What Is Love? (Deluxe)
Trained as classical musicians, British trio Clean Bandit aren’t afraid to experiment. Their 2014 debut, New Eyes, introduced a flair for genre-bending as they punctuated Mozart with surprising electronic beats and fused guest Jess Glynne’s powerhouse voice to a soaring orchestra. On their second album, What Is Love?, Grace Chatto and brothers Jack and Luke Patterson beef up the guest list to 22 collaborators, including Rita Ora, Big Boi and Luis Fonsi. Luke Patterson tells Apple Music about four great things you’ll find on What Is Love?—and one you won’t.
Answers! “Listeners should try and answer the question What Is Love? through each of the songs. Whenever we’re working with artists, they tend to bring their own lyrics. Each song explores this topic of love in a completely different way. You’ve got ‘Rockabye’ talking about love between a mother and child. Then ‘We Were Just Kids’ is about love between siblings, and then there’s songs about the absence of love. Listeners should be thinking about what love is and what it means to them. Hopefully this record inspires that.”
Guitars! “We’ve strayed away from our classical roots. We’re still using strings here and there, but a lot of the songs now feature acoustic guitar. Some of it is actually a friend of ours called Nakajin, from Japanese band Sekai no Owari. Now we’re about to re-create all these songs for the live show, and Jack’s just like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to learn guitar.’”
The ’90s! “A lot of the music is reminiscent of ’90s pop music—it features so many artists, but at the same time there’s a Clean Bandit sound. On ‘Playboy Style’, there’s something about Charli XCX’s tone. She is very much inspired by music of that era and that comes through in the way that she writes, and then we were adding this reggae feel. And it’s got to feel somewhat ’90s if you've got the king of garage [Craig David] on the record.”
Slower tempos! “We’ve slowed things down a bit since New Eyes. A lot of that stuff was quite experimental. It was trap-, drum ’n’ bass- and house-inspired beats. Since then, we’ve brought things down to 100 BPM, which is a more reggaetón feel. That tempo benefits so much from having these tropical sounds. Jack’s been experimenting a lot with different percussive synth sounds and Latin vibes, which always adds a bounciness to our tracks.”
Not Elton John! “We’ve got a couple of songs with him. [But] overall, it felt like they just didn’t fit in with the rest of the way the songs were sounding together. It would be doing the song an injustice if we were to just slide it in, and then people might get to that track and think, ‘Oh, this sounds weird within the context of the album.’ But it’s definitely a song that we’re desperately trying to put out there.”