'Polarisation is a good indicator, if everybody likes what you’re doing unanimously, then it’s kind of a sign that what you’re doing is most likely quite boring'
I think what I like most about HMLTD is their commitment. For all the hype that has built up around the band over the past year within indie music circles across the capital and beyond, we’ve all seen plenty of part-timers release a couple of singles and get a bit of buzz before fading away. With HMLTD though, you get a sense of something different. You get the sense that they’re so committed to their art as to be indistinguishable from it. You get the sense that they’re the real fucking deal.
It’s easy to be cynical in the world of music journalism – you interview and see so many bands and shows that you can end up feeling somehow above or removed from it all. Turning up to interview a band and seeing them dressed up like some mutation of Adam and the Ants and Judas Priest, you could easily laugh to yourself. “Silly kids, eh?” Witnessing them live with their singer dressed up in a PVC body suit, you could maybe have another chuckle to yourself.
Only, the joke would be on you. All the best music that I know has come from a place of complete commitment to an artistic vision, with no room for self-preservation. The reason why David Bowie was so inspiring was that he effectively lived his art – his chameleon-like transformations borne out not only through his music but his image, his fashion and at times even his lifestyle.
To my mind, HMLTD subscribe to a similar artistic worldview, at a time when it’s been done before – a whole new challenge in itself. Theirs isn’t so much a band as it is a 24/7 art project. In front man Henry Spychalsk they have a living embodiment of their music. The rest of the band are equally committed. When I head along to watch a show of theirs after speaking to the group, I catch Henry and he proudly explains how the band spent the day painstakingly decorating the stage of the bar that we’re in to make sure it properly complements their music. HMLTD are signed to Sony – they don’t really have to give a shit – but they still care immensely about the presentation of their art, even in a small South London pub.
Whether you like their music or not, you’ll have to decide for yourself, but you can’t possibly doubt the dedication of HMLTD to what they’re doing.