London foursome Weird Milk were set to follow up their latest bop ‘Is That Love?’, plus support slots with the likes of Alfie Templeman and Frank Carter, with their first-ever trip Stateside, and a step-up summer full of festivals and whatnot. Unfortunately, that's no longer happening, but as Zach Campbell ("I am one of the two lead singers in the band and also play the guitar (the easy bits)") explains, that doesn't mean they're not using their time well.
Hello Zach! How's it going? Are you feeling okay amid all this virus madness?
It's going well, thanks. If I'm honest I am one of the lucky ones - I came home (back to Buckinghamshire) for Mother's Day, and while I was home the country went into lockdown, so I just stayed.
How has it impacted you so far?
Well, it is a strange one, a once-in-a-generation kind of occurrence. Personally, I'm enjoying the time away from my day job... For so many people I imagine this is a huge inconvenience or a real upset to their routine, but for people in bands or who work in music - 'creatives' maybe, - I think it can turn out to be the opposite. It's given me time to slow down; whether I use the time to read more, drink more coffee, write music or watch TV for like two hours, I feel like it's given me back some control over my days which I haven't had since leaving the nest.
What are you up to on a day-to-day basis? Have you tried making sourdough or banana bread yet?
I am reading a lot. Going for runs or short walks each morning (suspicious of anyone I see, giving them space to pass at a good distance and in every 'morning' exchanged you can hear an acknowledgement of how unusual it is that we've had to leave this room to pass each other). I'm playing guitar and piano and trying to write bits here and there and as I say having occasional bursts of TV binges which feels kind of unavoidable, although too much of that makes me feel bad. I had never before even thought about mashing up bananas and making bread with them, but have made two in the last three weeks.
If you could pick up one new skill while self-isolating, what would it be?
At the risk of sounding cliché, it would be to learn a second language properly - French, Spanish or German. That, to me, would be one of the most valuable things I could and probably will not do with this time.
So what's the plan for you guys - are you able to work on new material at the moment? Do you have many songs already recorded and ready to go?
We are all writing things (Alex and Charlie are isolating at the flat we share in North London), and are sending one another phone recordings of things we think could be good. Before this all happened we had started work on a few demos which we have actually been able to continue with remotely - Alex and Charlie working on music and vocals at home in London and then sending them to me to put my vocals on, that's been a new experience for all of us and has worked quite well. Almost everything except gigs can pretty much go ahead, although being split up doesn't help with collective creativity etc.
Will 'current events' impact what topics you want to write about, do you think?
I would say for me it's too early to tell, but it may be different for others. I can't see how it would for me at the moment, but I do think this will very much be one of those things which we'll be able to view and appreciate with more clarity a few months after it's over. 'Oh yeah remember when we all just had to stay inside, and hugs were banned', kind of thing. I think the only song I'm aware of written about a widespread virus would be that rhyme Ring a Ring o' Roses, the pocketful of posey one?
Are there any particular artists or albums you gravitate to during hard times?
Hmm, I don't have anything I'll regularly go to although there are some that really lend themselves - I found myself putting on Radiohead's In Rainbows the other day, and that was just perfect for it, I was making the second banana bread at the time actually, then went onto The Bends and realised I may not have otherwise put those albums on at that moment, so in a way, the situation had caused me to gravitate toward those albums and they worked. A lot of times I don't think that kind of thing is about having something 'cure' your loneliness or remedy your situation but instead is just about finding something compatible with it.
Do you have any predictions for later this year? About life, music or whatever?
Ooo good question. I can't pretend to have any solid predictions of my own, but I would like to hear some good ones... What I can say is it does feel as though something will happen, or I hope something will. Not necessarily some crescendo or anything, but SOMETHING. This feels too big for there not to be some kind of fallout, a cultural or societal reaction. Ideally, something that transcends economics and politics and just remains quietly altered in a good way, for everyone and forever.
Weird Milk are taking part in new online festival Homeschool, which runs from 8th-10th May - visit homeschoolfest.com for details.