Clean Bandit members Grace Chatto, Jack Patterson and Luke Patterson have created a new sound where classical meets electronic, and it’s because of this unique mix of genres that the group has really carved out a name for themselves in the music industry. Their single, “Rockabye”, has been holding strong at #1 for its fourth consecutive week on the UK Singles Chart, showing that this group has really found a niche with their innovative sound that resonates with many people. Bringing in the classical notes of string instruments mixed with the energizing notes of electronic beats and drums, their unique formula and take on music churns out bangers that hold out against the bevy of electronic mixes out there today. Here, we talk to Grace Chatto, the female boss of Clean Bandit, about how they collaborate within the group to create music and recounts the journey they took in order to get to #1.
Congratulations on your #1 single, Rockabye—it’s been holding steady at #1 for it’s fourth week to date. How does it feel like to be you right now?
It feels pretty good! Really good! The song means alot to me so I'm very happy a lot of people are listening to it all around the world.
Did you ever dream of or imagine this level of success when you guys created your group back in 2008?
Yes, definitely. I think it’s important to have a vision for these goals, otherwise it’s hard to make them happen.
How and why did you guys come together and decide to make music? Recount that story for us.
I started the string section first, with violinists I had heard or knew from playing in various orchestras as a teenager. Jack and I lived together at the time and so he made recordings of our classical music. We then decided that we wanted to create something together and worked on making some dance music incorporating these string instruments, which eventually inspired us to put on a club night to showcase our collaborations. From then on, we pieced together the group; Jack asked Luke, his brother, to come and play drums in the group and our dear friend Love Ssega, who was studying chemical engineering at the time, began to sing with us.
Would you say that the pursuit of music was something that was seriously encouraged amongst yourselves? Or did it start out more as something to do for fun?
My dad plays the cello and makes cellos for a living, meaning that there were always lots of instruments in the house, so music has always been a huge part of our lives. We were definitely surrounded by music from a very young age. We were really lucky because our parents were very encouraging to us as children to pursue music seriously and so we were given the opportunity to learn musical instruments quite rigorously.
It’s not every day that you can find a group of people, let alone another person, that you can consistently work with to output the levels of creativity that Clean Bandit has achieved. What do you think it is about the synergy between the three of you that makes this work and this music come alive?
Jack and I trust each other a lot and tend to agree on most things, and it also helps that we have a similar outlook on the world and our lives. Jack and Luke are brothers, so there’s that natural sibling bond right there, but they have a wonderful respect for each other as people as well. But since they grew up playing music together, they have this incredible musical synergy that they have developed since childhood.
If you had to name one thing that each person is exceptional at doing in the group, what would that be and why?
I'm good at being bossy, Jack is good at having amazing ideas on an hourly basis, and Luke is good at playing ridiculously difficult drum beats.
Since there are different opinions governing the group, how do you guys even begin the process of making a song, or making a creative decision about a music video, or deciding to collaborate with someone?
I wouldn't say that the creative process in our group is an art, but it’s definitely a tricky balancing act for all of us. For one, I'm quite a control freak. But ideas for songs and most of our creative output always have their beginnings in Jack's brain and then we refine them and work on them together, whether it’s a song, a video, or anything else.
Are there any specific goals that you hope to achieve with Clean Bandit in the next few years?
One of our goals is to create an instrumental album and a hip hop album. We also want to have a concert in the Royal Albert Hall in London, where we start with a full classical performance and gradually transition into dance music throughout the evening.
If you could go back in time and give some advice to or answer any questions for your younger self, pre-Clean Bandit days, what would that be?
Relax. Don't bother learning to spell.