Having gained a large international following collaborations with the likes of Sean Paul and Anne Marie, Clean Bandit are all set to return to their roots. Schedules are fixed and the road is calling as the Cambridge-born band brings their classical pop blend back to the UK.
Ahead of their upcoming tour, the band answered a few questions for Forge.
Your collaboration with Sean Paul and Anne-Marie over ‘Rockabye’ quite literally rocked the charts. How was your experience of working with these two artists?
It was a massive thing to work with them, we’ve been huge fans of Sean Paul since we were teenagers and have had the pleasure of playing alongside Anne-Marie for the last two years. Having them both on a record felt truly unique and we actually first played the song with them both live on XFactor, which is always such a tricky thing to coordinate since we all have crazy schedules!
If you were to choose one song of yours that you’d listen to on repeat, which one would it be and why?
Probably ‘Mozart’s House’ since I still have no idea what Love Ssega is rapping about and it would give me the chance to figure it all out.
Let’s say you’re a new colour in a crayon box. Which colour would you be and why?
I’d be a chameleonic colour, able to change into any colour. I’d be the only crayon you’d need in the box.
You’ve been a band since 2008, how do you think each member has changed over the years?
Well one member now isn’t a member, and I think the rest of us have become a lot more chilled out.
You’ve got a gig coming up in October in Cambridge. How might it feel to perform as an established band in the city where it all began?
I’m sure it will feel very nostalgic to be back in the city where we all met and rehearsed together. Cambridge is a very special place and hopefully there’ll be a few familiar faces at the gig so it should feel like a homecoming party!
‘Rather Be’ scooping up a Grammy back in 2015 and ‘Rockabye’ taking the world by storm were undoubtedly high points for you. Were there any other surreal moments during your career that stand out?
Quite recently we played a gig in Switzerland near Lake Como and there was a huge storm that came in during the gig. All the technicians on stage were freaking out and eventually we had to come off, but there was a moment where we were halfway through our song ‘Telephone Banking’ while being pelted by rain! It was particularly surreal since we use a lot of electronic equipment (that still managed to work somehow) and our singers looked like they were singing under a waterfall. It felt like we were performing our music video ‘Tears’ live on stage.
What are some of your fondest musical memories?
I’ve accumulated so many over the years! I guess one of my favourite musical memories is when we reinterpreted our album New Eyes so it could be played by a symphonic orchestra. It was really incredible to hear sounds that would usually be played by synthesisers being played on a trombone or marimba. Hopefully we can do something like that again with all of our new tunes.
If you could recommend another artist’s EP or song, which one would it be and why?
Bicep – ‘Glue’. Just really interesting progressive house music that evolves in a way that I like.
How do you gather inspiration for a new song?
Travelling is usually key, especially exploring different modes of transport. But obviously different places have a massive impact as well. Visiting Japan every now and then tends to help. Their culture is so unique.
What do you like to do outside of music that may help with your creative process?
Watching incredible TV series/films helps visualise things, which in turn helps the music.
How has your music evolved over the years?
I guess it’s become slightly less weird and maybe only a bit more banging.
Now that you’ve had a huge number of gigs all over the world, which song did you think always got the best reaction from the crowds overall?
‘Show Me Love’ – Robin S.
What has been your favourite venue to play at so far?
Fillmore, San Francisco.
Rumour has it that a collaboration with Sam Smith is on the cards – what do you have to say about that?
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!
After working with some of the big names in the music industry, are there any other collaborations you’d love to get under your belt?
I’d love for us to collaborate with Miley Cyrus, her voice is incredible and it’s amazing that she’s managed to do all of that pop stuff and then go back to her roots and sing country again. I think a country/pop banger could work really well!
To those who have tickets to Clean Bandit’s upcoming gigs: you lucky things. To the rest of us who aren’t that fortunate, hit up the iTunes store to pre-order Clean Bandit’s new single featuring Julia Michaels, ‘I Miss You’ that’s out on the 27 October.