Soul-Searching in Song: An Interview with Irish Indie Pop Band milk.

milk. © Nicholas O'Donnell
milk. © Nicholas O'Donnell
An undeniable artist-to-watch with provocative lyrics and an intoxicating sound, Irish indie pop band milk. explore our endless quest for identity and understanding in new singles “London.” and “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” taken off their upcoming third EP.
for fans of The 1975, Holly Humberstone, Charli Adams, EDEN
Stream: “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” – milk.




We try to make art that we can all stand behind and that represents us honestly, and it seems people have really resonated with this so far.

It’s often hard to say what makes a certain piece of music pop!, but with Dublin’s milk., the answer is so easy that it feels almost too obvious: The Irish indie pop band make music that is consistently clever, catchy, and cathartic. Over the course of four years and three EPs’ worth of material, they’ve tapped into a formula (or lack thereof) that works for them – one that combines deeply intoxicating music with intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics (and a healthy helping of wit, whenever possible).

I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours? - milk.
I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours? – milk.
Hey man, what you doing?
Have you got plans?
Can I come to them?
And I’ll drop this act you’re believing.
That’s a funny line.
It’s deceiving.
I’m too scared of changing.
So I’m thinking about rearranging.
I don’t mind how you perceive me.
But the truth is.
I wouldn’t believe me.

The singles off the band’s as-of-yet unreleased third EP have proved especially powerful, setting the scene for what promises to be their most immersive and irresistible release yet. Following 2022’s singles “Human Contact.” and “I Might Bore You.” – the latter of which was featured in Atwood Magazine’s 73rd Editor’s Picks, where we called it a “bustling, shuffling, and shimmering affair” – milk. returned this year with the tracks “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” and “London,” both of which find the band ruminating on questions of identity, purpose, and being a human in the digital age.

Released in September, “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” is an especially vulnerable purge wrapped in lush sonics:

Can someone with an opinion give it to me.
And dictate what I say.
I’m made up, I’m pastiche.
I said the punchline louder.
That jokes not yours anymore.
I think I’m after losing my number can I have yours?
I’m not sure what I believe about myself anymore.
I think I’m after losing my number can I have yours?

“To me the song is about the feeling that you lack or have lost what you once felt was your identity; especially in the digital age,” milk.’s vocalist Mark McKenna tells Atwood Magazine. “The name came from this idea that we are all identified by our own unique number but we are all still just numbers. When we feel our identity is lacking we turn to what or who we see as interesting and feel we should mimic it.”

“I think for me COVID granted me (as well as the world) a lot of time to really just sit with myself,” he adds. “I stopped needing to shape shift or be a certain person around anyone because the option was taken away from me. It let me feel comfortable with who I am. The lack of influential media being generated at the time also left little to influence me. I think the song lives in both worlds of self reckoning and observation because, to the point of the song, this isn’t a hyper-specific original thought or problem. It’s something we all experience, whether we see that or not.”

Can someone with an opinion give it to me.
And dictate what I say.
I’m made up, I’m pastiche.
I’m not sure if I even mean what I say anymore.
I think I’m after losing my number can I have yours?
milk. © Sam Keeler
milk. © Sam Keeler



“London.,” the band’s latest single, explores the ways in which places and people influence us; how our identities can change depending on the environment we’re in. With lyrics like “Is that my reflection I’m seeing, or is it just a disguise?” and “Tell me what you know about living with the feeling that you’re insignificant,” milk. continue their endless soul-search, plundering their own intimate depths while creating a space where artist and listener alike can connect to a part of their humanity.

It rips my heart out.
Standing on the tube.
I thought she was looking at me but she was looking at you.
Tell me what you know about living
with the feeling that you’re not intelligent.

I only say that cause I’m just not getting it..
Got a lot of feelings and they’re all irrelevant.
I only say that cause I don’t understand them.
I’m inconsiderate, insignificant, tell lies to myself like a sycophant.
I know I’m inconsiderate, insignificant, tell lies to myself like a sycophant.
Tell me what you know about living
with the feeling that your walls are limiting.
I’m only asking cause I can’t see over them.
Got a lot of feelings but they’re all just visiting.
I only say that cause I’m just considering

Comprised of Mark McKenna (vocals), Conor Gorman (lead guitar), Morgan Wilson (drums), and Conor King (bass), milk. are an undeniable Atwood Magazine artist-to-watch – an easy favorite for fans of The 1975, The xx, The Japanese House, and Holly Humberstone. Their third EP, set to release this fall, promises to be one of the year’s best, and in December they’ll embark on a winter headline tour hitting eleven cities in the United States.

We caught up with McKenna and Wilson to chat about the band’s upcoming tour, their new songs, and our shared, endless search for identity and meaning. Catch up with milk. in our interview below, and get tickets for their tour on milkthemusic.com!

— —

:: connect with milk. here ::
milk. © Nicholas O'Donnell
milk. © Nicholas O’Donnell



A CONVERSATION WITH MILK.

I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours? - milk.

Atwood Magazine: Welcome back milk.! This is your first track in about a year; how have you guys been since “i might bore you” and “human contact” came out?
 

