TRIO London Grammar have emerged as one of the UK music industry’s brightest hopes in 2013 and release a highly anticipated debut album on Monday. We spoke to one third of the talented band Dan Rothman about their meteoric rise.
FEW acts have seen their star rise quite so quickly during 2013 than London Grammar.
The young trio, who met while studying at university in Nottingham, were near unknowns at the turn of the year when the music press made their annual ‘one to watch’ lists.
However, their first official single release, the ethereal Wasting My Young Years, strode confidently into the UK Top 40 after Radio 1 playlisted the track.
Now, second single Strong has also made the playlist and also been heralded by daytime DJ Greg James as his record of the week.
Musician Dan Rothman told us that the Radio 1 support had been crucial.
He said: “The Radio 1 thing has been incredible for us. Their support throughout has been the difference.
“It is amazing that a radio station of that size can back a band like us.
“Getting the singles on the playlist was a big thing we wanted to do before the album came out.
“Greg James has been amazing and has supported us from the very beginning and we are very grateful to them.”
You would not peg London Grammar as an obviously mainstream-sounding band.
However, the success of similarly dark and melancholic acts like The XX has seemingly opened up doors and tastes.
I asked Rothman if he thought the band would have wide appeal when they were setting out.
“I guess we did and we didn’t,” he said. “I felt that we could appeal to lots of people from lots of different musical backgrounds but whether it would appeal to a mainstream musical background like Radio 1 could have been debated – I had not really thought about it.
“It has just been an incredible bonus.”
The aforementioned The XX are an obvious comparison for London Grammar, due to the sparse musical landscapes they both create.
However, the incredible new single Strong has more than a hint of Massive Attack’s Teardrop about it – no bad thing at all.
Rothman said: “The three of us all differ a lot in terms of influences and tastes but there are some bands that we crossover on.
“The Massive Attack thing is a fair point because Dot and I were listening to a lot of trip-hop from the 1990s, like Massive Attack and Portishead, but we weren’t looking to make a Massive Attack record.
“I think it is the beat on Strong that makes people make that comparison because there is a bit of Teardrop about it.
“Hannah is massively influenced by The National and Dot and her are also very much into listening to film composers.”
Rothman said that the chemistry between the three band members was quickly evident as they started making music together.
He also told us about the first time he heard London Grammar’s stunning vocalist Hannah Reid sing.
He said: “I met Hannah in my first year at university and we met Dot after. I think there was a chemistry straight away. I had been in other bands before and it was just different this time from the very beginning.
“With Hannah’s voice it was obvious that there was something there special and Dot and I were playing catch-up in a way to create the perfect soundscape for what is an incredible voice.
“The first time I heard her sing was kind of extraordinary. Her voice has actually changed a lot – it was a lot more Florence Welch when we started out as she was young and not used to singing.
“As she has sung more and more it has changed so dramatically but her range and ability to sing in any kind of style was there from the start. It is an amazing ability to be able to do that.
“I guess we are really, really lucky that we all got to meet.”
The band release debut album If You Wait on Monday and it is an accomplished piece of work.
Rothman said the band were hugely excited about getting the record out.
“It has been a long wait for us to release it,” he said. “We have been working on it for so long.
“Getting it finished was a big step for us and now that it is done and we have the release date, we are just waiting for other people to hear it.
“With most bands when it comes to a debut record you spend four to five years making it as it is your first one. Getting down and recording it took the best part of a year from writing to demoing to going into the studio.
“It was an amazing process though. We all learned an incredible amount and we are certainly very proud of it.”
The trio tour the UK in October and Rothman particularly can’t wait for a show at a venue he knows like the back of his hand.
He said: “The rescue rooms date is the one I am most looking forward to as I saw a lot of shows there when I was at university.
“I always wondered if I would get the chance to play there and headline so I am really excited and I really love that venue.”
London Grammar play Nottingham Rescue Rooms on October 22. See the venue for tickets.