Rhythm guitarist Lizzie Mayland sings alongside frontwoman Abigail Morris at The Portland ArmsMillie Cole with permission for Varsity

Last Thursday, alt-rock up-and-comers The Last Dinner Party travelled to Cambridge for a sell-out show at The Portland Arms. Before the concert, I spoke to rhythm guitarist and vocalist Lizzie Mayland about the many tracks the band are yet to release (they have only shared three so far), the controversy surrounding their alleged “industry plant” status and their decision to supply dress codes for each of their shows.

What has been the most memorable moment of your tour so far?

That would have to be coming off stage after playing at Glastonbury. So many of our friends came to watch our set who we didn’t expect to come. In fact, we didn’t expect anyone to be there because it was a Saturday morning. Everyone did a look a bit out of it.

Where did you get the idea to have fans dress up for your shows and what is your favourite dress code from this tour?

We’re not the first artists who have done it, but we love dressing up and wanted to create a space where others can feel safe to do so. I’m most excited for “glam rock”. I’ve got my flares at the ready!

The music video for 'Nothing Matters' was based on the band's mood boardYouTube (The Last Dinner Party)

You’ve defended yourself well against allegations of being an “industry plant” but where do you think these criticisms come from?

The old patriarchy, unfortunately. When we started out, we were playing on line-ups that were otherwise entirely men which was intimidating but thankfully things are improving.

Who are the female artists who inspire you?

Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga, Nina Simone – the list goes on.

What inspires your lyrics and who is involved in writing them?

I wrote the lyrics for and sang lead vocals on ‘Sinner’ because it felt like my story to tell. I like lyrics that tell a story and are accessible. I think Miski does this really well. I’ve been listening to her new album all morning. She uses simple words which become interesting due to where they are placed in the melody.

Have you ever been to Cambridge before?

I’ve visited my friends who went to university there and have been back for a DJ show since.

Which guitarists inspire you?

I love Johnny Marr and the melodic style of Mac DeMarco.

Which of your unreleased tracks are you most excited for us to hear?


Mountain View

The Last Dinner Party at the Portland Arms

We’re going to release another single in a couple of weeks*. It’s quite a left turn. I think it will be polarising. It’s got my favourite music video because we had more creative control over it.

How important are music videos in your creative process?

I really value the aesthetic side of being in a band, but it’s not something I considered when signing up. It’s so fun getting paid to dance around on camera and we’ve worked with some incredibly talented directors.

How have you found gaining creative control over your music videos?

For our first video, everyone was really focused on successfully launching the band. They used our mood board but the specifics were left out of our hands. As we’ve become more confident and established, we’ve been given more licence so hopefully that will continue.

*‘My Lady of Mercy’ was released on 9/10