Clean Bandit: Artist You Should Know

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We’ve been playing British band Clean Bandit at KCRW for about a year and now their single “Rather Be” is a bonafide hit – it’s one of the most tagged songs on Shazam in recent history.

The video, which was shot entirely in Tokyo, has now received over 68 million views.  But this is only the beginning of something spectacular.

They granted me their first U.S. interview since I’ve been supporting them all along.  I sat down to chat with band members Grace Chatto, Jack Patterson and Neil Amin-Smith about the genesis of their sound.

Grace noted that her “dad plays the cello and he makes violins, so there’s plenty of music around the house.”

Both she and Neil play both instruments. In fact, they’ve known each other since childhood where they first played together at a youth orchestral academy, then in the Royal Academy of Music.  We discussed their rekindling of friendship at Cambridge while studying classical music, and their eventual friendship with Jack that was to follow.

Under the name Clean Bandit, they started to partake in biannual shows at their school, which included opening up for Calvin Harris. 

It was a really good experience playing on big stages for Calvin, and then playing tiny club nights,” said Grace.

I love how they incorporate classical music, house electronic, steel pan drums and other instrumentation to create their distinctive sound.  Some of their influence comes from when Grace and Jack were studying abroad in Russia.

Their first single, “Mozart’s House”, was actually written while they were in Moscow living above a kiosk which sold house music CD’s. As Jack said, “the combination of Grace practicing the cello in one ear and the house beats in the other sparked an idea.”

Clean Bandit has found their niche and is creating quality music for the pop, electronic and even the classical listener.

Their live LA debut was sold out and the crowd knew every word to their songs.

As Neil said, “it feels amazing to come to America, sell tickets to a show that we are playing in a county that is 11 hours by plane.”

A band that has been loved across the world is now making its way to the States, playing a few gigs and appearing on The Today Show. Quite an accomplishment for three days after their release.

— JK