For Dominic ‘Dot’ Major, Hannah Reid and Dan Rothman, their band London Grammar has unintentionally lived up to its name.
That is, their band has been the vessel in which the threesome have graduated from a dorm project at the University of Nottingham, to a globally lauded neo-pop act that has sold over two million copies of their debut If You Wait.
On the eve of releasing Truth Is A Beautiful Thing, their follow up to the aforementioned release, Beat spoke to the band’s drummer, keyboard player and all ‘round production guy Dominic ‘Dot’ Major.
Dot is eager to establish straight up that, “Australia was the first country to embrace us. Triple j picked up Hey Now before it was officially released and put it on high rotation, they must have downloaded it off our Soundcloud because it hadn’t been released yet.”
That was in 2013 with the subsequent popularity of that song on our national youth broadcaster leading to the act being booked for a relatively prime sunset slot on Falls Festival that year.
“We didn’t really let on at the time but Falls was the biggest show we had done and the way we were being treated was so far removed from what we were experiencing in London, where the biggest shows we had played were to three or four hundred people,” Dot says.
In the four years since, London Grammar have toured the world umpteen times with the act triumphantly returning to the most recent Falls – playing the prime time 9pm slot on the main stage. “It was very special to come back to Falls and, in a way, thank those who supported us as now a fully formed professional band with a fully realised live set,” Dot says.
“The songs on our first album weren’t written with a festival set in mind, but with Truth Is A Beautiful Thing the songs are written to be in a live set played on a big stage.”
Ironically, despite having the time and the money to go nuts on production, the first preceding single from the album, Rooting For You, is the simplest of compositions. The song is just Reid’s voice for the two minutes and 17 seconds, whereupon tender orchestral strains bubble up below the powerful vocal melody, not interrupting it, simply framing it ever so delicately.
“When Hannah came to us with the vocals it was so strong that we didn’t want to add anything in there that might possibly distract or take away from her voice. I don’t think on the first record we would have had the confidence to just leave it and not add anything and I think this restraint comes through on the entire record,” Dot says.
While the album’s entire production was helmed by Paul Epworth (Florence & The Machine, Adele), it was ultimately a purely collaborative process where the band’s ideas and vision was equally weighted with the input of Epworth.
Their maturity and production nous was further ratified when esteemed electronic producer Jon Hopkins, agreed to collaborate with the band on what would become their second single from the album, Big Picture. “Over the past few years we have become mutual fans, he started off coming to a few of our gigs and then vice versa.
“It was really interesting to work with him because rather than a typical collaboration where both groups work together on separate parts, Jon almost remixed the parts that were already there, he made soundscapes using the architecture of the song,” Dot says.
Dot comes back to where the London Grammar’s music was first celebrated – Australia, and attempts to surmise what about our culture resulted in London Grammar breaking here before the UK. “In Australia, the music industry feels more independent than back home, and I think triple j plays a major part in that. Other places it feels as though there is a hierarchy, a system, to getting your music recognised.”
Release: Truth Is A Beautiful Thing is out now on Dew Process.
When & Where: Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne – September 19
Written by Dan Watt
Image by Eliot Lee Hazel