The Tab Meets… Clean Bandit

The Tab meets Clean Bandit, the rising stars of the electronic music scene.

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At the beginning of summer, The Tab got the chance to interview ex-Cambridge Jack Patterson and Grace Chatto of Clean Bandit fame … here’s the result


Just the Tea-ket

Just the Tea-ket

For readers who aren’t familiar with Clean Bandit, could you give us a quick introduction?

Jack: We’re a four piece band who work with lots of different vocalists. We make dance music with lots of live strings

What would you say your major influences are?

Grace: Jack has a background in jazz and funk, and only started writing electronic music a few years ago. We began as a classical string quartet and started writing beats and baselines around that, and it developed into the style that we have now.

You very recently played a sell-out show at XOYO, as well as Glastonbury. How excited are you for the rest of summer?

Jack: Really excited. We just announced a tour in October which should be really fun. We toured with Disclosure a couple of months ago and that was great, but we’re looking forward to having a bit more of the run of the stage to ourselves, so we can really make the show our own.

In terms of performance, what makes a ‘good show’ for you?

Jack: Good monitoring so we can hear what we’re doing. That’s always been really tough. It’s really hard with the string instruments, especially at somewhere like XOYO where they’re used to loud electronic dance music, to make a wooden cello sound good. So a good gig is where we feel comfortable with the sound.

Grace: Man Like Me have been a big influence. The energy that they bring on stage… we try to emulate that party vibe

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What would you say has been your most ‘showbiz’ experience so far?

Grace: Last night we were hanging with one of the girls from Girls Aloud next to a swimming pool in Shoreditch House. That was fun.

You’ve been playing May Balls since you were students [and they performed at Robinson and Trinity Hall last May Week]. How conducive would you say the Cambridge music scene was to your success?

Jack: I think it was almost the lack of any music scene which was so important. We set up a club night in Kambar [now closed], initially to showcase Clean Bandit for the first time. We’d written some songs and put together a set very quickly after exams. There was also a real craving for interesting producers from around the UK who were bypassing Cambridge. There were people going to The Junction, but it felt like there wasn’t that much going on, especially in terms of new dance music, so Grace and Neil carved out this niche and curated a club night. They had some pretty cool people coming in, like James Blake and xxxy. Also the Classical music scene is very rich and the music department’s amazing. Coming from up North I’d never met such intelligent and talented musicians before (laughs) No that’s not true.

Do you have any advice for up and coming student bands?

Jack: Do the May Balls and take them seriously. Even now, those May Ball stages have got better sound systems than the two thousand capacity stage at Glastonbury, and you get better looked after at St John’s than you do there. Take advantage of it if you can, because they’re looking for acts all the time to fill out the parties.

Grace: Make use of the connections you can make at university. We make our own music videos and we found a lot of people we met at Cambridge helped in various different ways, people we wouldn’t have expected. You can meet so many different people, which is such an advantage to people who have been at music college and have only been in that small world of people all doing the same thing.

A few months ago you remixed Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’, whilst Mozart’s House has been remixed by xxxy and My Nu Leng. Do you have any other artists you’d particularly love to work with next?

Jack: Drake would be really good. I’ve got a huge record which has got his name on. And Snoop Dogg…

Grace: Snoop Lion! Marina and the Diamonds too… she’s got an amazing voice

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We’ve been told you’re currently working on your debut album. How’s that going?

Jack: It’s going good. We’re trying to finish it quickly, but it’s hard because we’ve suddenly had so many live things come up. It feels like we’re doing gigs every single day, and when we’re not we’re rehearsing, but we’ve got a big stretch over the next few weeks where we can really go for it.

Grace: We want to make a video for every song on the album so that’s slowing down the process a little bit

What do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t in Clean Bandit?

Jack: I’d probably be still in Russia, working for the fine art world and Grace would probably be on the dole.