In more ways than one, Jim Shaw and Hannah Mee are The King And Queen Of Gasoline.
Joining us, bleary-eyed, from just having woken up on their tour bus, Hot Milk’s dynamic duo of guitarist/vocalists are burning bright right now. Having already completed their first ever U.S. run – dropping straight in as headliners – and smashed the European festival circuit already this year, the Manchester crew are back Stateside. Alongside the likes of Waterparks, Neck Deep and Mayday Parade, kudos has been earned as one of the brightest lights of the massive, touring Sad Summer festival. Chicago’s enormous Lollapalooza showcase has been duly smashed. Hell, they’ve even scored a coveted slot on legendary late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Not bad for a band from the north of England yet to record their debut LP.
“It’s a long way from Preston,” Han grins. “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, really. Our label don’t want us to be here! But we don’t want to make the mistake that a lot of UK bands do: waiting too long to come out just for the sake of having an album. We worked a lot on our live show over the pandemic and, having really had to rely on social media over that period, we knew that there were people in the U.S. to play to. Actually doing it was unbelievable at first, but then you remember that this is what what we’ve been working towards. It’s why you do it. It’s the whole point. This [music] isn’t us you, really. It’s for other people. It’s about being able to spread some connectivity while we’re on planet earth, before we pop our clogs.”
Recording three EPs before moving onto an album was always the plan. Having made waves with 2019’s four-track Are You Feeling Alive?, then properly breaking through on the back of the five bangers of 2021’s I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD, their third offering would continue the build with six songs custom-tooled to see their authors step into arenas. With release day looming, Jim explains that the finished article is the sound of Hot Milk “grown up”. Han expands that that growing up means becoming a better storyteller. And therein come the other, titular, King And Queen Of Gasoline who inhabit this latest set of songs…
“Towards the end of the pandemic, we were living in a way that was a bit too close to the fire,” Han smiles, half ruefully. “We were dousing ourselves in gasoline and getting too near to the flame: staying out through the night until midday the next day, having people who were doing God-knows-what in my house. It seemed like we were getting sucked into an underworld from which there’s not much coming back. So this is our dark side. Those became our alter-egos. These are the people within us that could have kept just kept saying yes, never knowing when to say no…”