Dot From London Grammar on brit award nominations, sell out tours and The two acts he’s met that have left him starstruck
London Grammar are a band that need no introduction, so let us just say that in between a third appearance in Radio 1’s Live Lounge and a trip to the BRIT Awards, Dot (keys, drums & more) made time to chat to the Bristol Beats Club about

  • The best way to tackle Radio 1’s Live Lounge
  • London Grammar’s most recent tour being ‘suddenly just so professional’
  • Being turned away from his own gig
  • BRIT award nominations
  • How it feels to have real fans
  • Meeting his idols (and how he might react to Barack Obama)
  • The band’s underlying connection with the Bristol trip-hop scene

and few other bits and pieces. Have a listen, it’s a tasty interview.

Bristol Beats Xx

Image: Recontres Trans Musicales

Podcast Transcript

Damian:  Hello and welcome to Bristol Beats Club On Tour interview with — who’s the interview with?

Sound engineer:  With the London Grammar.

Damian:  London Grammar?

Sound engineer:  Yeah.  London Grammar.

Damian:  Are you sure?  BRIT Award nominated London Grammar…

[‘Strong’ by London Grammar plays] [Phone rings]

Unknown Speaker 1:  Hello?

Chris:  Hi.  Is that Dot?

Dot:  Yes,  it’s Dot.

Chris:  Hi Dot.  My name’s is Chris.  I’m calling from the Bristol Beats Club.

Dot:  Hi,  how it’s going?

Chris:  Good.  It’s good. I’m just here with my colleague Damian and we wanted to chat to you about the live lounge session that you did today.

Dot:  Cool.  Ok, cool.

Chris:  So we heard you Radio 1… how was that?

Dot:  Yeah, it was cool. I mean it was funny because it was the third one we’ve done in not-too-long-a space of time… when you’re so busy on the road it gets really hard to prepare for them but I think that’s kind of what they should be, they’re kind of a bit busked out and we were basically practising the song on the last day in sound check. But no, it was really good fun.

Chris:  We though it must have been annoying because you were probably all prepared for our interview and then Radio 1 picked you up.

Dot:  [laughs] Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Damian:  Obviously you guys are on tour at the moment.  How’s that going?

Dot:  Great.  And it’s been amazing… an amazing tour.  It’s the first tour we’ve done when all of a sudden it’s just so professional… we’ve got this huge crew and all this kind of crazy gear and… I don’t know… it definitely feels like it’s gone up the level but it’s great ’cause yeah it’s amazing to just play to kind of a fun crowd now. It’s wonderful.

Damian:  That’s cool man.  Anything funny happened?

Dot:  Well, I mean, oh yeah, that’s what I mean about it’s getting more professional. The other day we were in Cambridge and it’s so professional now that everyone has passes. Before if you didn’t have your pass it doesn’t matter, anyone can get in anywhere really, whereas now it’s just got to another level… it’s so professional I actually couldn’t get into my own gig in Cambridge. Our tour organisers usually put these pictures everywhere so they can see the picture I guess but they didn’t have a picture and I had to get someone down to get me into the gig.

Chris:  To verify that you were in fact part of London Grammar and playing there that evening.

Dot:  Exactly yeah.

Damian:  It would’ve ruined the gig, wouldn’t it, if you didn’t get in? 

Dot:  Well, yeah.

Chris:  And as part of the tour you’re come Bristol, which is obviously why we’re chatting to you.  Are you excited for the date on Monday?

Dot:  Definitely, yeah.  I mean it was the original end of the tour.  We’ve had to chuck a couple of shows back in Brighton and London but it will still feel like the end of the tour because it’s kind of the end of the run of dates.  So yeah we’re really excited for it.

Damian: We all know why it’s the end of the run of dates.  You’ve got a little thing called the BRIT Awards, haven’t you?

Dot:  Yeah, well.  Actually it was originally the end of the dates but it’s obviously a good thing that it is. Yeah, the BRITs is… it’ll be a fun day out. I mean, we’re not going to win it but it’ll be a fun day out.

Chris:  You say that.  You’ve got a lot of steam of this last year.  It must have been a manic ride for you.  You’ve definitely picked up huge amounts of attention and like you say you’ve gone up a level.

Dot:  Yeah, yeah.  It’s just amazing to be associated with those bands that are nominated because they’re all, I guess, they’re really our peers and are kind of a bit ahead of us and have been going for a bit longer. I mean, Tom [Odell] obviously won the critic’s choice last year but it’s just great to be in that company now.

Damian:  You actually said last year in an interview “we’re sort of in that transition from translating buzz into real fans.”

Dot:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Damian:  So you must have some real fans now, I guess?

Dot: Yeah, yeah we do, for sure. It still feels crazy every time we see them and just interact with them and they’ve just been so good on all these gigs.

Damian: You say that you interact with your fans, have you had any strange experiences yet, now that you’re a bit more famous? Anything you could share with us?

Dot: Umm, I don’t know really. I don’t think we’re that famous…

Damian: Ha! I’ve never heard of you!

Dot: Yeah. Well actually, you know with bands it’s kind of, it’s weird. It’s like there are bands where they are more famous than their music and then those bands where basically their music is a hell of a lot more famous than them. I mean, even some of my favourite bands I listen to all the time I wouldn’t be able to tell you what some of them look like, so…

Chris:  [laughter] That’s cool. You do say that you consider yourselves not famous and things, but, let’s face it, really you are. Have you bumped into any cool people along the way?

Dot:  Yeah, yeah we have actually. It’s been really, really fun and I’ve… it’s weird meeting your idols and stuff. I think I normally get more star-struck when I meet someone that I really either love their music or I’m really into their band or they’ve just had an impact on me as a person, whereas if I bumped into Barrack Obama I wouldn’t be star-struck. But when I met James Blake and alt-j at Melt festival last year I was really star-struck by them. So you know what I mean. We did Jools Holland with John Mayer, he’s cool, and we were on Graham Norton last week with Gary Oldman…

Damian: I love Gary Oldman.

Dot: …Yeah, he’s cool.

Damian:  I don’t think we can leave you without asking you about… I mean me and Chris are from Bristol and you guys have been compared with Massive Attack and Portishead in terms of your sound.

Dot: Yeah.

Damian: Have those bands had an influence on you musically?

Dot: Yes. Absolutely. I think on all of us to varying extents… and in fact our monitor engineer is from Bristol and he just loves it because it reminds him of that whole thing. I mean he was Tricky’s monitor engineer for years and it just makes sense to him. We went through a long period of listening to a lot of background music when we were making the album and we actually co-produced the album with a couple of engineers in the end, but originally we were going to produce the album with Rollo Armstrong, he’s Dido’s brother and the producer of Faithless and he produced Rob Dougan and stuff which also has that really like trip-hop feel. And then we did some work with Liam Howe who is in Sneaker Pimps. And I don’t know, we just spent time around that kind of thing and that kind of music as well. I mean, I’ve always been influenced by Massive Attack.

Damian: In which case you should be very well received in Bristol.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. We’re running out of time here, but thanks so much for talking to us, it’s been fantastic for you to make a bit of time for us and we’re really looking forward to the gig on Monday.

Dot: That’s alright.

Chris: I think I’m probably going to go with a Dot mask on and try and play in the band, see how I get on.

Dot: Okay, cool. Yeah, well if you go before me then they definitely won’t let me in.

Damian: [laughs] No, thanks, it’s been a real pleasure talking to you. We wondered if you could introduce the next track we’re going to play?

Dot: Hey, I’m Dot from London Grammar and this is Hey Now.

[‘Hey Now’ by London Grammar plays]