John Grant, returns to the DLWP stage THIS OCTOBER

…following the release of his brand new album The Art of The Lie, out 14 June via Bella Union.

The lyrical ingenuity of The Art of The Lie is as dark as its production is epic and bold.

Ivor Guest and his cast-list of storied musicians have brought the drama, flecks of intrigue as beguiling as Laurie Anderson or The Art of Noise. John Grant has earthed it in deeply felt humanity and pitch-black realism.

 

One of the most dynamic and revered live artists,  John Grant began thinking about The Art of The Lie in the Autumn of 2022. Earlier that year, John had been introduced to Ivor Guest, producer and composer at Grace Jones’ Southbank show, the finale of her Meltdown Festival…

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They began talking about two records Guest had worked on, ‘Hurricane’ for Jones, ‘Prohibition’ for Brigitte Fontaine. “Grace and Brigitte are two very big artists for me,” says Grant. “I love the albums he did for them. ‘Hurricane’ is an indispensable piece of Grace’s catalogue.” An idea was sparked. “I said, I really think you should do this next record with me. He said, I think you’re right.”

A year and a half later, the result is John Grant’s most opulent, cinematic, luxurious album yet: The Art of The Lie. As the title suggests, the lyrical ingenuity counterweighted under all this considered musical largesse is as dark as its production is epic and bold. Ivor Guest and his cast-list of storied musicians have brought the drama, flecks of intrigue as beguiling as Laurie Anderson or The Art of Noise. John Grant has earthed it in deeply felt humanity and pitch-black realism. “The clothing that it’s dressed up in makes it more palatable,” he says. “It helps the bitter pill go down. Music and humour are how I’ve always dealt with the dark side of life. Come to think of it, it’s how I deal with the good side too.”

Grant likens the musical flavours of The Art of the Lie to the sumptuous Vangelis soundtrack for Bladerunner or the Carpenters if John Carpenter were also a member. “The first time I saw that movie, that opening scene, and heard that music, I was astounded we were being introduced to the evil empire of the future combined with the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard.” While undeniably a John Grant record, nestling humour into tragedy, bleeding anger into compassion, there is a musical ambition and nerve to ‘The Art of the Lie’ which offsets its most political and personal moments.

The hard juxtaposition of beauty and cruelty makes for compelling listening on Grant’s sixth album, a record that ties childhood trauma to hardened adult after-effects, twinning both to the political malaise of America 2024, a country being drawn to the precipice of its own destruction. “We were allowed to feel like we belonged for a couple of seconds,” says Grant. “Not anymore.”

‘The Art of the Lie’ is a considered title, taken from the song Meek AF, itself a lyrical inversion of the biblical edict that the meek shall inherit the earth. Against a lubricated groove, some

Zapp-esque talk box and a spidery keyboard figure, Grant sets out his understanding of the new ethics of America. “Trump’s book, ‘The Art of the Deal’, is now seen by MAGA disciples as just another book of the Bible and Trump himself as a messiah sent from heaven. Because, God wants you to be rich.”

“This album is in part about the lies people espouse and the brokenness it breeds and how we are warped and deformed by these lies”, he says. “For example, the Christian Nationalist movement has formed an alliance with White Supremacist groups and together they have taken over the Republican party and see LGBTQ+ people and non-whites as genetically and even mentally inferior and believe all undesirables must be forced either to convert to Christianity and adhere to the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by them or they must be removed in order that purity be restored to ‘their’ nation. They now believe Democracy is not the way to achieve these goals. Any sort of pretence of tolerance that may have seemed to develop over the past several decades has all but vanished. It feels like the U.S. in is free-fall mode.”

Another abiding theme for the record is parenthood. Three songs, Father (“one of the best I’ve ever written”), with its redolent echoes of the stab and haunt of Pale Green GhostsMother and Son and the hymnal Daddy, which explodes from a mordant chrysalis verse to its colourful butterfly chorus, make up the spine of the record. “Father contains both the adult and the child. Daddy is from the perspective of the child. I’m talking about the way that I relate to men as I go out into the world, because of the confusion I was brought up in about what it means to be a man.”

This bleak confusion underpins a particularly emotional new chapter in the novelistic solo life of John Grant. The artist is building a world, with new episodes augmented by new textures. In this respect, the presence of Ivor Guest is almost like a typesetter’s art. How best to convey the sad overview that the meek will not just be denied the world, but will be made its optimum scapegoat?

