Winning the Grammy for “Best Dance Recording” this year, Clean Bandit continues to bring their unique blend of classical and electronic music to the stage and the radio with tracks like “Rather Be” and “Real Love.” Currently on tour across the United States and Canada, the British foursome released their album New Eyes last year and is working on a new album with songwriters such as Priscilla Renea and Andrea Martin. Before their show at Royale, Grace Chatto and Jack Patterson sat down with Blast’s Madeline Knutson to discuss the group’s recent successes and what we can expect from their future work.
Blast: You rose to popularity, in the United States especially, after publishing your Grammy-award winning song, “Rather Be”. Did you think that this was the song that was going to make you so well-known? If not, was there a different song that was your favorite?
Chatto: My favorite song is called “Come Over” and it has a reggae dance hall element to it. That song features a UK Jamaican artist called Stylo G and it’s a duet between me and him. The song is very happy and we are going to play that tonight. I remember exactly where I was when Jack [Patterson] played me the string riff at the beginning of “Rather Be.” That’s what he wrote first. We were all on the subway traveling and he was on his laptop playing notes on his keyboard. He played that riff for me and I immediately thought it was so catchy. Jack writes most of the music and I always thought that the stuff that he writes has mass appeal because it is always so relatable. We started performing “Rather Be” at festivals a long time before we made the recording. The way people were reacting to it was quite euphoric and they would sing along to the chorus, even though they had never heard it before. That’s why we chose to release it as our next single and then suddenly, it just went kind of crazy around the world.
Blast: You have a variety of vocalists on your album, New Eyes, such as Jess Glynne on “Rather Be” and “Real Love” and Alex Newell on “Stronger.” Who would you be interested in featuring on your next album and why?
Chatto: We would like to work with Grimes. I spoke to her recently about doing something together and sent her an instrumental track that she really liked. There are loads of people we would like to work with. We are into so many different types of music and the fact that we feature different vocalists on all of our songs allows us to work with a lot of different people. Most of the singers on New Eyes are friends of ours or people we have met organically. However, making this new album gives us a chance to think about people we haven’t met before. I would love to work with a lot of people from Bjork and Andre 3000 to James Blake and Alicia Keys.
Blast: Two of your major songs, “Rather Be” and “Real Love,” feature fellow UK artist Jess Glynne. What do you enjoy most about working with her and do you see yourself doing more songs with her in the future?
Patterson: She has an incredible tone and character to her voice that is really distinct. She’s amazing and it has been a great experience working with her. We would work with her again in the future but at the moment, because we have done a lot with her already, it’s exciting for us to work with other people. Also, she is releasing her own music right now and we worked on her single, “Hold My Hand.”
Blast: All four members of Clean Bandit are from England. Do you feel that being a band there is different than being a group in the United States? Do you think that the audience reception is different by country?
Chatto: The audience is definitely different in the UK and the US. It’s hard for us to compare directly because in the UK, we play much bigger venues, which changes the vibe. In the US, we have had a very warm reception and people are jumping around from the beginning of the set. In England, we have to warm them up carefully. We have met so many amazing fans here who are really sweet and it’s very exciting to be out here. It feels so new and different.
Blast: You are currently on tour in the US and recently released the music video for your song, “Stronger.” What does the rest of this year look like for the band and when can we expect to hear new music?
Patterson: We are currently writing our second album and are about halfway through the writing. For this album, we are changing our process and writing first, then producing and recording it. Last time, we wrote and recorded at the same time. Right now, we are writing and touring
Chatto: The writing is fit around touring because we are constantly touring. For the last year, we’ve been basically living on a tour bus and we are doing that again this year. We have been on an American tour for almost a month now and after this tour, we are going back to the UK for Glastonbury and various other festivals. We are coming back to the US in September and then going to South America in October. After that, we will be performing in Australia and Asia. We get to go everywhere, which is really exciting because we have both always loved to travel. This is kind of a dream job for us. We went to the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago, which was amazing.
Patterson: Also, we have been writing with a lot of Americans lately, like Priscilla Renea, who has done a lot of stuff with Rhianna, and Andrea Martin, who has worked with Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson.
Blast: At the 2015 Grammys, “Rather Be” won the award for “Best Dance Recording.” What was that experience like?
Patterson: The whole thing was surreal and I hadn’t felt like that since I was a kid. They announced it and we had just walked into the ceremony like two minutes before. Suddenly, they were saying that the “Best Dance Recording” goes to Clean Bandit. We were just so shocked. We all went up on the stage in complete shock and didn’t even realize that Gloria Gaynor was giving us the Grammy. The whole night after that is kind of a blur.
Chatto: The after party was at the Chateau Marmont and we DJ’ed there. It was so much fun and then various people had their own off-shoot parties in their rooms at the Chateau Marmont. Mark Ronson had one that we went to and so did Charli XCX. We just went between those and every now and then, the firemen came and shut down people’s rooms because they were so overstuffed. It was quite a night.
Be sure to check out Clean Bandit at http://cleanbandit.co.uk and connect with them on social media at https://www.facebook.com/cleanbandit and https://twitter.com/cleanbandit