Grace Chatto from Clean Bandit took time off her busy schedule to chat with us while the group prepares to perform in KL next month as part of the Urbanscapes 2017 music lineup.
I first heard Rather Be (Clean Bandit’s hit single feat. Jess Glynne that won a Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’) when I was cooking dinner in the kitchen of my University hall. I remember turning to my housemate and saying “not bad ah this song”. Fast forward three years later, I’m waiting nervously in my office’s conference room for Grace’s manager to call me for our scheduled phone interview.
It’s crazy how time flies. That since then, Clean Bandit (a British electronic music group first formed back in 2008 in Cambridge) have practically grown to become a household name. Band members Grace Chatto, Jack Patterson and Luke Patterson have much to be proud of given the long list of international chart toppers under their belts. This year alone, they’ve gotten positive reviews for their singles Tears (featuring X-Factor 2015 winner, Louisa Johnson) and Rockabye (which features vocals from BRITs Critics’ Choice finalist Anne-Marie, and Sean Paul)!
F: We’re all so excited to watch Clean Bandit perform in Malaysia this May! Have you ever been to Malaysia?
Grace: Yeah! I’ve actually been to Malaysia before, but only for one day. I have a friend, whom I met while I was studying cello at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia, who lives in Malaysia. He’s a piano player and he told me a lot about his country. I’m very excited to come back and see our fans because for us, one of the most exciting things is being able to travel really really far away from home and seeing real people react to our music.
F: You’ve also just performed in Japan and Korea. What’s the one thing that shocked you guys most about the culture there?
G: I think in Japan the most surprising thing was how the people are so polite and respectful to each other. It’s so different from how it’s like in Europe. We also had crazy foods that we would never eat up here.
F: Your latest hit single features the gorgeous Zara Larsson. What was the inspiration behind Symphony?
G: It is really just a love song, about longing and wanting to be part of somebody else’s life. It’s also a dance song, we like making fast songs that people can dance to.
F: What’s your go-to skincare routine for when you’re on tour?
G: I don’t have a specific routine, but I use a lot of M.A.C and NARS. Also tinted moisturisers because they’re so easy to apply and makes my skin feel smooth, plus it has SPF which protects my skin from the sun. That and a bit of blusher.
F: Tell us more about Cleanfilm, your own film production company. What made you guys decide to start filming your own music videos?
G: Well, when we started is was by necessity because we didn’t have any money to ask anyone else to do it. So we started and realised how much we loved doing it. It came to a point where we were obsessed about it more than the music. Jack edits himself, I’ll produce occasionally and we always direct together. We’ve had different producers for the last few music videos, but for all our initial videos (like Mozart’s House and Telephone Banking), Jack filmed them himself and we edited it together. It’s a really special thing to be able to create the visuals and to have them come from the same minds who created the music.
F: We loved your mermaid hair debut at the BRITs. What’s the next shade you’re looking forward to try?
G: Oh yeah! I have been quite adventurous for the past few years with purple and bright red. But I tend to go towards muted colours like pale blue or pink. I might go pink again next, as at the moment it’s kind of grey.
F: When you’re touring around the world, what’s the one thing you miss about the home?
G: Probably my little cottage in central of London cos it’s so quiet.
F: You play the cello and the percussion really well. Is there a specific instrument you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t gotten around to learning?
G: The guitar! I love them because I think they’re the most sociable instrument. Whenever there’s one around, people will pick it up and just play but I can’t, so maybe one day.
F: What’s your fav song to dance to right now?
G: Mad Over You by Runtown. It’s a Jamaican song, it’s really cool!
F: What’s the one thing that surprised you most about being famous?
G: I guess the nicest thing about it is that people are very open to helping me in everyday situations. It’s such a privilege and it also feels kind of wrong. One surprising thing about it is that it’s not very glamorous, for example, when we tour, it’s like we’re going glamping where we sleep in bunk beds in the same bus. It’s not luxurious at all.
F: One last question. Can you please tell us when Clean Bandit’s second album be out?
G: There’s not a date yet, but it’s definitely going to be towards the end of the year! ;)
Clean Bandit is headlining this year’s Urbanscapes festival (aka Malaysia’s long-running creative arts festival). They’ll be performing at KL Live on the 18th of May. Click here for more info on the event and here if you’d like to purchase your tickets for the concert.