

The proof of which comes later in the evening as they go on to play a riotous set for The Oobleck as support for Nothing on their tour.

Milk Teeth return to Birmingham on December 18 to headline The Sunflower Lounge supported by Swerve, Vault Of Eagles and Curb. Tickets are priced at £6 advance and are available here.

Their new EP Sad Sack is out via Venn Records on January 26.

Words: Matthew Burdon

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