London Grammar veröffentlichen ihr drittes Studioalbum „Californian Soil“. Anna hat sich mit Frontfrau Hannah Reid über die neue Rollenverteilung in der Band und oberflächliche Vergleiche unterhalten.
„Californian Soil“ seems to be this reinvention of London Grammar and you as the leader of the pack. As an chronical overthinker myself, I have to know: Did you thought about it a lo and then made this big decision in the end? Or did you woke up one day and thought „fuck it, let’s do it!“ and started thinking about the meaning and consequences afterwards?
Hannah Reid: It’s actually a really interesting question, because it was that I woke up one morning, and I was like: „okay, I’ve had enough now“. It was like a relationship where it’s just not going the way that you want it to go. It’s quite a sensitive issue, because obviously, it can actually take a lot of time to leave relationships. I’ve ever had the experience of just waking up one morning and being like: „oh, I’ve, I’ve actually had enough“.
It was a new. And has nothing to do with Dan and Dominic. As a band, we had lost our confidence so many times, I actually knew that this can’t happen anymore. We have to change this.
This kind of gaining of control – Can you talk about specific actions or changes you did to accomplish that? Because I think it’s really inspiring to go that way.
Hannah: I think the main thing for me was just to stop caring what other people thought and to stop trying to please other people and to stop being affected by other people’s opinions. I don’t believe that really great art can be made from absorbing other people’s opinions. You have to put the blinkers on and just do what it is that you’re happy with.
I don’t care what anyone else thinks anymore, basically.
This whole topic so important, and we don’t talk about it enough and the industry isn’t doing enough. I wonder: Did you find yourself within limits somewhere in that way?
Hannah: I definitely have found the whole industry, for me, was a real battle. And I felt really guilty always about kind of saying that. I’m complaining because I’m so lucky to do this for a living. But I think the women worry too much even about that. I think women worry about complaining too much or being seen as divas or being difficult. And I kinda was like: „Well, actually, I don’t think it has been easy. And in my music. I’m just gonna say whatever it is that I want to say“. I don’t care what anyone else thinks anymore, basically.
Do you think London Grammar would have been somewhere else right now without these misogynist ways and mindsets within the music industry?
Hannah: I don’t know. I love this album that we’ve made so much. So maybe I would never have made this album, if it wasn’t. So I like to look at it in that positive way. But I’ve really struggled with my health, I really struggled with my confidence. And I do think it’s a shame that it was such a struggle, and I don’t think it should be that way anymore for anyone in any industry.
There’s another thing that I noticed, and which made me quite angry: Let’s say a male only indie band is popping up: They’re compared to the Arctic Monkeys. It’s meant as a compliment. And it’s about the sound and the style. But when a female-led band like London Grammar is compared to another band, it’s often feels like a competition. Like there’s only one spot for a female-led three piece band. All of the sudden people turn to caveman and think no further than „women“ and put you in a box labeled as „woman with a microphone“.
Hannah: It was kinda funny. I was actually compared to like every single singer. I was compared to Lana Del Rey, Florence Welch, Adele. I mean, not that any of these are bad. But I think I don’t sound like any of these.
You’re also compared to The xx a lot. You know, I love both of you, and I would have never thought about comparing you just because there are three people and one of them is a woman.
Hannah: It’s funny people say that? Because I do think our music is very different. I love The xx so much, so I’m okay with this compliment. But I agree!
And it’s absolutely shouldn’t be your job to change it. But from your perspective, how do you think we all can do better?
Hannah: I think seeing people as the individuals that they are, outside of the way that they look, their gender or how they identify. It’s about the art they make. Being a woman in the industry, I kept on being put into all these little boxes. I put on a nice dress, and maybe looked a bit sexy – I then be compared to Lana Del Rey. Or taken less seriously in a studio because I looked a certain way. And I actually found myself I started to almost cover up and dress down and wear jeans. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that either if that’s what you want to wear, but it was almost like I had to make myself fit in.
Women shouldn’t be forced to do that. That’s is why I love Lizzo so much. I just love her for so many reasons, also Miley Cyrus and just loads of ladies. I feel like Lizzo just is completely unapologetically herself. She’s an amazing musician. She has a home studio. She’s a producer, she makes beats, she writes all of her own work. And she also loves to wear a bikini. There’s no part of herself that she cancels out to fit in.
When I look at the cover art of „California Soil“, I see you surrounded by beautiful flowers, wearing a stunning dress, and it feels warm. But it’s a little island in the middle of nowhere. And you’re alone. Do you feel this kind of loneliness in your professional life sometimes?
Hannah: Yes, but I do feel that way less and less now. As I’ve grown older, and I have very strong roots at home with my circle of friends. But I definitely did feel quite lonely in the music industry. I was the only woman in the room a lot of time, that alone was very strange for me. So it was doubly lonely – not only having j negative emotional experiences, but also not having feelings heard or having to explain them. It’s so tiring having to explain things. It was very draining. And it was it was quite lonely.
My last question is about the song „Baby, It’s You“. Tell me more about this track. Is is really about a fan in the middle of a concert?
Hannah: It was a really sunny, happy day when we wrote that. I was thinking about festivals. But for me, it’s actually a love song. It’s about falling in love. The feeling of being on stage but knowing that you have the support of somebody. And if I can carry that on stage, then hopefully I can enjoy it. It’s quite light hearted actually, for me those lyrics.
But I’ve definitely been that person in the crowd as well. Like, looking at them, trying to catch their eye, believing that Justin Timberlake was meant to be my boyfriend. But I guess it’s not about me singing to somebody specific in the audience, but about that special person being there when I get home.
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