London Grammar On Why Their Aus Tour Is A Must: 'I Thought Live Music Could Disappear'

16 April 2021 | 12:28 pm | Dan Cribb

"The thought of actually being able to go to Australia and perform just seems completely impossible at this very moment."

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London Grammar’s highly anticipated third album, Californian Soil, is out today and it’s a release the band have been itching to share with Australian fans for a while.

Earlier this month in the lead up to the record’s release, the UK trio announced a run of Australian headline dates for 2022, and guitarist Dan Rothman revealed to The Music that they made returning to the country a huge priority.

“The UK is obviously the first place we looked at because it’s our home country and we knew that if we were going to play anywhere first it would be the UK given the situation, but Australia is the only other tour we have yet confirmed,” Rothman said.

“That just gives you some sense of what it means for us to come to Australia, it’s very, very, very high on our priority list.”

Given the band’s “amazing relationship” with the country, the fact they broke in Australia before anywhere else in the world and had their first experiences playing to large crowds here, it’s not surprising they made it a priority over the US and Europe.

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“The last [Australian] tour we did was just… I mean, it was just crazy. I remember playing the Brisbane Riverstage and we don’t play shows like that really anywhere else in the world – to play to that many people outdoors that’s not a festival is just completely unique," he said.

“I can’t actually fathom travelling there right now; the thought of actually being able to go to Australia and perform just seems completely impossible at this very moment, obviously due to the pandemic.

“But as far as I’m aware, we’ve been given the green light to put this tour ahead and try, so we’re going to try because we want to so badly.”

London Grammar’s return is slated for next February, and casting his thoughts to 2022, Rothman was unsure as to what the industry might look like in a year.

“It’s incredibly difficult to say. I mean, the music industry has been in a really, really precarious position for a long time and live music has been more or less decimated.

“I think fortunately we’re seeing signs that there is still the appetite for people to buy tickets and attend gigs again, which was always a fear in my mind – will people really want to go back to that environment? Would they feel comfortable going to a place where there are thousands of people?

“Either I thought live music could really disappear or maybe some version of it on the Internet would take its place… I think the reality is, live music – if it’s safe – will return. The big question is, and this is something I have zero understanding or knowledge of, are we going to be able to travel? What will be the requirements for us to travel? Will Australia open its borders to people from the UK? Will we have to quarantine? That I have no idea, but I’m hopeful.”

Rothman and vocalist Hannah Reid first began working on a follow-up to Truth Is A Beautiful Thing shortly after its release in 2017, and the resulting collection of songs in Californian Soil mark a change of pace for the band, one they had to wait quite a while to reveal thanks to COVID delays.

“Me and Hannah probably did the first initial sessions for the record in my home studio in late 2017 and then getting into 2018/2019 we sort of finished the album. The record was basically finished before COVID was even a thing. We were planning on releasing the record a while ago.

“What’s interesting about this record, for me personally, I think it’s less static than our other records, it’s a bit more varied.

“The style and pacing of the album just feels different to me… there are more down-tempo moments, there are more obscure moments, there are different influences. 

“There are lots of nuggets of influence and inspiration and lyrical content that maybe we haven’t explored before in other material and I think our fans will enjoy exploring those different Easter eggs of what we’ve tried to do. We definitely tried to put more surprise elements into this record.

“I feel like it’s more playful than our last album.”

Californian Soil is out today. Check it out below and head to theGuide for all the info on London Grammar's 2022 Australian tour.