Impact’s Izzy Morris caught up with Georgia Davies (bass), Lizzie Mayland (guitar), Abigail Morris (vocals), Aurora Nishevci (keys) and Emily Roberts (lead guitar), who together make up The Last Dinner Party; one of Brixton’s most exciting exports.
If you’ve never heard of The Last Dinner Party before, you’re joining them at just the right time. This baroque-pop quintet has generated a storm of praise online with stellar live performances, fully realised Gregorian-esque concepts and incredible songwriting. Supporting acts like Lana Del Rey, The Rolling Stones and Florence and the Machine, these five friends that met at university are a testament to the importance of performing star power.
I sat down with the friendly bunch ahead of their headline set at Bodega, which they were visiting for the first time. While they only had time to pass through, given their hectic schedule, heading from straight from Latitude and then to Truck later that week, they’d not had a lot of time to explore.
They’ve got a sold-out gig on a completely sold out tour
“It’s been a big weekend!” remarked bassist Georgia.
“We’re girl-bossing!” exclaimed Abigail.
And girl-bossing they certainly are. So early on in the band’s lifespan, they’ve got a sold-out gig on a completely sold out tour, amidst a bunch of really exciting major festivals.
“It’s cool that we can sell out a show in a city that none of us have ever been to.” Georgia smiled.
“It’s nice to know ahead of time that there’s going to be people there to enjoy the set, and that there’s always going to be good vibes.” said guitarist Lizzie.
Abigail added, “it’s kind of weird going between the two, because at festivals some people have come to see just you, and then there’s random people coming in.”
And unlike a lot of other festivals this July, there’s no rain to contend with.
“They’ll take shelter in here, we’ll be like an oasis!” Abigail laughed.
Another difference between the two, is the fashion sense of The Last Dinner Party fans. I’d opted for a white button-down linen shirt, a grey waistcoat and a vintage necklace, to keep with the vibe. Keyboardist Aurora complimented my style, and Abigail pointed out that I was giving Alice Cullen vibes, “in a good way of course.”
They’re an incredibly stylish bunch, even offstage; I loved Aurora’s satin green skirt, and noticed lead guitarist, Emily’s, amazing black retro military jacket, with gold detailing, a signature piece in her closet according to the rest of the band.
“It’s always been 50/50,” Abigail went on to explain, “We’ve wanted the visuals and the music to both be standing together. Before we played our first gig we were thinking, ‘OK. What themes shall we do? What shall we wear? What’s everyone got?’ and that extends to when we do photoshoots, music videos.”
As Georgia put it, they’ve managed to “cultivate such a community of people responding and dressing the same way.” These communities are not dissimilar to those of some of the artists they’ve supported, she goes on to add: “When we were at Hyde Park the other day, everyone was dressed with, like, Lana stylings, and Florence’s fans do the same thing.”
“All of my favourite shows were ones where I could go knowing I could wear a ballgown because I’d know that the band on stage would be all dressed up, and that people in the audience would be dressed up.” Abigail reflected.
You put so much effort into that music. You made that. You live in it and other people are living in it with you and that experience
They’ve performed twice now at Hyde Park, treating crowds ahead of The Rolling Stones and Lana Del Rey. They’ve had so many opportunities to transform people into fans on the spot at these supporting spots, and given the hype around them at the moment, there’s a lot of pressure to live up to the incredible reviews they’ve been receiving.
“Our whole focus from the very beginning was on having the best live show that we possibly can. One of the best comments that I see online is occasionally people will say ‘I heard about them, and all the hype and I wasn’t sure if it was a one hit wonder, but then I saw them play live.’ It’s nice that we can prove ourselves to those that are unsure, and it’s our live show that does that.” Abigail smiles.
The secret to an incredible live show is clear to Georgia: “Looking like you’re enjoying it and having a good time, and allowing yourself not to worry about looking cool, or like you don’t give a shit.”
