Qobuz Interview: London Grammar speaks about their influences, the evolution of music streaming and their new album, Californian Soil, in an exclusive interview

November 18, 2021, London, U.K. – British indie pop band, London Grammar speaks to Qobuz about their third studio album Californian Soil”, and how streaming has changed the consumption and creation of music in recent years.

The members of London Grammar, Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman all agree that in the 8 years since their debut album, “If You Wait” was released, “the music industry has changed so much…literally everything went online and turned into streaming and social media”.

In their exclusive interview with Qobuz – high-quality streaming and download platform – Hannah, Dot and Dan talk about their main influences and who they are currently listening to. Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus are among the obsessions for lead singer, Hannah. Whilst instrumentalist Dot discusses their influences in Trip Hop, 80s and British Electronic music.

Californian Soil” (released in April 2021 by Metal & Dust/Ministry of Sound) went to number 1 on the Official Album Chart following its release and came from “a more honest place” compared to their previous two albums. Hannah says she used her personal experiences as an artist and a woman to write more vulnerable lyrics, “There was this collective kind of experience that things that me and my girlfriends have been speaking out for years, so there just is loads of that in there naturally”. 

In addition, the album reflects the friendship between the three members, who have been together for over 10 years. In that time, London Grammar has gone from strength to strength and Californian Soil is a true example of how they have evolved and grown as artists.

Listen to Californian Soil in Hi-Res 24-bit on Qobuz.

Watch the London Grammar interview on Youtube/Qobuz.


About Qobuz

Founded in 2007, a pioneer of high-quality sound, Qobuz is the French music streaming and download service that meets the needs of demanding music lovers and audiophiles. Available in 18 countries around the world, in Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Qobuz offers an exceptional range of exclusive editorial content written by a team of experts. With its catalogue of more than 70 million tracks, Qobuz also has the richest choice of high-resolution (hi-res) references on the market. Qobuz is licensed for Hi-Res Audio by the Japan Audio Society (JAS). For more information, visit qobuz.com 

UK Press Contacts: 

Starscream Communications

Kashfia Kabir – kash@starscreamcommunications.co.uk 

Amber Johnson – amber@starscreamcommunications.co.uk 

Full Video Transcript Below

Did you become more of a leader for this third album, Hannah?

Hannah: Yeah, I think the lyrics are more vulnerable maybe than on the second album. I think we had kind of discussed as a band that like sometimes with images or with photo shoots or with music videos and there’s like only so many combinations of me standing in the front of a triangle with like, the boys looking out in different directions that you can do before you are kind of not saying anything anymore. It was more artistic to kind of have an image where it’s like one person telling a story and if Dan and Dot had been like floating in the sea in the background it just would have looked like it just would have looked kind of funny. But it is like you know very vulnerable album lyrically, and so the boys didn’t mind…?

Dan: Not at all.

Dot: No – I think it’s been like actually it’s been amazing and like it was really important to do that and I think you can tell in actually the message of what people {mumble} no no I’m just saying but- no I’m saying like actually you can tell in interviews and the questions we get asked and stuff that like people the message is really coming across about what Hannah’s saying in the album which is amazing.

Would you say that you found a good balance between lyrics about you as a woman and about women in general?

Hannah: I mean that’s really an interesting point. I think that anything that I write is really my personal experience but then just naturally as an artist and obviously because I am female, I just, you know, there was this collective kind of experience that things that me and my girlfriends been speaking out for years, so there just is loads of that in there naturally.

What are you the proudest of on this third album?

Dot: I mean I like – this is probably sounds really cheesy – but I think the music is a reflection of where we’re at as friends and I’m actually really proud of just like our relationships between each other.

Hannah: What he said, but also – I’m just really proud that we’re still here as a band. I feel like the music industry changed so much during basically our first album cycle – and it literally like everything went online and turned into streaming and social media and I’m just proud that we still have a fanbase really and that we’re able to release a third album and you know that’s – yeah – how I feel.

Dan: I think it’s been a long process and I think what’s quite gratifying as when you speak to people you know – we did a signing the other day Fnac for example and you’re speaking to fans, and I think there’s a connection that they’re experiencing with this album. I think – I think probably a little bit more so than the second? There’s something about it – I think that speaks maybe like – they can sense that it came from a more sort of honest place, I think both like melodically and in terms of the production and I think there’s a sense of like I think there’s more escapism in this record than maybe in the second one?

Music from the 80s had a big influence on you in your early days. Would it be fair to say that trip hop influences your music more now?

Dot: I mean that’s funny – like quite often we were, when we started out, we were always compared with trip hop like it’s funny and then in a weird way now it’s like we almost could be more 80s. But it’s like I think those – all of those things have always been a big part of what we do and there’s a natural – there’s a natural progression about because we produced a lot of this in like our bedroom studios – whether that’s like Dan’s attic or my studio or like Hannah’s place – it’s like there was a little bit more. Those records like Moby albums and stuff that we – that we were always influenced by like naturally that kind of electronic music is quite bedroom focused it’s like you have loops – and you kind of – whereas the second one we were in a big studio all the time. This one I think you’re right like does lean more towards that kind of like underground like British electronic thing again.

What sort of stuff do you listen to at the minute?

Hannah: I think I’m quite picky actually with what I listen to. I feel like I – I like try and listen to a lot of new stuff but some stuff I don’t know – it’s like I’ll find like one or two or three albums that I’m like obsessed with that year and then just listen to them on repeat.

Dot: until like the CDs are worn out

Hannah: literally until the CDs are worn out yeah and I know every word yeah.

Any real obsessions?

Hannah: Well definitely Kacey Musgrave’s Golden Hour, Taylor Swift Folklore, Plastic Hearts Miley Cyrus (laughs)

Dan: Now actually is a bit different now I think I consume music differently like now with streaming. I’m like now because there’s so much there, I just find myself jumping all over the shop. I don’t – there’s actually not so many albums I’ll listen to like you know cover to cover, which is a shame.

Do you care about the way in which people listen to your music?

Dot: We hope they listen to it on Qobuz so it is hi-res!

Hannah: No, no I do think about it a lot. It kind of is a slightly strange time for musicians because you’re also then put in a position – because of the way that people consume music now – for a while it was like – oh is the album actually dead? and do you just need to release singles? And lots of artists started to do that for a while. I think it’s just recently changed slightly back again – I think there it is balancing out, but that was kind of a scary time for a band like us because – it’s just not how we work at all, and we are kind of cyclical in nature, and it will always take us like 2-3 years to make an album.

Dot: And the true fans do love listening to albums all the way through.

Hannah: I mean they do but you can get left behind if then you’re not playing the singles game or you’re not kind of following the algorithm that is popular at the time on Spotify. And I kind of hope that maybe changes back at some point I think it’s fair to say. It’s a different world.

How has your relationship with your own voice evolved?

Hannah: I definitely have a complicated relationship with my singing voice because I just sometimes feel like I’m not – I have impostor syndrome I guess I don’t think I’m very good, and I do find my voice is very unreliable. It’s like, has a mind of its own which I don’t really understand. And if I’m like not feeling right or if I’m feeling upset about something or just like I’m just tired, I feel that my voice is just like “no, I’m not, I’m not” – so I don’t know. I struggle with my confidence sometimes. And we probably also just overworked my voice as well in my early 20s and definitely had like a few hang ups from that but I think it’s improving.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s