Meet the lipstick-loving riotous post-punk band who were once in a legal battle with McDonalds
For ten hours a day, five days a week, six-piece band HMLTD work on their sound and stage designs from a windowless bunker in Shoreditch.
“We don’t want to get distracted by the outside world,” says guitarist Duke Peterman. Debut single “Stained” is a journey into a depraved, psychedelic unknown, where singer Henry Spychalski’s Lux Interior-esque theatrics do battle with Peterman’s clanging guitar noise.
The song’s video, directed by the group’s regular collaborator Jenkin van Zyl, is a Hieronymus Bosch painting brought to life, complete with animal carcasses, circus freaks, plumes of coloured smoke and pools of mucus. The band avoid discussing their influences in interview – they’re not interested in revivalism.
“I don’t think we’ve ever sat around and listened to a band, that’s not something we do,” says Spychalski. "We're a band of six different personalities. There are a thousand different influences, from post-punk to trap to techno — but there's an intentional refusal to be (labelled), to dispute categorisations.”
They're not fussed about discussing the legal battle they got into with McDonald's either, over the band's original name, Happy Meal Ltd. “The old name didn’t really suit us anymore - it’s kind of satirical and it’s ironic and we aren’t really interested in irony,” Spychalski explains. “Now, you can assign whatever meaning to it - we give it the meaning. We’ve outgrown it.”
Instead, HMLTD are focused on developing a paint-soaked, clothing-optional live spectacle in which music and art collide. Last year, they played a wall-juddering show at Somerset House for a Charles Jeffrey Loverboy presentation; the week we talk, they’re busy turning the 100 Club into a cloud-flecked fantasia for a sold-out performance.
“With live shows, we want to offer a level of inclusion that no one else does,” says Spychalski. “We want people to be part of something forward-moving. Something with purpose.”