London band, The Milk recently released their second album entitled No Interruptions.
Fuelled by a rediscovery of the music and artists that originally inspired their formation, the four walls of their studio were ablaze with a soundtrack of Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes and the Isley Brothers throughout the songwriting process of the album. Now out on tour with a date at Bristol’s Thekla on October 29, Andy Howells recently put questions to bass guitarist Luke Ayling.
How did the band form?
The first incarnation of the band and still the original line up started way back when at secondary school. Mitch, Rick and Dan were all in the same year; drawn together through a love of music, Oasis and the excitement of the Brit pop era they decided to start a band. A bass player was needed, having shown an interest in the instrument and being the only bloke they knew that could afford a bass at the time my brother Mitch asked if I wanted to join. I accepted and even though I’m older than them all, I’m still thought of as the new kid! The band has become more of a family than just a band. and my relationship with Mitch, Rick and Dan is likely to be the longest one I’ll ever be involved with! The future wife is gonna love that!!
Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
Each member of the band can relate to their own musical heroes and inspirations but for me its James Jamerson… The man was a genius on the bass and as the link between melody and rhythm in the legendary Motown house band the ‘Funk Brothers’ pretty much performed on, and wrote the bass lines for more hit records than any other musician. He revolutionised modern bass playing and I always try to channel my inner James Jamerson when I write my bass lines!
Tell us a little about your most recent album No Interruptions…
Our second record, like many others before us, has been a life affirming but at times painful experience. For all the good we did on our first record, we felt that there we’re many unanswered questions. It was important that this album put the record straight, not just for our fans and peers but for ourselves. Favourite Worry is born from the difficulties that everyone feels as they move through life, the dreams that falter, the friendships that struggle or the love that falls away. Each song is born from this very personal atonement that each of us has had to reconcile ourselves with. It was vital that the record demonstrate the many years we have played together, the blood harmonies and sibling rhythm section. Just as importantly the need for the sound to reach deep into the guts of the listener, as so many of our influences do, was always at the forefront. In Paul Butler we found a kindred spirit, musical guide and friend who helped us create our atonement. We hope you enjoy it
You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Being in a band for me is split into two very distinct yet equally rewarding experiences… We came to the end of the first at the beginning of the year when the writing and recording of the album was finished. Now its time for the second and that’s taking the record on the road and showcasing it to as many people as we can. There’s a beauty to the recording process, its very much a personal, emotional and isolated experience for the band but when you come to tour and perform these tracks live there’s nothing that can quite explain the feeling of getting on stage and performing in front of an audience eager to listen. I can’t wait to hit the road, the set we have planned is one you won’t wanna miss.
What can people expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
Its not often you get to play in the belly of an old boat… Its a venue that’s a one of a kind so expect a room that’s Hot, Sweaty and filled with a Soulful sound from a band at the top of their game… Bristol is a town we always look forward to returning too, not only is it a beautiful place to be but it has always provided us with some of the best and most memorable after parties on the tour.
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
Im really enjoying Tobias Jesso Jr at the moment, he harks back to a classic song writing style that would prick Lorraine Ellison ears. ‘How Could You Babe’ is a real treat but his whole album ‘Goon’ is well worth a listen. I also really digged the new Alabama Shakes LP thats was out earlier in the year.. ‘Sound & Colour’ was a familiar follow on from the debut but with a voice like Brittany Howard’s theres not much that soulfull bunch from across the pond could do wrong in my eyes! Other than that Leon Bridges, Foals, & Churches to name but a few are all releasing or have released some great tunes this year!
Stay in touch with The Milk online:
- Twitter: @thisisthemilk
- Instagram: @themilk
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/thisisthemilk
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on October 23, 2015