LONDON GRAMMAR

Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dominic ‘Dot’ Major forms the british band London Grammar. The trio began their journey back in 2011 and released their first debut EP Metal & Dust in 2013, which was well received by the critics. Later that year their debut album If You Wait followed and went on to go platinum. We had a chat with them about the debut album, their inspiration and future.

The year is 2008, Heath Ledger tragically passed away but then again at the Nottingham University two students named Hannah Reid and Don Rotham met in the halls, not knowing that four years later their debut album would peak at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. The two university students started playing music together and then added the multi-instrumental Dot Major to complete the group.  Once playing gigs as a trio and writing songs they got spotted at a gig in Camden and after that everything changed.

You are in your mid-20s, educated and on the road to emerge, but what would you have done if all this with London Grammar never had happened?
Hannah:  I think Dot would have gone into music because that was his original plan anyway, so I don’t think that would have changed. But for me and Dan, if we hadn’t met it would have been a completely different story really; it’s kind of weird actually.
Don: Yeah, I think that if I hadn’t met you I wouldn’t have been here.
H: Because I would never, never stand in front of people but Dan forced me.
Don: Haha I still force her, so you Dot would have done it.
Dot: Yeah probably.

Time out Magazine as well as The Guardian compares you to The xx and Massive Attack, which are your influences and idols?
Dot: Well Massive attack is definitely one of our influences as a group, they aren’t so many artists we all are big fans of. But Massive Attack is definitively  one of them. The National, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac but in the end we all have very different music tastes kind of. Dan for example is into his indie-band.

The lyrics is just an extension of yourself, that’s why I get nervous singing in front of people

What’s the story behind the name London Grammar?
H: There isn’t really much of a story, it’s just that we were in Nottingham at the time and we’re from London and we love London and it’s something international about London. And we all just thought that grammar sounded very conductive so no interesting story.

It’s almost a year after the release of your breakthrough album If You Wait, what have you been doing?
Don: We had a quite long time before the album, where we build up for it, for about a year and then when the album actually came out, it felt like it changed a lot. And this year the festivals have been kind of testing that.

Do you have a favorite song from the album, that affects you and means more to you than the rest?
H: I think for all of us Hey Now, is our favorite for a lots of reasons. It was the first song that in terms of productions and our sound, that came together and we only wanted the rest of the album to carry that feeling.
Dot: I think that it’s the most important song because it’was the first song we put out to the world. It just feels personal.

Yes, because you first uploaded it on the internet if I’m right?
Dot: Yeah in December 2013 so it’s ages ago.
Don:  No Dot,  it’s was 2012.

London Grammar produces their own beats and lyrics, when I asked them about the darkness and power behind the words, there where no argument Dot and Dan where both pointing at Hannah saying ‘’that’s the dark one’’. Lyrics of  Wasting My Young Years is acknowledged to speak to us about the young years of being lost and not knowing where to aim in life moreover that it takes time to get it right. As well Metal & Dust where you also get a taste of Dot ability making beats, the music we hope soon will be the start of a more electro-London Grammar. While the guys explained that she is the darkest person of them, I asked;

Most of the lyrics are really dark and personal. Do you Hannah have a personal attachment to the lyrics?
H: There is darkness in there, but I think that’s fine, I think that lots of people have a dark side. And yeah I have a personal attachment, I mean the lyrics are just an extension of yourself that’s why I get nervous singing in front of people cause it feels a bit embarrassing.

How do you feel playing in Stockholm and opening up your heart?
H: I think it’s really nice to be here, because we have never been here before. We have been everywhere else in Europe apart from here. So it’s cool.

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Photo by Nils Carmel / location, Popaganda festival in Stockholm

Where is your next stop?
Don: Our next stop is Ireland .
Dot: Yeah we are kind of coming towards the end of the whole album cycle, so we have been touring now for a long time. More than a year. So now we are coming towards the end.

How do you feel making music Dot?
Dot: We went through some producers, because as a new band you’re always going to do that because you learn so much and then I think the guys were working which allowed us and lurked us into doing, and yeah we always have similar ideas about sounds we want and the beats we want and I think if I’m making beats for example I always think of what’s in Dan and Hannah’s heads. We influence each other so much.

What could we expect from you in the future?
Don: We are going to finish of this year, and tour out the gigs that we have and then hopefully at some point start making some new music and making a new album. That’s it, that’s the idea.

And with a new album are you going to go with the same vibe or are you going to experiment with more electronic and up-tempo,  since you for exampel did one song with Disclosures?
H: I think that we are going to experiment a lot; we experimented a lot with our first album. So I think we will.
Don & Dan: Definitively, we will be different. It will be different.


Listen to London Grammar on Spotify below.