Clean Bandit has defied expectations from the very beginning. Their experimental fusion of electronica and classical must’ve seemed like an odd pairing back when they first began playing club nights at their university, but they immediately recognized their potential mass appeal. Such resolute self-belief was vindicated in awe-inspiring style.
Clean Bandit’s debut album New Eyes (Big Beat/Atlantic Records) raced to 1.6 million sales, and was propelled by 12 million sales of their omnipresent global hit “Rather Be” ft. Jess Glynne, which was the world’s second biggest-selling track of 2014. The awards soon followed: a GRAMMY for ‘Best Dance Recording’ and two Ivor Novello Award wins for the band’s multi-instrumentalist/producer, Luke Patterson, for ‘Best Contemporary Song’ and ‘Most Performed Work.’
The inevitable question that chases such success is simple – how do you follow it? Clean Bandit’s answer was a back-to-basics approach. “It’s about being able to recognize that a song works as a piece of sheet music and a chord structure – like how a jazz standard has a chord structure, a melody and lyrics,” explains the band’s dominant creative force Jack Patterson. “You can then produce and render that however you want. It’s making sure that all of the songs have that solid foundation.” Cellist Grace Chatto adds, “It’s a total contrast to how we made the first album, where it was all produced as it was written. It’s an approach that was particularly evident with “Telephone Banking,” in which their collaborator Love Ssega wrote the lyrics during its video shoot.
Always eager to collaborate with new vocalists, Clean Bandit’s recent breakout single - the dancehall-tinged ‘Rockabye’ - featured an especially striking presence in the shape of Sean Paul. Its story of a single mother battling to do her best for her child resonated with many people who lived through similar experiences. Featuring the soaring vocals of breakthrough star Anne-Marie, “Rockabye” has to date been streamed over 1 billion times, sold over 1 million copies, reached #4 at US Top 40 radio, and became the longest running UK #1 radio hit in 22 years.
On their latest single “Symphony,” Clean Bandit take it back to their classically-trained beginnings and shot the video in London’s Royal Festival Hall with a live orchestra. Featuring guest vocals from Zara Larsson, the track has been streamed over 500 million times to date with the official music video racking up over 330 million views.
As well as representing a landmark achievement for years of dedication, the band’s recent GRAMMY win forecasts a glowing future for Clean Bandit in which anything is possible. They’re keen to keep pushing themselves, as evidenced by their excitement for both the expansion of their live band, and their self-produced videos. Clean Bandit have carved their own distinct niche in music, and fans the world over have embraced their individuality.