London Grammar getting to grips with fame

Undated Handout Photo of London Grammar. See PA Feature MUSIC London Grammar. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC London Grammar.
Undated Handout Photo of London Grammar. See PA Feature MUSIC London Grammar. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC London Grammar.

They’ve already featured on another band’s chart-topping album and now it’s time for trio London Grammar to aim for the top spot on their own.

The group introduced themselves and their ambient music via two almost anonymous tracks posted online late last year.

Their first proper release, an EP called Metal & Dust, appeared in February, not long after they’d played their first gig in front of assembled members of the music industry.

Summer came and with it a guest appearance on Disclosure’s album Settle, which promptly went to No 1, making stars of the house duo - young brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence - and giving a platform to each of the album’s cameos, including London Grammar.

“It was amazing how that came about,” says the band’s singer, Hannah Reid.

“When we were deciding who our manager was going to be, Disclosure’s managers - two young guys - wanted to manage us as well. We ended up going with someone else, but stayed friendly with them. They gave Disclosure our demos and they really liked my voice, then asked if we could collaborate.”

It was a good break, as now the future’s looking bright for Reid and her male bandmates Dan Rothman and Dot Major.

“It’s amazing what they’ve achieved,” says Reid of the collaboration with Disclosure. “We worked really quickly. We did that song, Help Me Lose My Mind, in two days.

“Obviously, it’s been great for us, being on a number one album a few months before our own album comes out. We’re very grateful, and I love the song, too.”

It’s a far cry from the band’s beginnings at Nottingham University, where Reid and Rothman were studying.

Rothman apparently saw a photograph on Facebook of Reid with an acoustic guitar and immediately sent her a message to ask if she wanted to start a band.

Multi-instrumentalist Major, a friend of Rothman’s girlfriend, was added to the line-up later, and the trio began writing songs and playing small gigs in pubs.

“I’d always written songs but I’d never performed on my own,” says Reid. “London Grammar is the first professional, or even semi-professional band, I’ve been in, although the boys have been in bands before.”

There are plans to make their live shows bigger - they’ll use a string quartet at their forthcoming London gigs - but right now they don’t have time to rehearse new ideas.

Reid wants to play more piano on stage, and promises their sound will expand. “For now it’s about getting comfortable on stage. That’s really important for me.”