Clean Bandit are sweeping the world with their brand of irresistible pop and that rise is only beginning. Known best for their Grammy-winning smash hit Rather Be (ft. Jess Glynne) and more recently chart-topping Rockabye (ft. Anne Marie and Sean Paul), the British Trio whom hail from Cambridge, England certainly aren’t an overnight success story by any means. In fact, they have been hard at work for several years now since forming in 2008. Their classical crossover-meets-dance pop not only has evolved from each of those genres, but also has revolutionized them as we know it. Dance music can be repetitive yes, but it also can be sophisticated and intricate too as they have proven.
Consisting of members Grace Chatto (cello, vocals, percussion) and brothers Jack Patterson (bass, keyboard, vocals, piano) and Luke Patterson (drums, percussion), the anatomy of the band changed when one of its founding members Neil Amin-Smith (violin, piano) had exited last fall. Clean Bandit (name derived from a Russian phrase meaning “utter rascal”) have been unstoppable, connecting to a global audience in a big way and just today made another stop-off to a city wherr promotion and touring have brought them to multiple times in recent years, Toronto. The trio played a show at The Phoenix Concert Hall along with Zara Larsson, the latter whom appears on their latest single Symphony.
We had the pleasure of chatting with brothers Jack and Luke Patterson of Clean Bandit about everything from their beginnings to their routine to what’s next. Be sure to check-out our video too.
Jake and Grace met at school in Cambridge and the former then introduced her to younger brother Luke. I ask the brothers to take us back to 2008, their starting point and first impressions. Of course true to sibling rivalry, Jake and Luke joked they had a bad impression of one upon first meeting!
Luke: “I thought these guys were weird, these Cambridge school grads.”.
We’ve seen the terms “classical crossover” and “dance” used to describe their sound, but Clean Bandit are a bit more complicated than that. How would they describe it?
Luke: “Every song has a new sound, every song has its own genre.”.
Jack: “It’s ever-changing, ever blazing. We’ve been doing some emotional bangers recently.”.
Clean Bandit have several famous fans like Sam Smith (whom they too are huge fans of), but who are their inspirations?
Jack: “We listened to a lot of Motown growing up. I think it’s very similar to how pop music is constructed today, you have different people doing different elements.”.
Luke: “Growing up, our dad had Michael Jackson‘s Thriller on VHS. I remember just watching that back-to-back.”.
Jack: “It was his Greatest Hits, all on a VHS, and I think we both just rinsed that.”.
Luke: “All the music and production was just incredible, especially for straight-up pop music.”.
Having had some huge success pairing with with a talented roster of guest vocalists, we ask Clean Bandit who their dream collaboration would be.
Jack: “We would only sign a publishing deal on the condition we got to meet Sean Paul.”.
Luke: “It’s called the Sean Paul clause.”.
Jack: “Article 12! The label did make it happen about five years ago at his concert in London. We gave him our first EP after the show and he seemed enthusiastic about it, but it took him a long time to reply.”.
Luke: “We have a holy trinity…”
Jack: “Drake, Beyonce, Rihanna …and Sam Smith.“.
Luke: “Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar too… but he’s busy.”.
Jack: “We’ve got a song that we’ve just done that would be great for Bruno Mars. He’s not on it. We like to announce collaborations that are yet-to-be!”.
There is a great cinematic quality and message of love in their new video for Symphony. We asked what was behind this.
Jack: We all got together and made the music video for Symphony, our most ambitious one to date. We are very proud of it. Symphony is a metaphor for life, wanting to be a part of somebody’s life, their everything. It was our first time working with professional actors and getting into the narrative in a serious way.”.
Work has brought the band to Toronto on many occasions in recent years. We ask about coping with the rigorous touring life, as evinced by member Grace‘s being under the weather today. They even show us moves from their workout routine (see video).
Jack: “We try to find routines on tour that make us feel normal. It’s called the Insanity (DVD) workout.”.
With a second album, summer festivals around the corner and a mini Asia tour which includes stops in Malaysia and China, we ask about the Clean Bandit fandom and just how next-level they can be.
Luke: “In South Korea, it was our first concert there and we had a sold-out show. A fan made us a massive box of rice cakes with our logo on it and other crazy stuff like special Korean fans (paper) and pencils and all sorts of memorabilia.”.
