Creative growing pains

Creative growing pains

Chris Lau speaks to London Grammar's Dan Rothman about the creative process - and a possible Hong Kong visit

London Grammar has been winning acclaim since they released their debut song Hey Now on YouTube in late 2012. Their popularity exploded a few months later with the release of their first EP, Metal & Dust, which made the top five on Australia's iTunes chart. Guitarist Dan Rothman describes that as the start of it all, exclaiming: "It really picked up the momentum."

Looking back, he recalls: "When we first started, we sounded more experimental." Guitars and vocals were all they used in the early days. The beats and percussion were added later, as percussionist Dominic "Dot" Major came on board. The band uses more instruments now, but Rothman says that the change ironically makes them sound more minimalistic, thanks to the electronic and synthesised sounds.

The British indie pop band owes much of its success to their two hit singles: Strong and Wasting My Young Years. Sounding enjoyably grim, both tracks are helmed by lead singer Hannah Reid's soft yet powerful vocals. Despite the fact that they are fan favourites, though, the songs almost didn't make the cut for the band's most recent album If You Wait, when it was released last September.

"We took a long time making the record, and these songs were written right at the beginning [of our career]," Rothman tells Young Post. Wasting My Young Years is a song "Hannah wrote on a piano in her bedroom," he adds.

But when producing a song, Rothman says the demo version - which is probably closest to the composer's original intent - often gets chopped, trimmed and reworked, something that can be taken quite personally.

"What happened was Dominic, the producer, and I had taken bridges in and out of the song after it was written. Then Hannah felt like she had lost her identity," and wasn't sure that she wanted it to be included.

But she changed her mind, and the album was released. It took flight, at one point hitting the number two spot on the prestigious UK Albums Chart. Beyond their home turf, it also quickly ascended to No. 2 on Australia's Aria Charts.

While the trio has no immediate plans for an Asian tour, there is some good news for local London Grammar fans. Rothman has an uncle in Hong Kong, and hopes to pay the city a visit - and he'd love to bring his bandmates with him to play a gig.

"I don't think we will be coming very soon … but we do hope to come towards the end of this year." Until then, you'll just have to be patient, but as their album's title track says, "If you wait, if you wait/ I will trust in time that we will meet again…"

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Creative growing pains


To post comments please
register or