We caught up with Harry Handford, lead singer of the Midlands indie group to find out what life’s like when your star is on the rise, but exams loom large
April is a biggie for the indie foursome Spilt Milk Society who have been performing together for less than a year. The boys will be headlining the Rainbow in Digbeth, playing the O2 Institute in Birmingham, 229 venue in London and The Grapes on their old stomping ground in Stafford. BBC Introducing spotted their potential back in January playing Help Me Out while Dermot O’Leary aired For the Last Time on his Radio 2 show. Dermot even interviewed Harry and Adam’s mum, Penny! So let’s introduce the band. We’ve got Chan on drums, Josh on lead guitar, Adam (Harry’s big brother) plays bass guitar and Harry is lead singer, guitarist and writer. Each member is into a different genre of music from blues, heavy rock and indie plus Chan is a DJ which makes for an eclectic set of influences. Harry says: “We’d class ourselves as indie rock, but not sloppy indie. It’s more precise than that.” (Have a look yourself at the band’s Soundcloud.)
The group formed quite naturally. Harry and Adam played music together at home, Chan is Harry’s best mate from school and Josh was decorating the Handford’s kitchen when he happened to mention his musical leanings to Mrs H who promptly put him in touch. Harry explains: “We had a session together and instantly knew it worked and we had something really good.” The band has been approached by ‘minor people’ in terms of management but they’re holding out for something more solid. When we talk about ambitions, their goals are refreshingly down to earth. Harry says: “The goal is to tour, but we’ve got benchmarks really. Our first one was to gig in Birmingham, which we’ve achieved. We know the odds are against us but we rate ourselves obviously!” The band had been playing around Wolverhampton and Stafford previously, so Birmingham is a step up. When Dermot O’Leary’s show came knocking that was pretty ‘surreal’ and got even more so when Harry’s mum was interviewed. Harry says: “We’d been working hard and it was a great moral boost.” Social media has been the best source of promotion and the band has enjoyed positive feedback across their chosen platforms.
GOOD OLD PENNY!
Chan and Harry are 16 and 17 respectively with the older two in their early twenties, so exams are an issue this year. Harry is taking maths, history and music A-Levels in the summer with his chosen universities demanding A-A*. No pressure then. Harry, or certainly his mum, feels a break from rehearsing in March and again in June to revise and sit exams seems sensible. “My mum’s quite into me doing well in education.” In fact Penny who pops up now and again as we chat has been financially supportive too loaning the boys the money to make their first EP. “Good old Penny!” Highlights of the last nine months have been headlining the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham in February along with a series of house parties they’ve taken on to hone their performance. It sounds like a complete hoot. Harry adds: “It’s been brilliant. We’ve had crowd surfing in someone’s living room.” We predict the lads will be enjoying themselves in significantly larger venues very soon.