“We could often only work for two weeks at a time, it was so intense,” says Grant, before recalling one episode in the studio. “Ivor assembled a team of incredible musicians. Dave Okumu [from The Invisible] is such an incredible guitar player. He came into the room when we were playing the demo of Father and just immediately started doing what you hear on the record. Robin Mullarkey played fretless bass and blew my mind, and the very talented Sebastian Rochford was on drum detail. There were a lot of moments of magic from everyone.”

Among its unsettling political charge, a record of sometimes spectral beauty, sometimes elegant funk, like opener All That School For Nothing and irresistible first single, It’s a Bitch, emerges. “Father is a pretty simple track, musically speaking,” he explains. “It’s not a complicated composition. But it still feels very rich and layered because we took our time with it. We had to. It couldn’t be done quickly. To me, it’s always about distilling things down to their essential components.

Grant had been thinking of records that had a profound effect on him while making The Art Of The Lie. “The first time I heard Time Its Time, the last song on The Colour Of Spring by Talk Talk; or The Night of the Swallow by Kate Bush, on The Dreaming; or some of Jane Siberry’s material on The Speckless Sky or anything by Cocteau Twins or Dead Can Dance; those were important moments for me in music. And of course there is a bit of the Devo spirit in everything I do in some way or another. There’s a lot of amazing humour in their music but they were also serious as a heart attack. I guess this is one of the important themes in my life; it’s about moments and being able to recognize them and be in them while they are happening in spite of whatever else is going on. It’s being in a taxi, the most normal situation in the world and seeing the grandeur, the sheer weight and majesty of a big city passing by, staring in awe. The absurdity of the world on the outside juxtaposed with the world taking place on the inside. That fascinates me, the ability to capture what it really feels like to be a human.”

That is the chink of light slipping through the greying clouds of a world depleting. Beauty exists. John Grant will allow himself to see it. There is a bottle of salt he keeps in his home in Iceland, a gift from a fan, with a ribbon attached at the top. “There’s a little note on the top of it,” he recalls. “It says ‘each grain of salt contained herein represents a time that your songs have saved my life.’ That was truly a precious gift and it helps to look at that when things get very dark.”

Suitable for all ages. Under 14 accompanied by an adult (18+) and in seats.

Booking information

Please note that Booking Fees apply on the following transactions:

Online: Tickets booked online are subject to booking fees when purchased through our website. E-tickets for print at at home are emailed instantly on the account you have registered with DLWP and are free of charge. They can also be downloaded from our website within My Account.

Telephone: £3.50 per transaction + £2 postage or free collection at the Box Office.

In Person: There are currently no charges for booking tickets in person.

There is a £2 charge to post tickets.

We strongly recommend ticket buyers to take out Ticket Protection insurance with Secure My Booking available when you book your tickets at check out.

 

Please note that we are only able to post tickets within the UK. If you live overseas please select box office collection or print at home tickets. Tickets purchased for post will be sent 10 – 14 days before the show date.

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Eat before the show

Book online: Pre-show dining can be booked online as an add-on when purchasing tickets for selected events. You will be purchasing a ticket to guarantee your meal before the show.
Please note you must be a ticket holder to the show to book pre-show dining.

Already booked your tickets? If you’ve already booked tickets for a show and would like to add dining, please contact Box Office: boxoffice@dlwp.com

On the night: If you have pre-booked please come to the bar to order from the gig menu and sit at one of the reserved tables.

No re-entry

Please be aware that we operate no re-entry for gigs. This means that once you have entered the building, you cannot go out and re-enter. This policy is in line with other major music venues across the UK and put in place on police advice. No re-entry is clearly signposted as you come through security on the front door.
There is a fenced-off area on the terrace for people who go out to smoke or vape.

Staying locally

There are plenty of welcoming and good value B&Bs & boutique hotels in Bexhill. The De La Warr Pavilion regularly uses the following:

Travel information
  • By Rail
    Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
    There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
    Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
  • Taxis
    Town Taxis:  01424 211 511
    Parkhurst Taxis:  01424 733 456
  • By Car
    If driving from the London area:
    Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
    OR
    Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
    From the Brighton area:
    Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
  • Parking
    Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 7pm. After this time parking is free.
Accessibility

Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.

Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.

Please contact the Box Office on boxoffice@dlwp.com to arrange a visit.

Facilities for disabled visitors

  • Ramped access at the front of the building
  • A low counter at the Box Office and  Information Desk
  • Disabled toilets on two floors
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible galleries on both floors
  • An accessible Café
  • Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
  • Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
  • Ramped access into the Studio
  • Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.

Facilities for blind or visually-impaired

  • Large print season brochures

Facilities for the hard-of-hearing

  • An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
  • British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.