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You're Cordially Invited to The Last Dinner Party: A Conversation with Georgia Davies

The Last Dinner Party album on vinyl from Ben Preece

THERE'S AN AUSSIE IN THE LAST DINNER PARTY! Although based in London, The Last Dinner Party's bassist and occasional pianist Georgia Davies was born and raised in Sydney and moved to the UK to study literature. She told BBC, "I went to The Windmill in Brixton more than I went to lectures." She met bandmate Abigail Morris while studying at King's College in London and built a firm friendship going to gigs (and a shared love of Virginia Woolf's Orlando - "a sister piece to what we do") and wanting to be part of the same scene that supported Goat Girl, Black Midi and HMLTD around London's club circuit. They decided to form a band of their own, moved into a rehearsal room. Then COVID struck, bit rather than derailing their ambitions, the lockdowns gave them space and time to grow.

They spent the best part of 2022 playing the live circuit in London as "The Dinner Party", building their live show and strong word-of-mouth chatter. They signed to management big wigs Q Prime, label Island Records and opened for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park and BENEE during her world tour.

From the moment they changed their name to The Last Dinner Party to dodge a clash with the jazz group of the same name, things just seemed to connect. By the start of 2023, The Last Dinner Party had become a buzzworthy name among those lucky enough to catch their live performances. It wasn't until April, however, that they released "Nothing Matters," a darkly enticing guitar-pop track that instantly captured widespread attention. Their sudden rise led some to speculate that they were merely another manufactured act orchestrated by the music industry. Yet amidst the fervor and speculation, The Last Dinner Party showcased a remarkably confident indie-rock sound, earned through the honoured method of relentless touring. Now, with their debut album, Prelude To Ecstasy, they mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The album encompasses all the elements that propelled them to early acclaim: unconventional pop hooks, rock sensibilities, and a vibrant theatricality. Far from being all style and no substance, the band confidently rises to meet the hype, refusing to falter under the spotlight. Instead, they emerge as a tighter, more cohesive unit, clearly reveling in the joy of making music together. The album doesn't just dream big—it dreams huge!

Phoning in from somewhere on the road in the UK, we had a quick chat to Georgia to say thanks for letting us feature Prelude To Ecstasy as our February Record Of The Month, and to ask her a few questions about the band and what it's like exisiting in the eye of the storm currently.


Georgia Davies of The Last Dinner Party. Credit: Phoebe Fox for NME
Georgia Davies of The Last Dinner Party. Credit: Phoebe Fox for NME

Hi there, Georgia, is there any need to ask "how are you?" You're slaying everywhere at the moment - congratulations on the enormous success of the band and for Prelude To Ecstasy - what's the feeling within the band at the moment? You appear to be talking it all in your stride/s...

Hey!! Thank you very much, we’re all pretty stoked but also very overwhelmed as you can probably imagine. There’s a lot to take in. Luckily we have each other and still just feel like a normal group of mates when we get together! We really are having the time of our lives honestly, it is a literal teenage dream come true. 

As a band, you arrived, it seems, fully formed. You're great onstage, you all seem super close, your album has a very clear identity and your image/most excellent outfits have no sense of irony. We know you're NOT industry plants, but you make an amazing case for putting your head down and getting good before you even release a single, what was your process from the band's formation to the release of 'Nothing Matters'.

As friends we always hung out at local gigs in London, so we knew that bands could build a hype and a following without recording anything. We just loved playing live and didn’t really care about anything else! I think there’s an unnecessary pressure put on artists to record songs as soon as they write them, but we found that the more we played our songs live, the more they evolved and the better they became. It’s the philosophy of the old days before bedroom production and the internet that excited us. 

I'm utterly dazzled by the ambition and fearlessness you show in  your music and in the project in general, on top of rather flawless songs and killer hooks. Do these assets come naturally, or are they your values when it comes to writing a song?

It’s funny when people say it’s a ballsy album, we didn’t ever think that at the time we just made the record that the five of us could come up with. In retrospect, an orchestral prelude, an Albanian language aria and approximately six different guitar solos is pretty nuts. To be ambitious has never been the MO, I think we’re just artistically curious and have so many influences which is why the record sounds like it does. 

Prelude To Ecstasy is a perfect title, but as you've delivered something of a flawless debut, how do you expect this to be a "prelude"?

Because we’re dramatic and insane, we speak about our lives and careers like they’re seasons of a TV show or chapters of a book sometimes. As Prelude to Ecstasy came out, it felt like the closing of one chapter of our lives, we were now bearing our souls to the whole world. It feels like the beginning of something new, something ecstatic, a product of our lofty daydreams.  

What is something personal about the album that you love personally? Is there something personal in there that we might not hear?

As a bassist I always admired players who used the instrument as another character in the song rather than just supporting the guitars or synths. I think Peter Hook does this incredibly, so I wrote a lot of the bass lines inspired by this more melodic style. My Dad is a passionate Joy Division/New Order fan, so I love that I can hear that part of my life in the parts I wrote. Oh, and I played piano on the title track too which people may not know! 

You've chosen to work with the legendary James Ford for this record, he pulls such an amazing sound and has worked with some utter legends. Who do you admire most on his CV?

Looking through his discography is like looking at a list of my most listened to artists, so it’s hard to choose. Blur, Depeche Mode, Arctic Monkeys… I do admire Florence and the Machine most of all though. I think her career and commitment to artistry is aspirational for us as a band and on a personal level I’ve been a fan of hers since I was very young. To have worked with the same producer as her is a bit of a mind fuck. 

What's your working relationship with him like and what did he bring to the songs that the band didn't already have?

He's the best producer to work with because he has no signature that he imbues every record with (besides high quality). No James Ford album sounds the same. We were so intimidated by his past work but the experience was so comfortable, so fun and inspiring. He gave us the confidence in our work that we needed to hear, and took our chaotic live energy and managed to wrangle it and harness it onto the album. He also added some very fun synths. 

You've supported some incredible artists and played some amazing shows on the way up to this point in your career, what has been a crazy, dizzying highlight?

Last year we toured Europe and the UK with Hozier which was very surreal, he is such an astonishing musician and kind, lovely person so we all left feeling deeply inspired. The highlight of my entire life though was opening for Florence and the Machine in Cork, Ireland. I talk about her at every given opportunity because her music has always connected with me in such a deep way, she made me feel less alone in the world. To meet her on that day and to have her come up and hug me like we were old friends was just the most incredible thing. I don’t even remember much of the show, think I blacked out on pure adrenaline. She’s since become a guiding voice for our careers and been so kind as to give us advice and wisdom

What can we expect in the coming months?

We’re so busy at the moment that we barely have any time to write together, we want to start adding new songs to the set and experimenting more. We’ve just finished an EU tour, we’re heading out to the US for five weeks in Spring, then some festivals in the UK, Europe, Japan…. We never go home. 

We sent your record to a couple of hundred extra Aussies who may or may not have added your record to their collection. What does the vinyl format mean to you as a band and personally? We notice the album is sequenced, with hi-fi intros and outros, to perfection.....

We’re album lovers to the core, so the placement of every track and the milliseconds between each is all carefully considered, I’m glad you agree! I personally have been spending all my money on vinyl since I was a teenager and have a substantial collection now, so when we started the band it was such a goal of mine to one day have a vinyl released. If only I knew! 

And finally, have you plans to come to Australia anytime soon? July perhaps?

I’ve been manifesting it….. To do a hometown show in Sydney is my absolute life goal! The Metro, the Enmore, all my old haunts. 

Thanks heaps and hopefully see you at a show soon.



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