James Atherton, Music Editor, spoke to Joshua Bannister, guitarist of Milk Teeth, about their hectic touring schedule this year, their plans for the future and their signing to Hopeless Records.
How’s the tour with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes going?
It’s been pretty good so far. This tour is off the back of forty days straight touring the UK with Frank Iero and then the UK & Europe with Title Fight. After those tours we thought that this one was going to be easy going because it’s only eleven dates, but everyone’s exhausted. We weren’t really sure how this tour in particular was going to go, we didn’t know if people would respond to us well or not. But it’s all been fantastic and we’ve had some really great shows. When you tour supporting other bands you’re playing to their crowd, who then become your crowd, which is fantastic. There are people who are our fans coming out to these shows purposely to see us, which is lovely to see.
Are you happy to be having a break from touring after these shows? Or do you have post-tour blues already?
Not just yet. I very much enjoy being at home as much as I love being on tour. With me, if I’m at home for too long then I start getting eager to be on tour again, but then if I’m at tour for too long, then I start to want to be at home. After a couple of upcoming small shows, it’s festival season and I think that’s the point when we’ll be itching to go back out on tour.
What are your plans recording and tour-wise post-festival season?
An album is next for us. We have recorded the demos for that and will be recording it properly sometime after festival season. We’ve also got a tour with Pianos Become the Teeth coming up in September / October. After that though we just want to get the album out and tour, because that’s what it’s about. We just wanna tour and tour and play shows.
You signed with Hopeless Records earlier in the year, how did that come about?
It came about out of general interest really; we weren’t really pushing for it to happen. I think they’re just very much into everything that we do. They haven’t tried to change us. They want us to keep making our own videos and stuff. I think they wanted us because we’re nice.
Do you tend to mostly listen to grunge music or do you experiment with your music listening?
I listen to all sorts of music; I wouldn’t say there’s a genre that I hate, except reggae! I can’t stand reggae. Every genre can be good; you just have to listen to find the good artists from each genre. Of course we all listen to grunge because, regardless of whether or not we’re in a grunge band, bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Mudhoney etc. are all great bands. When we started learning our instruments we learnt those bands.
How do you think being influenced by those bands shaped Milk Teeth and do you think that, what with your wide-ranging influences, Milk Teeth’s sound could take a new direction in the future?
It was easy for us to write our early songs. We never meant to be a grunge band; it’s just how our sound came out when we recorded our early material. We’re moving away from grunge now I’d say, but I don’t think it’s a deliberate switch, I just think that as we grow as a band and as people and we’re starting to find out what it is that we like to listen to, we’re starting to bring in our own influences separately which is making our songs and records way more interesting.
What sort of ‘new direction’ do you think your new material is going to go?
We found our sound when we recorded ‘Sad Sack’, with those heavy loud sections and soft mellow sections. The album contains songs like all of the tracks from our first couple of E.Ps, but it’s the elements of those songs magnified into an album. We said to ourselves: “we like the quiet stuff, we like the heavy stuff, let’s make the quieter stuff even more lush and big, and let’s make the heavy stuff even heavier, and let’s put the two together because that’s what we like.” It’s basically going to be a magnified version of everything that we’ve released so far.
What’s your ultimate goal as a musician / band?
I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me, I’m happy now. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is the worst industry to be in because if you’re doing anything even slightly creative then you’re probably not going to get paid very much for it. I’m very happy with the fact that I can write and record music and play shows. As long as I can keep playing shows and writing music, and not die from starvation, then I’m okay. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be a millionaire, and I don’t think I’d necessarily want to be either. I’d like to be at a point where we can tour as much as possible, write as much as possible and do what we’re doing now as much as possible without getting too desperate for money. We’ve just toured with Title Fight and those guys have been at it for a very long time. But the difference between them and bands that make ridiculous amounts of money is, if you go to a Title Fight show, everyone knows the words, they have a really loyal fan-base, whereas you go to the shows where the bands have a lot of money and the kids only know a few songs and the show feels nowhere near as personal. I’d like to be at the point where they’re at, but only when the time is right. None of us in the band are in our prime yet because we’ve only been doing this band for 2-3 years. We’ve got years ahead. A few years from now I just want us to be top of our game. As big as we can be.
James Atherton, Music Editor