Dot Major is ready for commitment.
Over the course of recording their debut LP, 'If You Wait On', the London Grammar trio have forged lasting bonds both as musicians and friends. Each of them are in each other's lives, and it is only together that they have been able to enjoy their recent success. It's no wonder, then, that multi-instrumentalist Dot feels like he's in a relationship, one that he hopes will last the distance. As far as this muso is concerned, he's found the one.
"There are a lot of bands where there would be only one or two main writers. I think the fact that we all write means that we had to learn to let go of things. It's a collective vision, so ultimately there are things that you'll disagree with. But the longer the process goes on, the more you assimilate into each other's likes and dislikes and learn to let go of other things. By the end the three of us were on the same page, but it takes time to learn that dynamic. It really is kind of like being in a relationship."
Writing and recording 'If You Wait On' spanned the better part of 18 months. It's a long time to spend fleshing out a single album, even if it's your debut. It's hard to escape the feeling, though, that the members of London Grammar consider that time as a period of musical courtship rather than one of arduous creative struggle. It's arguably that period that has made the band who they are today.
"The actual writing and recording took place over such a long period of time. We sort of developed it over that time sonically as well. It changed a lot over that period, and there are some tracks where you really notice that. [But] I really enjoyed the writing process. We spent about three weeks in this really cool studio called State Of The Art. The guy who owns it modelled it on the old ‘60s studios; there's all the old ‘60s Beatles gear they used in Abbey Road."
This intimate relationship the band now fosters was inevitable, really. Pick a London Grammar song — any song — and listen to the lyrics. Then listen to them again. Those among you with keen ears will realise that these aren't just phonetic pop patterns being pattered out over some nice chords and drum beats. Inhabited within each song is a personal experience which has been painfully yet unashamedly dragged forth into the spotlight.
"Hannah writes all of our lyrics and they're all really personal to her. All of her lyrics are from personal experience and she's really interested in psychoanalysis; if she wasn't in music I think she'd probably want to be a psychoanalyst. So she can't help writing from within herself and I don't think her lyrics would be as great if she didn't. The result is that we know everything about her, but she knows everything about us anyway. I think, though, that there are some great moments in her lyrics that everyone can relate to."
Many Australians are still wondering how London Grammar's music ever managed to wash up on our shores. Wonders of the internet aside, when 'Hey Now' began pummelling the radio waves the band was yet to sign any deal in Australia. Their music hadn't been released here, it wasn't listed on Australia's iTunes store, and fans had no way of buying the single despite hearing it played every day.
“When we put out ‘Hey Now’ we didn't have anything else at the time. We didn't have any press shots or a video. So when it became big we had to react. I have no idea how it happened. It just got to the stage where it was being played three times a day on Triple J. It's mad! We were all just really surprised by it."
Having your song played three times a day does seem a little excessive, despite Triple J's penchant for mashing the station's repeat button into oblivion. But as Dot points out, being played on the radio isn't the kind of overexposure the band is worried about.
“I don't think airplay on Triple J can really be overexposure ... there are things that I don't think it's best to advise new bands to do and you learn what those things are. We've done a couple of things in the past that maybe weren't right. It's important to realise that even as a new band you can be picky about what you do and what you don't do.”
London Grammar's debut album 'If You Wait On' is out Friday September 6. The band play The Falls Byron, which takes place December 31 until January 3. fallsfestival.com