Toronto was blessed to have an opportunity to see up-close one of the UK’s greatest acts in recent memory. Jess Glynne brought her Ain’t Got Far to Go Tour to Adelaide Hall for a late show last night and although locally she is growing more familiar thanks to several Bench billboards featuring her distinct face and red locks, the support certainly was there for her at the packed club.
The 26-year-old Singer/Songwriter’s 45-minute-long set had the crowd dancing start to finish and when she slowed things down mid-set with a pair of ballads, the audience stopped and listened. Believe me, this isn’t an easy feat when people wanna dance and get liquored-up.
The success is undisputable. Many new artists are happy to chart even. Glynne after winning a Grammy last year for her collaboration with Clean Bandit, Rather Be, has had a whopping five number one singles in the UK. And her album just came out a few weeks ago there, also debuting on-top. True, there isn’t anything cutting edge in her debut offering I Cry When I Laugh, but the tunes all are solid and there is an authenticity and focus to what Glynne does, which is refreshing. Her songs have singable melodies and the hooks are infinite and we miss that in an age of digital vocal trickery. The comparisons to Adele and Amy Winehouse are inevitable with her jazzy alto, but there is an Mariah/Whitney-esque relatability which is uplifting, not brooding.
The thing about Glynne‘s set is that she performed tracks omitted inexplicably on the North American pressing of her disc, but the crowd got going with the spirited disco of Real Love, Ain’t Got Far to Go (for which her tour is named after), You Can Find Me, a cover of Winehouse’s Tears Dry on their Own, before witnessing magic onballads Take Me Home and My Love. She capped it off encouraging fans to turn their cell phones off for the finale, Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself and encored with her current single, Hold My Hand which for some odd reason simply doesn’t translate as well live. Perhaps it’s the missing horns or the rhythm over-powering the keyboards, this is the only track which wasn’t as great as the recording.
There is no new artist I adore more than Jess Glynne. It’s undeniable that the landscape of pop music has changed so much over the past few years and while there are many faceless singers featured on tracks by red-hot producers or dance acts, something about the vivacious 25-year-old redhead that is different.
Rather Be by Clean Bandit infiltrated North American airwaves last summer to much success, going-on to win them and Glynne, who provided vocals, a coveted Grammy. It’s time for Glynne‘s close-up now and she’s looking to take that five-number-one-hit success she’s established in the UK stateside.
Glynne currently is on-tour playing clubs mostly as part of her Ain’t Got Far to Go Tour in North America (she can fill arenas in the UK) and just this weekend she was in Montreal. In addition to a show tonight at Adelaide Hall, Glynne is out promoting her debut disc, I Cry When I Laugh and despite almost not getting to meet her as she went to an appearance at The Morning Show (National Edition) via an alternate entrance. After catching her attention, she promised to come out after her appearance. And she did.
See her Interview here:
The truth is since finding a way to stream I Cry When I Laugh back in August, I haven’t stopped listening to it. Every single track on it is pure gold. True, there isn’t anything particularly new or innovative about the collection of tunes, but that is what’s refreshing about it. It’s not trying to be trendy necessarily. Just good, solid tunes and superb vocals. Real emotions.
If you haven’t ever heard of Glynne, please check-out Hold My Hand, Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself or Take Me Home for a snapshot of her talent.
Meeting Glynne was a dream and Billy being my sidekick made that moment extra special as he brought a big smile to her face, even trying to go in for a kiss. She is everything I could have wished for.
Let me tell you about Jess Glynne. She is amazing. The 25-year-old British Singer/Songwriter already has a Grammy win to her credit without even an Album out yet. You might remember her vocals on labelmates Clean Bandit‘s hit last summer, Rather Be, on which she was featured. Glynne is ready for her close-up now and already in the UK she reached number one with her ’90s-licious Hold My Hand, which stayed there a consecutive three weeks. The Track is now gaining airplay here in North America and hopes to repeat its success.
Glynne will be embarking on her first North American Tour this fall in support of her debut Disc, I CRY WHEN I LAUGH, which includes a Toronto stop on Monday, September 21, 2015 at Adelaide Hall. The Ain’t Got Far To Go Tour wraps in England mid-November.
I absolutely am in love with Glynne and it really has been a long time since I’ve been this excited about a new Artist. Her voice, her writing, her songs are all accessible, yet have a lotta heart. I can’t stop singing along.