Are you already sick of the hype? Or are you still up for it? These days British newcomer trio LONDON GRAMMAR are almost everywhere. Their debut album If You Wait entered Number Two of the British album charts, only beaten by the almighty ARCTIC MONKEYS. The number of fans and follows grows faster than the number of positive reviews for their music. And, yes, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION also made it its album of the week last week. We absolutely love to put even more gasoline on the buzzing fire of these three people because they clearly deserve it.
During these busy weeks of success and playing probably everywhere they can we found the time to ask LONDON GRAMMAR a few questions about their new found fame, this distinctive element of sadness in their music and what the future holds up for them. Get to know singer Hannah Reid and her fellow musicians Daniel and Dot better right here.
So sad that you couldn’t play at this year’s Berlin Music Week due to illness.
Daniel: Yes, so sorry we couldn’t make it, but we will be back!
Anyway, it must be quite an exciting time for you. The response to “If You Wait” is immense. It seems like everybody loves you at the moment?
Daniel: It seems to be pretty positive so far, and that’s as much as we can hope for at this point. We have had such amazing support from all different people, and we are extremely grateful for it. We just hope that it continues for as long as possible!
How would you explain the sound of the album?
Daniel: It is quite a dark record, full of emotion and sadness. We wanted to make a record that had a consistent mood and atmosphere, and we think we managed to make that possible. A lot of people will find the album to be quite chilled out, and restrained.
I read that you formed your band in University. Can you say something about how you met and LONDON GRAMMAR occurred?
Daniel: Hannah and I met in our first year of university, as we stayed in the same halls of residence. We began playing cover songs together in local bars and pubs, and then we started to write our own material. Soon after I met Dot at a house party, and as we were looking for a drummer he more or less started straight away. From that point onwards we began playing gigs around the country as a trio.
Any backgrounds in music?
Daniel: Me and Dot have always been in bands, at school with friends. And Hannah has always sung and written songs. But LONDON GRAMMAR is the first professional music experience for all of us.
LONDON GRAMMAR: “Hannah writes all of what she sings”
What kind of instruments do you use in the new album?
Daniel: The main instruments used are Guitar, Piano and Drums. We also were lucky enough to have some live strings recorded, which were arranged by the legendary Wil Malone. There is of course a lot of electronic and synth programming on the album.
Some people compare you to THE XX… I guess you’re already sick of hearing this. Any explanation for it? Is it the simplicity of the sound?
Daniel: I think there are some similarities in the production, mainly the space. And both us and THE XX also tend to use a lot of reverb on vocals and guitar parts.
I read that Hannah Reid writes a lot of the songs her self. One of your songs “Wasting My Younger Years” is about her ex-boyrfriend. How much Hannah Reid is in this album?
Daniel: Hannah writes all of what she sings, so you could so they is quite a lot of her in this album. This record is written entirely by the three of us, with no outside writers involved so it is very personal to us all.
Hannah, when was the first time you – sort of – “discovered” your voice and what it is capable of?
Hannah: I have always written songs since an early age, and I used to sing at school. But it only became a serious discovery when I met Dan in our first year at university.
How is it creating a song out of one persons feelings?
Hannah; It is difficult, because you have to expose those feelings to lots of people. I find it particularly difficult then singing those songs to hundreds of people at gigs. It is an emotional experience.
You got the interesting KAVINSKY cover of “Nightcall” on your album. Any story behind this? Probably one related to the movie “Drive.”
Daniel: (. Well, we do all love the movie and the soundtrack as a whole. But basically we were in the studio one night, and our producer Roy suggested doing a cover of the song. Dot sat by the piano and started playing the melody in a quite classical style, and the cover was born. It was recorded really quickly, and completely live. We then added the breakbeat afterwards.
How is the rest of the year looking for you?
Daniel: Lots of gigging and touring. We start touring America in just a couple of weeks, followed by a tour in the UK and then one through Europe. We are in fact playing two shows in Germany at the start of November!
If you could release this album in a different time era, which one and why?
Daniel: That’s an interesting question! We would probably say….. mid to late 1970s because we all dream of playing a gig with FLEETWOOD MAC.
Final question – what do hope and passion mean to you?
Probably the music we make, and what we hope to achieve with it. Which is really to keep working on the music for as long as we possible can. We ‘hope’ we get to still record a few more albums!
Interview by Ida Marie Tangerås