Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

London Grammar

12 June 2013, 11:30 | Written by George O'Brien

London Grammar are one of the most exciting young bands to emerge in the past year with a brand of mature-beyond-young-years pop that utilises a genuinely stunning vocal and an innovative mix of influences.

The band announced themselves subtly by unveiling ‘Hey Now’ online in December before sitting-back and letting the track’s spine-tingling beauty speak for itself. With strong radio support and a featured slot on Disclosure’s debut Settle, we meet the London trio quickly moving up in the world.

How did London Grammar come about?

Dan: I met Hannah at university; I heard her singing once in our halls and was just quite blown away by it. We decided to start playing music together, just playing covers. We were at Nottingham University, so we started doing gigs round there in pubs and bars to like 5 people at a time, which was pretty fun!

Hannah: And then we met Dot.

Dan: Yeah, my girlfriend introduced me to him and then he joined the band; he just happened to have a Djembe drum! And so that’s how it started really, just the three of us playing acoustically.

What were your covers?

Hannah: We used to do ‘Riders On The Storm’, The Doors’ track. And ‘Man’s World’; Robyn ‘Still I’m dying with every step I take”.

Dan: And Florence(+ The Machine). What’s that track called?

Hannah: Oh yeah, that’s a good story. ‘You’ve Got The Love’, and then Florence released it and we were like, “What! Who is this lady!?”

Dan: Who sounds so similar!

How do you feel about the Florence comparison?

Hannah: It’s funny. Especially on ‘Hey Now’ I don’t hear it? I don’t think she sounds anything like that.

Dot: Thing is I remember the first time I ever heard your voice and I thought that a bit. I remember thinking who is that it sounds a bit like? But actually the more you get to know the voice the less it sounds like it. I guess it’s just an immediate knee-jerk reaction; everyone has the need to place things next to something else even if it doesn’t fit, like nothing can exist in a vacuum.

Is there a story behind the name?

Dan: Every time this gets asked I’m like this is a rubbish story!

Hannah: We just liked having London in it, and then Grammar? We just think they just look nice together.

Dot: It’s a wicked thing with the logos and stuff – the symmetry.

London Grammar

Do you design your own logos?

Dot: No sadly not.

Dan: We’re not very good at art!

Hannah: We sort of picked and contributed, but the actual design is by a very clever artiste.


London Grammar

What did you listen to growing up? What are your musical influences?

Dot: We all have really different influences. I grew up listening to a lot of classical and jazz. I did used to listen to pretty of heavy rock music as well, like metal.

Dan: Dot was in a really funny rock band.

Dot: Yeah I was in a rock band called Twelve Titans, we were a really ‘cool’ prog-rock band.

12 minute epics?

Dot: Yeah exactly that. We all like different stuff; for example I hate The Smiths but you (Dan) were more into that kind of stuff. He tried to get me into The Smiths, he made me CD and I threw it out the window.

Dan: I made him a compilation, the tracks I really like, lovingly hand-picked.

Dot: I gave it a few weeks.

Dan: A day…

Hannah: My all time favourite is Michael Jackson. Then I listened to Motown a lot, just whatever my Mum listened to basically, a lot of strong female vocalists. But I do listen to movie soundtracks a lot; we all like Thomas Newman, Hans Zimmer and people like that.

It is quite a cinematic sound.

Dot: We spend a lot of time after songs are written just messing-around with some of the introductions and outros and textures; hopefully some of that will be on the album, I mean it definitely will be.

Can you reveal anything about an album?

Dot: Yeah, I think it’s looking sort of late summer.

Hannah: September.

Does it have a name?

Hannah: It’s gonna be called If You Wait. It’s one of the songs, the last song.

Dan: It’s an incredible song that Hannah wrote; my favourite.

Do you have favourite songs?

Hannah: It’s changed. I don’t know.

Dot: What about ‘Shyer’?

Dan: We talking about songs that no one even knows!

Hannah: ‘Shyer”s not my favourite anymore. It’s different though because there are some I prefer listening to and some I prefer singing. I don’t like singing ‘Hey Now’ that much, but I like listening to it.

