Clean Bandit prides itself on gracefully meshing house and classical music while collaborating with some of the best vocal artists and DJs in the world. Their smash hit “Rather Be” featuring Jess Glynne has been a huge turning point for the band. We sat down with brothers Jack and Luke Patterson, who play keyboard and drums respectively, to talk collaboration, US tours, and flashing the goods.
Vinyl Mag: Can you tell us a little bit about your time in Russia? Was it a conscious decision to blend house music and classical, or was it just a happy accident for you guys?
Jack Patterson: It was kind of an accident. The initial genesis of it was quite lucky. It was kind of circumstantial. Grace had a string quartet, and I was helping them out a lot; I was doing recordings for them and helping them promote their gigs.
Luke Patterson: You said that you lived above a house record shop?
LP: I wasn’t there at the time. You said you were self-consciously being driven to making more electronic, more “housey,” not commercial, but more popular music.
VM: Why did you guys choose the title New Eyes for the album?
JP: There’s a song on there that I really like called “New Eyes,” which is actually named after a place south of France called New Eye. That just kind of Anglicized the version of that name, and we just liked it. It seems to fit.
VM: Did you have any idea when you were writing New Eyes how many people would like it – that 300 million people would be dancing to it?
LP: No, I don’t think we knew. For the singles, for the songs, we definitely had an idea that that was really going to take off, but in terms of the album, no. We just find it really cool that we’ve made this body of work into so many different types of music. It’s really humbling to hear that people respect that and are embracing all of these different styles.
VM: Do you guys have certain singers in mind when you’re writing the music, or does that just come later?
JP: It depends, really. Some of the songs we’ll work on with vocalists, half of it is written with the person who’s featuring, the other half is written with other writers. We’ve got a couple of long-standing friends that we write music with. Some of it is all of our own material, and that stuff is probably not written with anyone in mind.
VM: You guys do sing sometimes, but it’s usually just smaller stuff? You try to have as much collaboration as possible?
JP: I’m singing on “Dust Clears” and “New Eyes” as well.
VM: A little birdie told us you guys might be collaborating with Marina and the Diamonds soon. Can you comment on that?
JP: Yeah, we did a session, and it was definitely like a track in the works.
JP: She’s fantastic.
VM: How many times have you been to SXSW?
LP: This is our first time.
VM: How many shows are you guys playing?
VM: Do you guys work closely with the DJ’s when they do remixes?
JP: It kind of just happens. It depends. Some of the remixes just got sent, and we’re like, “Okay, cool.” Some of them we’ve tried to get ourselves. With Gorgon City, we’ve done really cool remixes, like with our song “Nightingale,” which we play live. It’s really an amazing interpretation of the track.
VM: Have you guys been in any flash mobs since your video for “Rather Be”?
LP: We had a flash mob in Japan.
JP: Luke likes flashing in mobs. He likes flashing to the general public.
VM: What’s the biggest difference playing concerts or festivals in the UK as opposed to the US?
LP: So much more up for it, for the US.
JP: We haven’t really done a lot of US festivals yet. This is our first, but the crowds are just really nice, really warm. It seems like they’re much more ready to let go in the US. You have to work a bit harder to get there in the UK.
LP: You have to really persuade them to have a good time.
VM: What’s next for you guys? Are you going to do more festivals here, or are you going to go back?
JP: Yeah, we’ve got a few more shows. We’ve been touring now for six weeks in the States.
LP: We got Coachella and Governor’s Ball.
VM: Who are you most excited to see at SXSW?
JP: Probably Marina and the Diamonds.
VM: Would you consider yourselves “food truck” people or “BBQ joint” people?
JP & LP: What’s food truck?
VM: Austin has trucks all over the city that sell unique types of delicious food. You need to try it, ASAP!
JP: Okay, sweet! I’m excited.
VM: Anything else you’d like to say?
JP: New single “Real Love,” check it out, our album, and a new video we just put out for a song called “Stronger.”
*You can check out Clean Bandits new video for “Stronger” below!