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Q&A - The albums that influenced London's most eclectic band HMLTD

Caligula à la mode?

For years UK 5-piece HMLTD (f.k.a Happy Meal LTD) have been serving up a scintillating brand of glam-pop garnished by a Brideshead-Bowie aesthetic that not only disrupts classic masculinity but slices through it.

Having at last released their debut album West of Eden it's clear the band have finally been given the opportunity to express themselves freely - which is just as well because HMLTD have a treasure trove of lucid commentary on the extant.

“This is not a dystopia, but a mirror up to late capitalism; where we are and where we’re headed. Sick dolphins lap at the tide, the insects have all dropped from the skies and the global economy enters free fall. Ecological catastrophe is guaranteed. The West is dead. Atomised, alienated and apathetic,” says Frontperson Henry Spychalski

West of Eden is as much an album as it is the band's manifesto - a frantic yet artful strike against late capitalism (Highlights include 'Satan, Luella & I' and 'Where's Joanna?'). It invokes an inner conversation; of humble beginnings, of two twins and a she-wolf, of what the world could've been, of Adam had he gone west of Eden.

Recently, HMLTD took the time to share with us the albums that soundtracked their musical progression.

The Clash - London Calling.

"This album has everything that's great about music. It's touching, poignant and empathetic. It's rebellious, radical and revolutionary. It's innovative, original and groundbreaking. This is one of the bands that's inspired us more than any other at the absolute height of their powers. It was maybe the first album to show that punk could be so much more than just cheap, snotty shock tactics; that it could be ambitious and expansive. It exemplifies the notion of punk as ethos, rather than as being connected to any one particular genre. And more than anything, it has banger after banger after banger. Favourite song: Lost In The Supermarket".

Talking Heads - Remain In Light.

"We could really have put any of the major Talking Heads albums here. They're another of the bands that's influenced us more than any other. David Byrne's lyricism is out of this world; a totally inspired writer. His lyrics, more than anyone else I can think of, capture the strangeness of modern life in all its beauty and absurdity. There's a sense of detachment here - as if he's looking at the world through a glass box, or trying to understand life by an encyclopedia. This is epitomised by 'Seen and Not Seen,' one of the most underrated Talking Heads songs. This is modern art".

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral.

"We toured with Nine Inch Nails last November, just after we split up with Sony Music. Trent Reznor would come and talk to us after every show and give us advice on life and music, it was amazing. The thing that stuck with me most was him telling me that all the things he'd regretted in his career, all the mistakes he'd made, were when he listened to other people; took other people's advice; did what other people thought he should do. That as an artist, you had to follow your gut and not listen to what anybody else thinks, and frankly to not give a shit about it. This album is Trent doing exactly that; one person following their gut and doing what they believe in, against the odds and against the excruciating pains of self-doubt. It is an album born out of personal struggle, and one of our biggest influences".

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

"This album came out when we were all teenagers, before any of us had met each other. When we did all meet each other, in 2016, it was one of the records we bonded over. It is so ambitious, and so totally eccentric. More than anything in this band, we hate mundanity and predictability. This album is about as far from mundane and predictable as you can get. It's completely theatrical, and clearly the product of a diseased mind! It is just overflowing with character and personality; a complete tonic to brainless iteration. It's everything that's great about the 50 years of pop music that's preceded it, all rolled into one mind-blowing hour. 'Runaway' is one of the greatest songs of all time".

Death Grips - The Powers That B.

"Death Grips were the band that we really bonded over more than any other. Probably the most innovative and original band of this generation, and the most punk. We're completely indebted to them, and not just because we sampled half of one of their songs on our first single! It's totally confrontational and provocative; they make it impossible for you to respond to them with ambivalence. Either you're completely terrified by them or you're completely electrified; usually it's a bit of both. They do whatever they want and don't give a fuck about what's expected of them. They do everything totally for themselves, and that's why it's completely sincere. A big influence. This is probably our favourite DG album, but their whole output taken as a whole is outstanding. MC Ride's lyrics are massively underrated; he captures the psychotic gluttony and violence of the Internet age better than anyone else. At this point, for lack of a better opportunity, we'd like to note honourable mentions for: Kate Bush: 'The Dreaming'; Abba's best of album: 'Gold'; Scott Walker: 'Tilt.'"


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