Aurora, who takes the lead in their live shows with an incredibly emotive Albanian song that she wrote about her guilt for not being fluent in her mother tongue, also notes that having that pride in your work is the key. “You put so much effort into that music. You made that. You live in it and other people are living in it with you and that experience.”
Their pre-show rituals, however, are a lot less profound.
“A pint?” Georgia suggested, and the rest of the group laughed.
We then discussed their recent appearance on BBC Radio 6 Music with Steve LaMacq doing a coveted Maida Vale session.
“It was the most nerve-wracking thing ever!” Aurora exclaimed.
Lizzie reflected on that feeling of “being in that room too, with all the historic pictures on the wall. We’re just walking through the corridors being like…”
“What are we doing? It’s Nirvana!” Abigail cried.
But Steve LaMacq isn’t the only legend that’s been in their DMs. Courtney Love has been in touch with the girls to share her excitement about the band.
“She’s a real hero of mine,” Georgia explains, “So it was so strange, like, you’re a real person that’s having a conversation with me.”
“Like, she’s listened to the music, and saw the video… and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness did a really nice video for us.” Abigail added.
Aurora also named some other famous fans of the band: Emma Corrin, who plays Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown, and Victoria Pedretti, who stars in You.
combines “Gregorian choral s***” with “a big breakdown”
But what discoveries have the band recently made on their travels? Surely, the magical land of Glastonbury will have offered some new treasures.
Abigail had discovered Swedish Electropop artist Fever Ray, who’d blown her mind with their weird and wonderful visuals and performance style.
“Fever Ray is huge.”
Meanwhile, Lizzie had been getting caught up with Self Esteem, an artist I keep having near misses with at events. She recommended that I try and catch a set at some point to enjoy their awesome choreography.
It’s in these live settings that you get to witness the true magic of The Last Dinner Party, given that they only have two tracks released at the moment on streaming services. There’s so much to get excited for. They unanimously agreed that their favourite unreleased track to perform was probably My Lady of Mercy, which combines “Gregorian choral s***” with “a big breakdown”.
But what inspires them to include those sorts of influences? Aurora’s reasoning was simple.
“It’s fun and it sounds cool.”
“And we’re pretentious.” Abigail joked.
Georgia summed their style up very well.
“It’s all in the spirit of maximalism.”
And then, to round things out, we dove into a quickfire section.
What flavour would The Last Dinner Party be?
They were much more interested in my answer than conjuring up one themselves, and thought my response of a dark drink with hints of elderflower was interesting.
Georgia: “A really rich red wine, with a bit of aggression to it. A bit sharp and pointy.”
Aurora: “It’s stylish, timeless.”
Lizzie: “Very chic.”
Abigail: “Like one of the ones from the Pope’s Chateau.”
If you had to study a different degree to the one you originally studied, what would you chose?
The band all met and formed in London while they were at Uni, meeting in Freshers’ week, as so many student bands do.
Abigail, an English Literature graduate, noted that she would probably had rather gone to a Drama school.
Aurora: “I remember in GCSE, there was a choice between doing Art and Music, and then I went on the Music route and carried on. I did English, but I probably would have done Art.”
Lizzie: “I did History of Art, but yeah, also probably Art.”
Georgia: “I did English as well, but I nearly chose to do Philosophy.”
Emily: “I’d say Art, but I’ve also heard really bad things about doing Art. So maybe like… Astrophysics?”
Abigail: “That’s very Brian May.”
If you were hosting a dinner party what would you bring?
Here’s what’s on their menu:
Lizzie, inspired by a cooking program featuring Nadiya Hussain from The Great British Bake Off that had been on earlier that morning, chose Paprika Pretzels.
Abigail: “A long, slow-cooked ragout with rich sauce and some homemade pasta.”
Georgia: “I love cooking Asian food, so I’d bring some homemade Bao Buns.”
Emily: “Ooh…. an aubergine parmigiana.”
Aurora: “I don’t know, that’s hard… I’ll bring a wine!”
Chic, timeless, rich and full bodied, I’m sure.
Featured image courtesy of chuff media. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.
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