About Clean Bandit
Classical crossover in dance music is hardly new; in the ’70s, disco remixes of orchestral staples were all the rage. But when Clean Bandit turned Mozart’s melodies into deep house on their 2014 debut, they somehow made it seem natural, rather than like a novelty. But then, two founding members of the London group are themselves classical musicians: Cellist Grace Chatto and violinist Neil Amin-Smith played together in a college string quartet when Chatto’s boyfriend, Jack Patterson, recorded a performance and began chopping it up over beats. Somewhere in between that “eureka” moment and writing 10 songs in the two weeks before their first gig, Clean Bandit (rounded out by Patterson and his brother Luke, a drummer) forged their sound: a lively, springy fusion of pop and dance, buoyed by classical music’s sense of scale and a conductor’s intuition for featuring the right soloist at the right time. In the case of their stratospheric 2014 breakout hit, “Rather Be,” that soloist was Jess Glynne, an all-but-unknown singer whose soulful but unpretentious tone control made her the perfect fit for the song’s memorable keyboard riff. Since then, Clean Bandit (sans Amin-Smith since 2016) have turned to an ever-expanding roster of guest vocalists—Charli XCX, Rita Ora, Demi Lovato—while cleverly tweaking their style to suit each voice: sparkling reggae backbeats for Sean Paul, skippy syncopations for UK garage icon Craig David. Over the years, Clean Bandit have largely traded classical motifs and house beats for acoustic guitars and slower, more tropical grooves, but the spirit of their music remains the same, distilling complex emotions into an unforgettable form.