They made our 2023 Hype List without even having a proper song ‘out’. Now, The Last Dinner Party are putting that right with their transcendent debut banger ‘Nothing Matters’. It was worth the wait. Read our latest Hype playlist cover feature now.
Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Patrick Gunning (cover).
The Last Dinner Party played their first-ever live gig a little over 18 months ago, and since then, they’ve racked up support slots with The Rolling Stones and Benee while bootleg YouTube videos of their own headline shows have been watched by tens of thousands of people. Not bad for a band who have never released a song.
Well, until now. The Last Dinner Party’s debut single ‘Nothing Matters’ is out today (Wednesday, 19th April). Despite the dizzying amount of hype surrounding things, though, the five-piece aren’t nervous about sharing it with the world.
“It’s a bop,” explains guitarist/vocalist Lizzie before lead vocalist Abigail adds that the track “slaps”.
“We wanted to come out with a bang,” says bassist Georgia. “We want to always be a band that you can’t really pin down, so none of the other singles sound like this one. But this is a great banger to start off with.” Their album is finished, but The Last Dinner Party want to set the stage first.
‘Nothing Matters’ is, according to Abigail, “the truest love song I could have written at the time. I wanted to capture that sense of unbridled, untamed love that’s also a little perverse. I set out to write the best love song I could, and this is what we ended up with.”
Full of “Americana vibes”, the band liken the track to Nicolas Cage film Wild At Heart. “It’s got that energy of a runaway horse in a desert,” says Abigail. What about musical influences? “The songs take more inspiration from cinema and how they feel than bands,” says Georgia. “It’s more nebulous than saying ‘let’s do a shoegaze song’.”
As for that absolutely ridiculous guitar solo which Abigail calls “fucking iconic” and “definitely one of the best live moments of the show,” that came about after a producer put a load of glitch stuff over the original classic rock-inspired solo”.
“I realised that might be a sign that it wasn’t good enough,” says Emily, who went away over Christmas and worked on it. “I knew what I didn’t want to do. By eliminating those things, I found the thing I did want to do.”
The Last Dinner Party formed like a lot of groups do – five friends attended a bunch of gigs and wanted to do something similar. “We wanted to look like we were having more fun than some of the bands we’d seen at the Windmill, though,” says Georgia with a smirk while a formative moment for Abigail came while watching Lucia And The Best Boys. “I was in awe of her,” she explains. “Seeing this really fucking powerful woman who was also incredibly kind and joyful was really inspiring.”
Lockdown meant that the first couple of years of The Last Dinner Party’s existence were a bit of a struggle. “It was so demoralising having one practice, then not being able to see each other for three months,” says Lizzie. There was also a period where the band would just play ‘Burn Alive’ over and over because they “couldn’t get past that first song.”
They persevered, though, and now “everything really feels like it’s in its right place,” says Georgia. “After the tumultuous beginnings, it feels like things have come together.”
“Oh, something’s going to go wrong,” warns Lizzie with a smile. “It’s going to be chaos.”
The Last Dinner Party are speaking to Dork the morning after a commanding headline show at The George, which just so happens to be the same venue where they played that very first gig in November 2021. “We’re a lot more confident now,” says Georgia.
“Every time we’ve played since that first gig, we’ve just added more things,” adds Abigail before listing off five-part harmonies, guitar solos, mandolin, and flute sections. “We just keep trying to step everything up.”
“We just keep trying to step everything up”Abigail
“We’ve become a lot closer as friends,” she continues. “We’re more comfortable onstage, more intuitive of how everyone’s feeling and know what everyone can bring to the band. That’s really just done wonders for our sound.”
So why have The Last Dinner Party waited until now to release music?
“We wanted the interest to build up a bit more organically. We wanted the live show to be the centre of what we were about, rather than a song or two we’d released on Spotify,” says Abigail. The idea was that by the time it came to actually releasing music, “it would be more meaningful for us and the people who’d seen us live.”