Morgan Wilson: We’ve been good. Since these releases, we’ve played a lot of shows and really developed our sound as a live band through playing these tunes. Having the lads around so much and knocking about in America has definitely strengthened us all as both songwriters and mates. It’s been a good year for us.

From its striking name to its spellbinding chorus, “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” is a head turning song. How did this track come about?

Mark McKenna: I had always wanted to get into production but never fully committed. During COVID, I felt if there was ever a time to learn something, that was it. Over the course of a year I recorded every idea I had and this song always felt like one of the strongest ideas to me. I wrote the keys part that starts the song when I was bored one day and it reminded me of The Beatles a little, so I decided to keep it in a ‘traditional’ world and avoided using any very modern sounds or big synths. I also didn’t want it to be too close to The Beatles, so in the end we took it in a more folk direction.

What’s the story behind the name, “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours?” And by that I mean, what does the song’s name mean to you?

Mark McKenna: To me the song is about the feeling that you lack or have lost what you once felt was your identity; especially in the digital age. The name came from this idea that we are all identified by our own unique number but we are all still just numbers. When we feel our identity is lacking we turn to what or who we see as interesting and feel we should mimic it.

milk. at Electric Picnic © Mollie McKay
milk. at Electric Picnic © Mollie McKay



You’ve previously talked about this song being about loss or lack of identity. How does that theme resonate with you - in other words, were you in place of reckoning yourself when you were writing this track, or is it based more so on observing others?

Mark McKenna: I think for me COVID granted me (as well as the world) a lot of time to really just sit with myself. I stopped needing to shape shift or be a certain person around anyone because the option was taken away from me. It let me feel comfortable with who I am. The lack of influential media being generated at the time also left little to influence me. I think the song lives in both worlds of self reckoning and observation because, to the point of the song, this isn’t a hyper-specific original thought or problem. It’s something we all experience, whether we see that or not.

I don’t mind how you perceive me, but the truth is, I wouldn’t believe me.” Do you mind sharing about this line? It’s stayed in my head for weeks!

Mark McKenna: Both verses end with a meta, almost 4th wall breaking line. This specific line comes from the song being about our own public personas/performances that we take on. Reminding the listener the song is a performance in and of itself and we, as a band, care what you think about it. I don’t think this line solely sums up the song but it’s close.

I’m too scared of changing.
So I’m thinking about rearranging.
I don’t mind how you perceive me.
But the truth is.
I wouldn’t believe me.
milk. © Sam Keeler
milk. © Sam Keeler



Do you think the narrator of this song finds any sort of peace, or catharsis in this song, or is he still searching by the time music fades?

Mark McKenna: Based on how fast the world changes and we change with it I feel like the answer is still searching. People can be set in their ways and know what they like and who they are but our taste will always change. We will always be discovering new forms of art that can influence us or something we identify with in ways we never experienced.

Tell me what you know about living with the feeling that you’re insignificant.” Oof. Can you share a little about your latest single, “London.”?

Mark McKenna: “London.” is about the overwhelming realisation that the world is much bigger than us or anything we’ll ever do. Much like “I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours,” it’s about identity. How a person or place can make you feel one way and another person or place make you feel different. It always made me question my place in the world and how well I know myself. “London.” became the title because it’s the only city in the world where I feel that overwhelming feeling you typically hear people get from New York.

I went to London.
Who the f am I?
Is that my reflection I’m seeing
or is it just a disguise?

Tell me what you know about living
with the feeling that you’re insignificant.
I’m only asking cause I can’t get rid of it.
Looking for a meaning but they all look different.
I only say that cause I’m just considering
I’m inconsiderate, insignificant, tell lies to myself like a sycophant.
I know I’m inconsiderate, insignificant, tell lies to myself like a sycophant.
"London." single art - milk.
“London.” single art – milk.



What is milk.’s own identity like at this juncture? Where and how do you see yourselves these days?

Morgan Wilson: It is always developing, but I think our sonic identity of late has been changed for the better through our use of more live instrumentation and writing in the same room more often. This hasn’t always been a possibility for us, and having the means to do it has really brought renewed excitement and interest to our writing process. As regards how I see us, we’re musicians and friends. We try to make art that we can all stand behind and that represents us honestly, and it seems people have really resonated with this so far.

What’s exciting you most for the rest of the year?

Morgan Wilson: I’m really excited to share our new music with the world, as we’ve all been working on them for a long time and they typically take on another life when finally released. I feel our sound has really developed, and everything we’ve got ahead of us I’m truly proud of. We’ve just announced our biggest run of headline shows to date in the USA, London and Dublin, and it really feels like a significant step forward. Glad to be here.

— —

It rips my heart out.
Standing on the tube.
I thought she was looking at me
but she was looking at you.

Tell me what you know about living
with the feeling that you’re not intelligent.

I only say that cause I’m just not getting it..
Got a lot of feelings and they’re all irrelevant.
I only say that cause I don’t understand them.
I’m inconsiderate, insignificant,
tell lies to myself like a sycophant.

I know I’m inconsiderate, insignificant,
tell lies to myself like a sycophant.

— —

:: connect with milk. here ::



— — — —

I Think I Lost My Number Can I Have Yours? - milk.

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? © Sam Keeler

:: Stream milk. ::



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