Clean Bandit - Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne - http://youtu.be/m-M1AtrxztU
What does deep house, the work of Stockhausen, a self-programmed snake and a frozen Lily Cole have in common? No, it's not the contents of a lost episode of Skins. Nor is it the XX’s Christmas list. It is, rather, just a few of the details that make up Clean Bandit, a new four-piece that in their playfulness and willingness to trample over musical boundaries offer a refreshing new direction for dance music in 2014.
Forget your rock revivalists or your retrofitted soul crooners, Clean Bandit could not have emerged at any time other than now. Comprised of brothers Jack and Luke Patterson alongside the classically-trained pair of Grace Chatto and Neil Amin-Smith, the group formed in 2008. One night , in the dingy confines of a Cambridge nightclub, classic music met bass music, and it never looked back.
“It was at the band’s own club night called National Rail Disco. We set it up because we thought there was a real lack of new interesting music at the time. The first ever one was basically set up so we could perform. But as it carried on it became more of a straightforward club night we DJ’d or played live most weeks alongside other DJs and electronic acts we loved.”
The students, not normally thought to be a particularly clubby kind of crowd, were into it. “They loved it, it was really successful and always completely packed”, says Jack. “People didn't expect the students to be into it, but they were. They all had a real appetite for the music. One of the coolest things was the night we had James Blake down. Three quarters of the way through his set he just played a Destiny's Child acapella on its own. Even though there was no beat,. people just went completely off. That was amazing.”
National Rail Disco provided Clean Bandit with a blueprint for everything that was to follow. First, there was a willingness to take risks. Second a desire to blend beats and strings. Third, it was done in a DIY fashion, using whatever resources were to hand.
But first they decided to move to Moscow. Grace to learn the language and play cello. Jack followed her, and ended up enrolling in Russia's famous film school, The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. “I didn’t have much to do in Moscow and someone mentioned a film course that was open to international students so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a five year course,” Jack recalls. “I didn't do the whole thing, but the whole of the first year you only do black and white still images. In the second year you do moving images but still only in black and white. It was all in Russian too, and to begin with none of the students spoke a word of it.”
It was at the Gerasimov that Jack's ideas of blending music recordings with filmmaking began to take shape. “I was making music on a laptop a lot while I was there”, he says. “It was still a hobby though. I had long days at film school and then would come home and have a go messing around making music. I wrote Mozart's House while I was out there. I was listening to a lot of house music there, there was a little boutique outside our flat that would blast out house for 24 hours. Maybe that seeped in.”
Now, in 2014, Clean Bandit are still mixing things up. Currently residing in London, this electroquartet are applying their principles to a whole new range of possibilities.