London Grammar's Dan Rothman talks us through his rig

London Grammar's Dan Rothman talks us through his rig

London Grammar took the British music industry by storm back in 2013 with a debut album that went Platinum both at home and abroad. Having met at Nottingham University a couple of years earlier, the trio were quickly signed to Ministry of Sound and attracted the attention of producers from Faithless and Sneaker Pimps before releasing their first EP. We caught up with guitarist Dan Rothman to discuss his musical influences and relationship with technology...  


MPS

London Grammar have toured pretty extensively over the past three years, do you prefer gigging or do you find songwriting and studio work more satisfying?

DR
The band undoubtedly feels most at home when writing or in the studio. I find it the most enjoyable when I'm with Han and Dot in a rehearsal space or studio. The touring that we did do on our first album, whilst being rewarding and unforgettable, was difficult at times because we were travelling constantly for a long period.

MPS
Can you pick out a favourite gig?

DR
There was a show that we played in Montreal last year at the Olympia theatre which sticks in my mind. I remember it was really cold there at the time, maybe - 10 degrees. Its my favourite kind of venue, a really classic looking dark, red theatre and a perfect size. The sound is always good on stage in theatres of that type, and it feels like you are inside the gig.

I remember our support band coming off and telling me that they had just played the best gig of their lives, and how amazing the crowd was. And it was true, the crowd were unexplainably perfect from the first minute we stepped on stage. I think all three of us then felt immediately relaxed and just enjoyed performing the set to them, it felt like a band practice.

MPS
Your music incorporates a combination of musical genres, who do you count among your musical influences?

DR
Each of us would list very different people that we would say have influence on us. I try to get inspiration from music by bands like Talk Talk, and guitarists like Robert Fripp. Me and Hannah tend to bond over lots of country, rock or folk music like Eddie Vedder or the National. I often listen to hip hop with Dot, and whilst I tend to gravitate to jazzy 90s hip hop, he will always introduce me to something new. We all also love very ambient music, electronic or classical.

MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would it be?

DR
The 70s, because the guitar was king.

MPS
What was your first guitar?

DR
It was a mini red Encore, Stratocaster shape but without a pick guard and only one pickup. It was perfect for me to learn on because I was so small when I started playing. I cut out some pictures from magazines and stuck them all over it and thought it looked cool as fuck. I still have it hanging on my wall.

MPS
What guitar are you playing at the moment?

DR
Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster.

MPS
Tell us about your Timeline, what made you chose it?

DR
I was using a pedal recently called a 16 second digital delay made by EHX, and fell in love with it. It was made in the early 80s and was known as a 'Fripp'n'a'Box'. The originals are hard to come by and are mad money. The Timeline seems to have similar capabilities but works in a more refined way. It also has accurate and really nice sounding delays for when I am trying to sound like the Edge.

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?

DR
I always have the Strymon Flint reverb in my chain. More recently a EHX Hog 2,  and a Big Muff. I also bought some strange pedals whilst in America recently by a company called Earthquaker Devices. They make particularly weird sounds.

MPS
Is there anything you have parted with that you really miss?

DR
My Hog 2 broke a couple of weeks ago and I was devastated, still am. I am hoping it can be repaired.

MPS
Can you think of anything that really changed things for you?

DR
The Flint reverb was an amazing find, it has a cool tremolo too which I always use. I found that buried in the depths of our favourite studio in London called State of the Ark. The owner of the studio Terry Britten is a legendary songwriter, most famous for writing 'Whats Love Got To Do With It' by Tina Turner. He is a great guitarist too and has loads of gear for guitar players in particular, and I always find something new to fuck about with when I am there. More recently he showed me a Magnatone stereo amp which I have been using a lot, it sounds incredible. I am able to get a good sound from that being recorded with an AC 30, or a Fender Deluxe.

MPS
Is there any advice you can offer to people starting out on their musical journeys?

DR
I would advise practicing lots and learning music theory, the latter is something which I really didn't do enough and I regret. Listening to lots of different music is important too.

Find out what London Grammer are up to next: londongrammar.com

 

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