Meet The Milk.

the milk at brownstock
Although music festivals make for some pretty damn amazing locations for outfit photos, there is obviously the music part of the weekend to contend with. There were plenty of artists on my "to see" list that I managed to tick off (I'm talking Mark Ronson and Benga), ones that I will see as many times as it is legally possible (erm, hi Fratellis and crème de chèvre, I'm not creepy, promise), and then there's one that I tweeted about six months ago to ask if they'd be playing the festival again. I planned to see locals The Milk for the third time the moment they were added to the line up, and was lucky enough to sneak backstage to have a chat with frontman Rick and lead guitarist Dan before they graced the Brownstock stage on the Saturday afternoon.

the milk brownstock 2013

I first saw you at Brownstock a few years ago, and you've been back a few times, is it the local crowd you come back for?
We played it twice as an unsigned band, and four years ago, after a promotor saw us at a gig in Chelmsford, we came back with a record contract. It helps that we live locally, of course, and homecoming gigs are always going to have the best crowds. We're friends with Mat [DJ/Promotor] and he really looks after the artists, which is a bit different to V, the bigger local festival. We've played V twice, and the atmosphere is so different; it's amazing to come and play a homecoming gig to a massive crowd with the added credibility of playing a bigger festival, but when it comes to the big versus boutique festival debate, we firmly side with the underdog. It might surprise you to hear that one of the best gigs we ever played was in Hull! Brownstock's great because you get your friends and family hanging around backstage, and it's my nephew's first festival. V's good, we used to rent a flat in central Chelmsford and could hear it from the back garden, but Brownstock is a real contender.

the milk brownstock performance

Do you ever change your set for a local crowd?

Not really; we play what we want to perform, which is a mixture of new and old stuff, because the crowd's not going to be interested in listening to something if you're not into playing it to begin with. It's 45 minutes of playing to both fans and people who've never heard of you before, so it's more like a musical experience Telling a story? Nah, more like working your way through a musical piece - ranging from fast tracks to ballads. It's a set, not a story, but there is definitely a beginning, middle, and end.

brownstock artist interview

If you're playing new tracks, will your next album be similar to the first? I love the gapless nature of "Tales from the Thames Delta", which joins tracks with Greater Anglia voiceovers and ring tones, any intentions of doing more of the same?

It's still the same kind of sound, but we're not going gapless again. That first album was a bit like a DJ mix of everything one after another, but now we're making moments. That technique was drawn from the soul music we listened to a lot at the time, and the idea behind it was that you listen and you keep going through the whole album - a bit like a live show, really. It maintains that level of energy throughout. The recording was pretty old school, we did it all in one take rather than play separately. We did it in this medieval barn with stone walls, resulting in a sound that isn't too clinical or sanitised; our producer did say it was full of "happy mistakes" and we loved the little imperfections. It's more a show of being musicians than getting it perfect every time.

the milk interview 2013

And, as musicians, does that mean you don't get the festival experience any more?
We played Glastonbury on the Friday this year, and just said that we weren't going home. After finishing our gig on the Left Field stage we had the rest of the weekend to explore the rest of it - the perfect Glastonbury experience. Billy Bragg had asked us to play, and that's a pretty good start, so we made the most of our weekend.

the milk tales from the thames delta

The Milk's first album is currently available on iTunes (and is one of my most played), and click here for more of my Brownstock coverage.


  1. Wow, lucky you for being able to hang out backstage and talk to the band members!

    Xo, Hannah

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