Interview: Clean Bandit, A Classical Future

Clean Bandit are a foursome of friends well on their way to claiming a place among the best and most exciting progressive electronic acts coming out this year. Next month they will tag along on tour with Disclosure (who just hit #2 on the U.K. charts, and are quickly becoming stars in their own right), but it will only be a matter of time until Clean Bandit are headlining bills of their own. The WILD caught up with the crew to see if they could make sense of it all.

Clean Bandit interview WILD mag music

Tell us a bit about the background of the group and how you came together.
Well, Grace and I had been playing classical music together since we were very little, and we were reunited at university. Jack, whom we met there, had the idea of playing around with some of our classical recordings, and Clean Bandit was born! We did our first gig, after about three days’ preparation, at a night Grace and I ran called National Rail Disco.

What have you been up to lately?
Just last week we were in the Radio 1 Live Lounge which was huge for us! We recorded a cover of Labrinth “Earthquake,” but the main excitement was from meeting some of the presenters we grew up listening to like Sara Cox and Trevor Nelson. We’ve also just done two amazing gigs supporting alt-J at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It was completely sold out, and alt-J were brilliant so we were very grateful that they asked us to join in.

Is there a record in the works?
Yes – we’re working on it right now and for the next 3 or 4 months so watch this space…we should also have another single out in March.

How do you go about finding and collaborating with guest lyricists?
To be honest, all the vocalists we’ve worked with we’ve met without really searching. Jack saw Eliza, the singer in “UK Shanty,” busking on the street near where he lived, and Nikki B, Kandaka and Makeda Moore all live near our studio and run singing and dance classes in the community surrounding it. So far all these talented signers have just kind of fallen into our path.

From our perspective in the States, there seem to be so many innovative blends of electronic music coming out of the U.K. Is there something in the water over there?
I really don’t know! There seem to be particular hotspots even within the U.K. – Glasgow’s been having a bit of a moment for the past few years with people like Hudson Mohawke and the rest of the LuckyMe collective.

Any plans for you to cross the pond and play here?
I definitely hope so! Hopefully this feature will tempt some promoter to make it happen, because we’d love to.

Do you find it difficult to fully bring your music to a live setting?
We actually started off as a purely live band and only came together for a couple of gigs a year, and it was quite a while before we started putting any tracks down. So it’s always been quite a natural thing for us to do.

Which do you most prefer: experimenting, songwriting, or performing?
I wanted to give some cool answer about how we see all three as completely inseparable, but I guess I’d say performing is the most exciting part, just because it’s the only time where everything is completely immediate.

Who has been getting some heavy rotation in your headphones recently?
I’ve been listening to the new EP by this British producer Murlo, who I don’t know much about, and I’ve also only recently come across Dominic Lord – the production on his stuff is ridiculous!

What’s up next for you?
We’re supporting Disclosure on their U.K. tour in March which should be fun, and then just working on our album until the summer.

What is your WILD Wish?
To play Madison Square Garden with One Direction supporting us.


Check our more Clean Bandit sounds here

text by: Blaine Skrainka

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