ESSEX soulsters The Milk are making quite a name for themselves – with a bit of video help from some famous friends.
James Buckley (Jay in Channel 4’s smash comedy The Inbetweeners) directed the video for their single Every Time We Fight, while actor Stephen Patten starred in the film accompanying this summer’s minor hit No Interruptions.
“We didn’t really know James,” admits Milk drummer Mitch Ayling. “He was a fan of the band. He would often tweet us and was into the same stuff as us, plus we have a mutual friend who looks after his DJ career.
“We met up and we got on and the idea of him starring in the video came up. He said he’d really like to have a go at directing and we said it sounds good to us. So, he took the reins for No Interruptions.”
If the idea of a rampant Jay behind the camera sounds off-putting, Mitch says it wasn’t like that at all.
“He’s so different,” he explains. “He’s nothing like Jay at all. If anything, he’s a quiet lad, he likes to sit and watch TV. He’s a lovely bloke.”
Another ‘lovely bloke’ is Stephen Patten, apparently (star of The Castle and Caught In the Act).
In The Milk’s video for No Interruptions he emerges from a house with bloodied knuckles looking distraught and the film follows him but never reveals the source of his emotional distress. “It’s a hell of a performance, we were blown away,” says Mitch. “We were told about the idea for the video and we were aware of how important that performance had to be – it lived or died by Stephen’s performance.
“He nailed it, you absolutely believe something terrible has happened. For a bloke who looks kind of menacing, he also looks distraught, the emotion going through his face is unbelievable.
“When we met him he was the nicest bloke ever…”
Both videos have helped The Milk further into the spotlight with their latest album, Favourite Worry, which has a smooth soul sound quite different form their 2012 hip hop-influenced debut Tales From the Thames Delta.
“We’ve always been a soul band at heart,” explains Mitch. “We were brought together by a love of soul music, but we started working with Brad Baloo of The Nextmen who pioneered hip hop in the UK in the ’90s so it ended up being this crossover of soul and hip hop that we all dug at the time.
“We got our record deal off the back of it and we got plenty of attention and we liked every track, but this time around we said we want to go back to what we felt we were always best at – being a soul band.”
Favourite Worry evokes the sound of Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes and other ’70s soul legends, and Mitch adds: “We’re now doing all the things we probably should have been doing the whole time…”
The Milk play at the Boileroom, Guildford, on Saturday, October 31. Other forthcoming Boileroom shows include Paul Slack (October 25), Mike Krol (October 26), Keston Cobblers Club (October 30), Anchor’s Lake (November 4), Racing Glaciers (November 5) and Dodgy (November 6).