Dot: It does change, it’s weird. When you start playing live and see how people react differently to different songs, you realise certain ones were better than your thought and some don’t connect the way you thought.

Hannah: It’s funny ’cause I kind of grew to hate ‘Wasting My Young Years’, and now that we do it live, like yesterday we played a show at the Islington Assembly Hall and people were singing along and I was like, “I love this song now!”

Dot: With ‘Wasting…’, for us it’s very up-tempo, and having that up-tempo chorus you can feel people actually moving; it’s kind of rare for us.

How was the show last night?

Hannah: It was really good. There were like 800 people.

How have you felt about finding success over the internet?

Dot: It means, in a weird way, you can’t shove things down peoples throats as much anymore. Everyone has their own choice of what they wanna listen to and you can’t stop them, so it’s kind of a more honest reflection of your listenership; it’s a completely unbiased thing. For us it’s been amazing so I obviously I’m bound to like it!

What was it like realising people were paying you real attention?

Dot: I remember looking at the Soundcloud plays and then one week we were the top of the Billboard ‘Next Big Sound’; that was like a couple of months in.

Hannah: I don’t think I’ve had that yet.

Dan: You always say this!

Hannah: Because it’s just on the internet. The two big shows – there was one in Leeds, which was like 1200 people, and then last night – that’s when you realise people have come to see us. When it’s just on the internet it’s not tangible.

Dan: Although I get quite excited about the internet.

Dot: Dan has read every word about us! If you write something on the internet he will read it.

Dan: Well Line Of Best Fit have been particularly nice to us, so we love them!

What are you listening to at the moment?

Dan: I’m still yet to listen to the new Vampire Weekend album.

Hannah: Oh I have something to tell you about that – they’re sending our music to the lead singer.

Dan: Really? Oh wow… I’m a massive Vampire Weekend fan. Me and Dot went to see Ruen Brothers in Liverpool, who are playing before us today, they were pretty cool. It’s quite retro; it’s kind of like Arctic Monkeys meets Elvis. What else?

Hannah: Bonobo.

Dot: That’s amazing, we love that album.

Hannah: To be honest I haven’t been listening to very much. I do really like Iggy Azalea. She’s here this weekend, playing tomorrow. We’ve just been so busy; it’s really bad actually but I’m in a London Grammar bubble.

Dot: Especially because we’re mixing the album, so it’s just constantly, “Listen to this mix, listen to this mix”. When you’re listening to other stuff, it’s almost like you’re listening to it in relation to how your own music sounds.

Dan: It was good at first because when we were being played on new music shows, I was hearing new stuff. Like Amazing Radio playing us alongside stuff I’ve never even ever heard, with no following online. There’s some amazing stuff out there.

Do you have any radio sessions lined-up?

Dan: We were supposed to be doing the Amazing Radio one but it’s been moved.

And you’re going to Paris?

Dan: Yeah, that should be cool. Going to Paris, playing David Lynch’s club.

Hannah: When are we doing that!?

Dan: I think it’s next week some time?

Hannah: I thought we had Dot To Dot Festival?

: You’re playing Wednesday, Thursday and then Dot To Dot Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Hannah: Oh okay.

Have you enjoyed the touring you’ve done?

Hannah: We haven’t really done much.

Dan: What we’ve done has been tiring. I think we’ll have a lot to get used to.

Dot: This is kind of just the beginning of the festivals.

What other festivals are you playing?

Dot: We’re doing Longitude, Secret Garden Party, Bestival, RockNess.

Dan: Apparently it’s mad there, like it doesn’t get dark. It’s that far north.

Hannah: It doesn’t get dark?

Dot: But it’s not the Northern Lights, it just doesn’t get dark.

Hannah: That would be really weird; they must not sleep. They’ll have to take melatonin tablets!

Dot: We can’t play unless it gets dark.

Dan: Isn’t that what happens in Iceland?

Dot: Well that’s just seasonal, like they have a constant summer, then a constant winter. Scotland is just constantly nearly enough to see.

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