I like to think I know Hannah Currie and Aileen Lynn of Glasgow’s MILK fairly well by now. WHITE drummer and ex-Pooch member Kirstin Lynn introduced me several years ago. What immediately struck me at the time was the excitement in their eyes. I’m not talking about the type of joy you get before opening a non-descript present, but the unquestionable deliriousness of starting something new. They were almost giddy and it was infectious, you couldn’t help but fall in love with them.
It was Jamie Webster of Oran Mor and Instinctive Racoon that presented the girls with their first promoting opportunity and you can still sense the thanks from Currie as she talks about it, “Just as we were finishing up at uni we didn’t have any jobs, Aileen was doing her own journalism stuff and we had been keen to do stuff. Jamie Webster had been asked to put on his own music nights, but didn’t have the time and he asked us, but I don’t think he expected us to do as much as we did. We treated it like a full time job, we would come up with concepts, take the posters out ourselves and literally email every single press contact until they listened to us. From the moment we launched it was such a rush and something we hadn’t experienced, we didn’t want to let go of it. The first one was Dirty Beggars, Open Swimmer and Three Blind Wolves did a wee acoustic set, it was crazy. We did everything we could to promote it ourselves.”
Their events have seen the likes of Bwani, LAW, Blue Sky Archives, Midnight Lion (now Prides), Carnivores, Deathcats, Honeyblood, Vasa, Halfrican, and more pass through Flat 0/1. When you attend an event, you immediately get a sense of intimacy and by 3am you leave knowing someone new every time. The MILK hosts have let their own personalities shine through. Currie also explained it was more of an experience than an event, “There were a couple of things, we loved; live music and we would go to gigs/festivals and think how do we do this? So when this came along it was like it was sent from the Gods. There have been a few gigs we have been to that have been a bit cliquey, you weren’t part of it and we never wanted MILK to be like that. We never wanted a set clientele or group of people that came to our nights. We got excited when we saw different age ranges and people from different musical backgrounds. It bothers me when friends say they are too old for that, but it isn’t like that. It is about creating something that people can be part of. Our line-ups are all our dream line-ups and gigs that we would want to attend.”
The line-ups have always been described by the girls as gigs that they themselves would want to go to, Glasgow can be a bit of an over familiar microcosm, but it is so rich in musical talent and community that they are never short of artists requesting to play the night. As for Currie’s favourite event? “I think still probably the first birthday party which I have harped on about and really should probably let it go of it. We reformed Drive By Argument, Jocasta Sleeps and Theatre Fall. I have friends who were split on opinion, but it sold out in 2 hours. We put tickets on sale in advance which we never do and my grandpa had just passed away and I know it sounds a bit full on, but it got me through that experience. We were very close and I was distraught, but at the same time the high of this event carried me through. That applies to lots of MILK events, they have helped me through some really difficult times.”
I see the work Currie and Lynn put into what they do and I see how vulnerable they can be at times, but I also see the strength they have. You immediately tend to bond when you are a female working via these platforms, as they are still very male-dominated. I suppose I have recognised what they want to do. It is not about making a name for yourself, it is about creating a branch that people can use to help expose their talents. However, it is not all sweetness and light. When you do something out of love then there comes an added pressure. It is a pressure that you put on yourself, the fear of failure sometimes can be overwhelming, but at the same time it is that old cliché of these things making you stronger. For Currie this is also apparent, “It’s a continuous thing of worry and nerves that it is not going to fill up. From finishing one event right through the planning and the set up of the next then you are terrified it isn’t going to busy. We just want it to be the best it can be for the bands. We want to keep it cheap as we don’t have a lot to pay the bands. The only thing we can offer then is that it is going to be a really great show. If that doesn’t happen then it is devastating and actually affects me for a few days. We have been really lucky we have never not had enough to pay the bands, but there have been nights it has been rammed and other that it isn’t which is inevitable. That is so hard, I have genuinely felt like going to the bathroom and crying.”
Some of the most satisfying things, however, are the doors that MILK has opened up for the pair. They have gained positions at Scotcampus, STV and more and it all stems from what they learnt doing MILK, “Without MILK I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing. I wouldn’t have got my first job. I totally advocate going out and doing your own thing. We got a door opened for us and we took it, if you get the opportunity, then run with it. By all means take influence and inspiration from people, but do your own thing. It got me my first job in a music venue in Stirling at The Tolbooth, I learnt about all types of music and marketing then I went onto film production. Everything ties in and it has helped Aileen. Our CVs are full of things that are associated with MILK also fundraising opportunities.”
The next MILK event sees the pair celebrate their 4th Birthday, which is an unbelievable milestone. Stamina in this industry is one of the most important things to possess. Poor Things, Amatr Art and Carbs will be leading the celebrations at Flat 0/1, and you can find full details via their Facebook event. The future will certainly not be dairy free and Currie’s final comments sum up exactly what they bring, in my eyes, to Glasgow, “People getting together and listening to music is a total cure all as you are completely in that moment, that can’t be taken away from you.”