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London Grammar tickets at The O2 in London
Thu 14 Nov 2024
SJM Concerts & Live Nation
The O2, London, United Kingdom
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SJM Concerts & Live Nation

SJM Concerts & Live Nation
The O2
Peninsula Square
London, United Kingdom SE10 0DX
Thu 14 Nov 2024
Doors Open: 18:30
Onsale: Fri 12 Jul 2024 - 10:00 BST

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Bio: London Grammar

Eleven years after London Grammar’s double platinum-selling debut If You Wait, the band release their fourth album, The Greatest Love. It’s a celebration of creative freedom for a group who’ve carved a unique path, performing to stadium crowds while swerving celebrity. Having sold 3 million albums world-wide, with two #1 selling records, an Ivor Novello win and numerous BRIT Award nominations under their belts, Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dot Major have enjoyed rare longevity and success for three musicians who met as teenagers at university. ‘Getting to this point is the proudest achievement of my life,’ says frontwoman and songwriter Hannah.

With this triumphant start to their second decade in the industry, they have doubled down on their musical instincts and found rebellious new confidence. ‘The last couple of years have changed our priorities and process as artists,’ says Hannah. ‘That is a big part of our story.’

As a young band keen to find their audience, they had held nothing back in promoting 2013’s game-changing If You Wait and 2017 follow-up Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, which hit number one. ‘It was drummed into us early that you had to kill yourself on the road if you wanted to get anywhere, and that is true, to an extent,’ says Hannah, who recently welcomed her first child. ‘If it starts coming at the cost of the creative process, though, there's no point in doing any of it.’

Hannah lives with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, which can be triggered by stress. In the build-up to their third album, Californian Soil, she was focused on preserving her energy in preparation for promoting the record. ‘We were so geared up to release it,’ she recalls. ‘I knew I’d have to get through a lot of shows, so I’d got myself really fit and healthy – but then lockdown hit. Suddenly we had no idea whether we’d be able to tour.’

Their uncertainty about the future was a wake-up call. ‘It felt possible that we might not do another gig for years. We had to ask ourselves: if we’re not touring, what do we want to do?’

The question was revelatory. ‘We realised that writing songs, and making art that makes us happy, is actually the job,’ says Hannah. ‘Nothing else really matters.’ Californian Soil had explored her experiences of misogyny in music, but now that the band had more unscheduled time to talk, she realised that Dan and Dot had also been bruised by the industry. ‘It had made all three of us insecure in different ways, but suddenly we were spending hours making music and talking – it was like band therapy.’

‘In the past we’ve been surrounded by very masculine behaviour, and it became problematic,’ agrees Dan. ‘I think Dot and I are part of the generation of men who’ve crossed over and become more conscious of how that behaviour affected us and rubbed off on us – and that awareness has helped us to become happier as a band.’

Californian Soil was released in 2021 and became another number-one album; once restrictions eased, the band performed their biggest UK tour to date, including two gigs at Alexandra Palace for which they sold 35,000 tickets in a day. They went on to play to over 700,000 fans on Coldplay’s 2022 stadium tour.

Now they return with The Greatest Love, the fruit of a joyfully creative period. It delivers the heartrending lyrics and celestial vocals that London Grammar fans adore, but includes moments of real freedom and celebration. Opening track House sets the tone. Over a driving beat – set to fill dancefloors all year – comes an uncompromising lyric: This is my place, my house, my rules. ‘It’s about drawing boundaries around yourself,’ says Hannah, who is now thirty-four. ‘When I hit my thirties, my mindset shifted, and I no longer felt like a victim of anything – it all felt within my power. I thought, making music should be fun, and we're gonna make that happen.’

The London Grammar sound is as genre-blending as ever, moving smoothly from electronica to pop. The album’s second track, Fakest Bitch, is a ballad accompanied by stripped-back piano and guitar – yet its razor-sharp lyrics provide a satisfying contrast. Don’t turn to me with the driest tears that you’ve been faking for years, sings Hannah, addressing a (fictional) frenemy with that immaculate voice. She’s ‘obsessed’ with the track, she says; it was written in an hour, and features the original demo vocal. ‘It also makes me a little uncomfortable, which I think is a good sign,’ she laughs. ‘It came out so quickly, and the lyrics are savage but some of my best.’

London Grammar produced the majority of the album themselves. ‘When we were a young band, we found magic with older, very experienced producers, and that was important – we learnt a lot,’ she says. ‘But now we're becoming those people, and that means that we can be really prolific and self-reliant.’ The band trust their own judgement more: ‘We no longer care what anyone else thinks. If we love it, we do it.’

That’s why they defiantly named the album after its final track The Greatest Love, a song that represents a newfound confidence in their craft. ‘That song is like a symbol of us believing in ourselves,’ says Dan. ‘When we first worked on it, we came out of the studio like, “This is the best thing we’ve ever done!”

The production of You and I, a letter to Hannah’s younger self with an epic Ibizan-sunset sound that’s reminiscent of the late Nineties, also helped them lean into their instincts. ‘It’s about things that I wish I’d known. I wrote it six or seven years ago, and at the time, it was written off,’ she says. ‘When we came across it again, we couldn’t believe that. We really went for it, with strings and a children’s choir – and I love it.’

The three band members all have independent projects, which has enhanced the music they make together: Hannah paints and writes songs; Dot is a DJ who releases electronic music; and Dan produces several other artists. ‘I think those outlets for self-expression have helped us become more experimental,’ says Hannah.

‘If you think of us as a Venn diagram, what we’ve learnt is to nurture our crossover point,’ says Dot. ‘This album feels to me like a celebration of our friendship.’

London Grammar enjoy an enormous fanbase. Their music has been streamed more than a billion times – but they never aspired to be famous. ‘We were exposed to celebrity with the success of the first album, when we were really young,’ says Dan. ‘We probably overindulged, but we quickly realised that personality wise, it wasn’t for us.’

Hannah agrees. ‘This album is probably the last time that we'll appear in our music videos,’ she says. She’s delighted by the balance that they’ve found as a band. ‘I love the fact that I can walk down the street and nobody knows who I am – and yet we can fill huge spaces with people who love our music. We’ve worked really, really hard, and it has paid off.’

The future looks bright. ‘I want us to keep making music together until we’re old, wrinkly and completely irrelevant,’ she jokes. ‘As long as we prioritise the art, there is no reason why we can't go on for decades.’

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