"There’s a lot more to us than ‘Rather Be’" - hmv.com talks to Clean Bandit...
Pop come classic quartet Clean Bandit were catapulted to public consciousness when their single 'Rather Be' topped the UK singles chart earlier this year. Their debut album New Eyes comes out today (June 2nd) and we spoke to cellist Grace Chatto to find out all about it...
Your debut record New Eyes is out today, are you nervous about it coming?
"Just excited really, we’ve been working on the record for a quite a long time and it’s really cool that it’ll finally be out. I think most people will have come to us through ‘Rather Be’ so hopefully they’ll be curious to here what the album would be like."
Have you gone back and worked on anything since ‘Rather Be’?
We were really lucky to have finished the album before ‘Rather Be’ came out, because if we hadn’t it would have put pressure on us to write in that style, the album has a lot of different styles and genres on there. There’s a lot more to us than ‘Rather Be’.
Did you always want to write a very diverse album?
“It wasn’t that we wanted to do that, it was just that we didn’t write in a particular style. We just came up with what sounded good to us and that turned out to be a lot of different styles within each song and the body of the album."
You’ve got some great guest appearances on the album, singers like Sharna Bass and Jess Glynne, how did you go about getting them all involved?
“In quite a variety of different ways, mostly it’s just people we meet. Like Love Ssega, who sings on ‘Mozart’s House’, we knew her through a friend. A lot of people we meet through our studio space which is part of a council project in London where we took on trainees in music production from the local area. Some of the trainees we had turned out to be incredible singers, Nikki Cislyn came to us that way, she’s on three songs on the album and she’s now writing for other people.”
“We heard Sharna Bass singing for the first time when she was 14, we loved her voice and when we wrote ‘Extraordinary’ we got in touch and she liked the track and came in and did vocals. We met Eliza Shaddad when she was busking in Shoreditch and asked her to record with us, she’s on two tracks. A real variety of meeting people.”
Does that mean in your day to day lives you’re always looking for new singers?
“Yeah, the last few years have been like that, especially since we signed with the record label, which is fairly recent. Most of the album was written through finding people, but since we’ve signed they’ve suggested people to us and we actually met Jess Glynne in a more conventional way, she’s on our label too, so they introduced us to each other. We’d had ‘Rather Be’ for a year before we met her, but we’d never recorded it. It worked so well with her.”
Your profile is obviously a lot bigger now, do you think you’ll want to collaborate with bigger names in future?
“Definitely. We’re always looking for singers that suit what we do.”
Is there anyone you’d love to work with?
“I’d love to work with Kwabs, but I actually knew him before we signed. But also Shakira, maybe one day we can work with Shakira, I’d love that. It’d be really interesting to write together.”
You’ve been working on the album for a long time, what’s the oldest song on there?
“’Mozart’s House is the oldest track, that was written in 2008, it’s not changed actually, it’s exactly the same, we just remastered it for the album.”
How have you found playing the songs live? Are you enjoying touring?
“It’s been so fun. We started a live band, we used to put ourselves on, but it’s been fun to tour. Since ‘Rather Be’ came out we’ve been doing a lot of interviews around Europe and not a lot of touring. That’s been quite surreal, we’d finished the album, but we weren’t playing it, just talking about it. Now we’re touring again and it’s been so much fun actually playing the music, I’ve loved meeting fans.”
Has it been challenging to bring any of the songs on the album live?
“No, we were playing most of the songs live before we ever recorded them so it was kind of the other way round. It’s been fantastic to play out though.”
Is there room to expand? Would you like to tour with a full orchestra?
“We’d love to do that, we actually have plans to play some gigs with a full orchestra. Sometimes we play with a string quartet, our sound is very much the more the merrier.”
Where did the lyrics on the album come from? Did you lean on the guest singers or were they written by you as a band?
“It’s been quite. Some we wrote, mainly Jack (Patterson, bass guitar and keyboards), some were written by the guest artist. Love Ssega, who does ‘Mozart’s House’ and ‘Telephone Banking’, has a very distinctive style and it would have been hard to replicate that and imagine him singing lyrics he didn’t write.”
“A lot of times we collaborated on the words. ‘Extraordinary’ we actually wrote with a lyricist named Jimmy Napes, who did a lot of Disclosure’s tracks with them. That’s been him and Jack sat at a grand piano, coming up with lyrics.”
So what’s the plan for Clean Bandit for the rest of the year?
“A lot of live stuff. Festivals in the summer across the UK and Europe, then we’re going to America and hopefully Australia. Then we’ve got a big UK tour, ending at Brixton Academy, which we’re really excited about. Then we’re planning this orchestral collaboration, which will hopefully be in the winter of this year. We’re so busy, we don’t have a free day until then.”
Clean Bandit’s debut album New Eyes is out now in hmv stores and can be previewed by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of the page.
The band will be performing live and then signing copies of their debut album 'New Eyes' at hmv 363 Oxford Street, LONDON - Monday 2nd June - 6pm. Click here for more details.