In the words of band cellist Grace, Clean Bandit are “a collective with four instrumentalists at the core: Jack on keys, sax and MPC, Luke banging the drums, Neil on violin, and me, Grace, on cello.” Grace, Neil and Jack met at university, and soon after Clean Bandit were born, with Jack’s brother Luke drafted in to complete the line-up.
But wait… No vocalists? “We have different singers coming in for different songs, as well as additional instrumentalists, which is really exciting,” says Grace. Having seen the band perform at London’s XOYO, exciting is definitely the best word to describe their live show, which is an upbeat take on their deep house beats.
“It’s electronic music, but it’s all played live,” says Grace, when asked to describe the band’s sound. “There are elements of classical music and the overall thing is dance-y pop.”
Highly addictive dance-y pop, we’d like to warn you; Clean Bandit’s recent single ‘Dust Clears’ is our most listened to track on SoundCloud, while breakthrough tracks ‘A+E’ and ‘Mozart’s House’ demonstrate the same moreish prowess.
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“We were living in Moscow when we wrote ‘Mozart’s House’,” says Grace. “That’s where we found our name. Our Russian friend referred to people in an affectionate way as ‘clean bandits’, which is a literal translation, and basically means ‘utter bastards’.”
After a summer of festivals – “Glastonbury was probably the best, because it felt like such a privilege to play there and we had such a good crowd” – the ‘utter bastards’ are heading out on a UK tour. Stopping by King Tut’s on October 22nd, we were keen to hear about the most ‘Scottish’ activity the band have partaken in previously.
“Well we’ve actually played at King Tut’s before, when we were on with Disclosure,” says Grace. “That was quite Scottish. I also used to busk at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and have eaten a battered Mars bar!” Nice work there, Grace. You’ve out-Scottished Scotcampus.
Clean Bandit are also supporting Bastille on their winter tour, which, for Grace, will be something of a band reunion. “I know the string players that play in the band, and played with them a lot in my teens,” she says. “But Dan [Smith, Bastille’s frontman] heard us when we were playing before them at Bliss Fields Festival, and things went from there.”
With all their live performances and tours, Clean Bandit haven’t released a debut album yet, but “it will be full of banging tunes,” assures Grace, with a laugh. “I’m not sure when it will drop exactly, but we are working hard on it now in amongst the festivals.”
And if she could tell her younger self one thing, it would be… “Do what you want!” Well, if you insist, Grace. We’re off to Paris now. Because that’s what we want to do.
Clean Bandit play King Tut’s on October 22nd. For tickets see www.ticketmaster.co.uk.