Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett on new London venue Lafayette: “It’s inspired by our travels through the Southern states”
Mumford & Sons‘ Ben Lovett has opened up on how his new London venue Lafayette was directly inspired by the band’s travels on the road.
The new 600-capacity venue opened in King’s Cross this week, some three years after Lovett unveiled the grassroots venue Omeara near London Bridge.
Speaking to NME ahead of the opening, Lovett explained how he dreamt up the venue’s interior after travelling through the US with the folk-rock giants.
“It was built from scratch, so we had a blank canvas to build from. It’s inspired by a lot of our travels around the Southern states like Louisiana, Alabama and the fusion of influences that came through,” he told NME. “It’s got a bit of the old French vibes that you’ll find in those places – hence the name.
“It’s a wide room, but it feels incredibly intimate given that it’s only 600 capacity. London could do with a few more venues, so this is adding to the ones out there.”
In contrast, Lovett said Omeara was “riffing off our travels in Latin America”.
“We took a slightly different approach with Lafayette,” he said. I think it’s important to have personality and go for a direction, otherwise it ends up feeling like a black box.”
The opening week has seen Lafayette play host to a number of established acts, including an intimate performance by Blossoms and a three-night residency by the multi-Grammy Award winning US pianist and producer Robert Glasper.
But Lovett also hopes that the intimate venue will play a huge role in helping upcoming artists cut their teeth as live acts.
“It’s twice as big as Omeara, and in my mind it’s going to be the gig you play after Omeara. You come back, you play that step up and it’s good. I was reading the other day about a speech from Elton John, where he was saying about how important it is to not skip over steps and rocket up into these massive venues,” Lovett explained.
“There’s a lot of truth in that. As someone who spent a lot of time in grassroots venues in my late teens, I don’t think I would have had any idea on how to perform or make mistakes if it wasn’t for these venues where you don’t have too much pressure. It’s quite a natural environment in that sense. Hopefully we’ll contribute to that effort.”
Lovett also remained coy when asked about shows taking place at the venue in upcoming months, but insisted that some of the bookings have “blown” his mind.
“We’ve got 85 acts confirmed and that’s before we’ve opened up. I hope it’s used everyday, that’s the ambition, and I want it to be as eclectic and diverse as possible. There’s some stuff confirmed but not announced yet that has blown my mind. It’s really exciting, people are trusting in what we’re doing,” he said.
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#repost @timeoutlondon There's a brand new music venue that's just opened in King's Cross, and we went to have a peek around the place. @lafayettelondon is a two-floored, 600-capacity music and nightlife spot, owned by Ben Lovett: boss of the Communion label, owner of @Omearalondon near Borough Market and one-quarter of Mumford and Sons. "It’s a really impressive and non-generic space," informs Music Editor Oliver Keens. "It naturally looks like a performance space, but with lights down low, it’s also very easy to imagine it running as a club (the venue has a 4am licence on Friday and Saturday)." Follow our link in bio for all the need-to-knows. [📷: Andy Parsons]
“In the opening week, we’ve got Blossoms and Grouplove holding up the indie alternative, all the way through to Robert Glasper and his brilliant jazz. I don’t think a venue should define itself too much, it should reflect what people want to see and that’s what I want to do.”
Meanwhile, Lovett will hit the road with Mumford & Sons once more later this year, when the band headlines Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival.