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“It’s a weird time,” says Becky Blomfield, a week before the release of Milk Teeth’s eponymous second album. COVID-19 has seen the punk rock trio cancel live gigs for now, “the right thing to do,” the singer/bassist states, “because we don’t want to contribute to travelling and spreading. But it’s definitely uncertain times for people in music.” Even so, Em Foster (guitar), Jack Kenny (drums) and she have created an album of which they’re “super proud”. Here, she tells us more about its creation before addressing inclusivity and mental health.

Congratulations on the album – we read that you nearly didn’t make it at all…

Yes. We had a lot going on behind the scenes. It was three years in the making and we all wanted to quit. But we didn’t and I’m really proud we got it finished and it’s coming out.

Talk us through the video shoot for ‘Given Up’ – it looks a lot of fun.

Our drummer Jack made a comment about how it would be funny to do a video in black metal makeup and that kind of turned into black metal clowns. Originally we were going to do it with a big children’s party and scare them all, but the label then realised children need more than three weeks’ notice, so we ended up changing plans. It was very silly, all the actors that played the posh people in the club did a really good job and it was fun to have people to bounce off.

albumWho did the album artwork?

A German guy called Jens Wortmann, and it was a really cool story. I had him in mind because I loved his collage work for years, and he actually approached us and said he’d made some posters for our tour with PUP. I was like, ‘that’s such a strange coincidence, I was going to ask you if you would do our album artwork.’ We got chatting and he was fully on board. We gave him free rein, the spec was fairly broad, we gave him references of work he’d done previously which we liked and let him take it from there.

As a band, you’re advocates of queer rights.

We’ve always been a band that supports all people, no matter what ethnicity, gender identity or sexuality.

Is that addressed in individual songs?

Not so much, it’s more to do with the welcoming atmosphere we want at shows. We will call people out if there is any homophobia or racism; we don’t want that at our shows, people will be removed. The only reference to my own bisexuality is in the song ‘Medicine’, on the new record. But I’m also really open to people interpreting our songs in a way that applies to their own lives – that’s really cool.

You’ve spoken about the much-needed improvements to mental health services, what’s your current position on where we’re at in that area?image_334

Hugely underfunded. I’m very worried about a lot of people in the country right now with what’s going on with access to support. The waiting list is so long and it’s not the NHS’ fault, it’s the government. There are charities that do amazing work and I guess my advice would be to take solace in those places right now because that’s all we really have.

In the band, do you discuss your own mental health with each other?

Yes, we’ve had to be very open. The three of us all suffer varying degrees of different mental health issues, have done for years, and we need to be able to say ‘I’m having a really shit day’, ‘this is where I’m at right now’, ‘I can’t take on this much’ or ‘I need some time off’. There’s a mutual respect and an understanding and that’s super important. It’s hard to take a lot on if you’re not in a good way and we’ve always said health first, band second. It’s more important to us that the three of us are alright.

Milk Teeth is available 27 March.

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