After keeping people waiting, the band aren’t fazed by the hype. “People talk about us being this buzzy thing, but no one’s saying it to our faces,” says Lizzie, who prefers it that way. “We do our shows, we hang out, we make music. It doesn’t feel like too much pressure. Hopefully, the song will get a good reaction, and people will care about it. That’s good enough for me.”
“We’ve worked so hard on it and feel so good about the whole album. We do just feel confident, peaceful and ready to put it out,” adds Abigail. “We’re not worried about living up to anything because this is just what we love to do. There’s no other reason we’re doing this than pure joy.
“Come back to us after we’ve dropped a few singles, though – we’ll be so fucking jaded,” she adds with a laugh.
“Our own expectations are the most important thing to match,” continues Georgia. “And we surpassed those fucking ages ago when they were ‘it would be nice to play some gigs’.”
The Last Dinner Party’s ambitions now involve “keep going, keep getting bigger and Wembley”.
“We’ve obviously got goals of playing certain venues or touring Australia and America, but the most important thing is to keep challenging ourselves,” says Abigail. “There’s five of us in the band, and all five of us have different strands of music and art we want to explore. We want to go down every avenue we find interesting, so we don’t ever box ourselves in and get bored.”
Speaking about the confidence The Last Dinner Party have in everything they do, Abigail says: “I’m a huge attention seeker, and I need everyone looking at me,” with her tongue firmly in cheek. “It comes from what I was saying earlier about the camaraderie between us and feeling comfortable,” she continues. “The confidence comes from us feeling secure and supported by each other. We’re all just rooting for each other, and that gives you the confidence to really let yourself go.”
“Loving the music you play helps as well,” adds Georgia. “There’s not a note we play that I don’t think is fucking amazing.”
Playing live is a hugely important aspect of what The Last Dinner Party do. Later this year, they’re set to support Florence & The Machine and First Aid Kit alongside appearances at The Great Escape, Latitude, Green Man, Reading & Leeds. There’s also a string of headline shows. “There’s not much pressure around releasing music, but people do keep telling us we’re going to have a busy year,” says Lizzie. “I don’t know what that means, and I’m not ready for what might happen, but bring it on.”
“Being onstage is everything I wanted. It’s where I feel most at home,” adds Georgie, but already it seems like the band are looking to create something bigger than ‘good music to jump around to at a sweaty gig’.
“People talk about us being this buzzy thing, but no one’s saying it to our faces”Lizzie
“We want to be an artistic collective, as well as a band,” she continues. “We want to explore visual media, make short films, make concept EPs. Do different things that aren’t just playing a show. We want to push the boundaries in other ways as well.”
“We don’t want to just be a rock band,” adds Abigail.
The Last Dinner Party are a buzzy indie band, making interesting guitar music that’s packed full of personality. Of course, the comparisons to Wet Leg are already rolling in.
“It is a compliment. Obviously, their trajectory is incredible and aspirational, and we love their music, but I do roll my eyes at the comparison. It’s because we’re women making guitar music, isn’t it,” asks Georgia.
“It’s more symptomatic of the music industry at large that that’s the comparison we get. It’s not that accurate,” adds Abigail, though the band do feel part of a wider scene.
“There are a few bands that are getting more cinematic,” says Lizzie. “The post-punk thing where a chatty guy is doing spoken word over guitars seems to be waning. I feel like the era of maximalism is upon us.”
So, what do The Last Dinner Party want their band to represent? A few moments of silence follows before Abigail and Lizzie answer in perfect unison. “Joy”.
“This happens a lot,” explains Georgia as everyone else cracks up.
“It’s cool to try. It’s cool to care. It’s cool to put so much effort into,” Lizzie continues. “You don’t have to try and be aloof to seem cool. You can just have fun.” ■
The Last Dinner Party’s debut single ‘Nothing Matters’ is streaming now. Follow Dork’s Hype Spotify playlist here.