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The Last Dinner Party, Mondo Sonoro interview (2024)

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The Last Dinner Party, Mondo Sonoro interview (2024)

There is only one way to defend oneself from the bad slime generated by the vilest disbelief and that is by providing an undeniably beautiful first album. “Prelude to Ecstasy” (24) not only feels like the big debut we’ve all been waiting for from The Last Dinner Partybut also as a right hook in the face of those who called them a prefabricated band.

After having worked hard and having consolidated their pertinent status as stage animals (whose skills led them to open for the Rolling Stones themselves in 2022), the London group is now taking a giant step in their career, finally offering their letter of introduction to the world, thus putting the cherry on top of two years of true madness and professional growth that would never have been the same without having counted on each other.

Before “Prelude to Ecstasy” reached our ears, you had lived two very intense years. What has it been like to be inside such madness?
Aurora Nishevci: It’s just been an incredible two years. In a very short time, doors opened to us that we never thought we could even consider for ourselves. And as you point out, it also gave us some respect at the beginning, but the fact of having each other and knowing that everything we were going to experience with the band was going to be shared by the five of us, made the process, the pressure or the nerves would be much more bearable. We are very grateful for everything that has happened to us, but we especially feel lucky for the simple fact of being able to say that we dedicate ourselves to music, do you understand? We are well aware of how difficult it is to earn a living through any creative work, and in fact the most common thing is that artists have to combine several outside jobs to be able to invest their time in what they are passionate about. We still can’t believe that this is our job.

“Our previous experience on stage is the greatest influence that this album has”

Despite having many songs recorded, during these years you decided to work on a live performance before sharing your music on platforms. Do you think that this previous work has had an impact on the quality of the album that you present now?
Lizzie Mayland: Totally. I have no doubt at all that everything that can be seen now on this album is a direct consequence of those days playing live and carving out our own style in all kinds of places. Our previous experience on stage is the biggest influence this album has and the reason it sounds the way it does. We were interested in being considered a live band before anything else and capturing that energy to later transfer it to our studio version became our obsession. We also feel very lucky to have had James Ford for this process, who in addition to contributing to the percussion of several songs helped us channel what we wanted and pursued for this work.

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I was just going to ask you about James Ellis Ford, whom we had the pleasure of interviewing a few months ago for the release of his solo debut. He’s a formidable guy, right?
Lizzie Mayland: It is, yes. And I thought her solo album was great, right?
Aurora Nishevci: We connected very well from the beginning. I remember it all started with a call from our manager, who knew him through other bands. He suggested we work with him and we told him to go have a coffee to get to know each other, because we thought it was important to know to what extent we connected before launching into working together in the studio. And he was great, from the beginning he seemed like a very interesting and simple man. During that particular meeting he told us something that stuck in my mind. He told us about how Thelonius Monk, the jazz pianist, used to use the first take of his performances in the recording studio, regardless of the imperfections there might be. It was a very interesting lesson in how to trust the previous work that you have developed before facing that first recording session and in how to embrace imperfect work, which will always be more human and natural than any piece polished to excellence.

Going back to the delay time you decided to take before publishing your music, did you ever worry that you were fueling an expectation for which you were not prepared?
Aurora Nishevci: Honestly, I think we’ve been pretty lucky to have been able to record the album before there were any expectations placed on us. I don’t know if you knew it, but the album was already recorded and mastered before we received any awards and even before we had the honor of opening for the Rolling Stones. So, whether we liked it or not, the work was already done and the only thing we could do was let ourselves go and enjoy the things that were happening to us. With the album already in our pockets, we dedicated ourselves to growing live and seeking to attract a certain stream of people who might feel interested in what we did. For us, it didn’t make much sense to release music on platforms without people getting to know us first. And in some way we feel that this patience has been rewarded to us.

“We value ourselves highly as artists and no idea is considered ridiculous”

The thing is that the album is here, and it is a wonderful mix of pop, rock opera, glam, and even classical iconography. How do you make sense of such a disparate mix?
Lizzie Mayland: I think the key for us has always been not wanting to replicate at any time the work and work of any of our references. As you say, you can come across ideas that are reminiscent of those influences you mention and many others. People even associate us with ABBA very regularly, which is curious because it is not at all a band that we consider among our closest references. But the pigment that colors everything is the simple fact of being absolute fans of music, theater and poetry, and all those small contributions, passed through the five o’clock creative channel, is what has ended up bringing with it the maximalist sound of this album.

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References aside, what we can see in songs like “Sinner” or “My Lady of Mercy” are very high levels of honesty. Do you think music has allowed you to express yourself more freely?
Aurora Nishevci: Well, music and art in general are very abstract notions, and all forms of abstract discourse can be used in an empowering and honest way, as has been the case with us. Moving in this field, that of music and songs, we felt at all times that our songs had to reach high levels of emotion that skipped the axis of everything that could be expected, and that, of course, transgressed the levels of truth. that are handled in more real contexts. But of course, we don’t keep the songs to ourselves, but they are shared with the world and shared in spaces surrounded by people, so that’s where that abstraction breaks and the message penetrates and materializes in some way. For us it has been a great resource when it comes to understanding our immediate surroundings and seeing it with different eyes. A help to embrace your imperfections, but also to reaffirm the direction that our personal path should take.

A path that the five of you travel and where everything indicates that the weight of your friendship is the glue that gives meaning to everything. What do you think this whole process would have been like without each other?
Lizzie Mayland: Well, I really couldn’t imagine it. Having each other is everything and if any of us had not been present throughout these two years, The Last Dinner Party simply would not have been the same. I think the key to things turning out the way they have, in addition to feeling supported by each other, has been the constant mutual respect we have for each other. We value ourselves highly as artists and no idea is considered ridiculous or out of place, but we take everything that each one contributes very seriously. For example, I remember someone once mentioned the idea of ​​putting a banjo in one of our songs, and far from laughing we said “of course, let’s do it, why not?” The only way to make a five-member band work is to respect other people’s ideas, commit to extreme camaraderie, take care of each other and support each other.

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