Clean Bandit Hunger TV Mix by The Hunger on Mixcloud
Experimental electro act Clean Bandit, who are known for intricate string work in their dance music, are like nothing you’ve heard before, and curate this week’s Hunger TV mixtape. Neil talk’s us through the tracks chosen for the mix before we catch up with fellow band member Jack to talk Russian, Architecture and a bit of music.
EXPLAIN THE TRACKS ON THE MIX TO US, WHY ARE THEY SIGNIFICANT?
Neil: To be honest, these tracks aren’t hugely personally significant, just some stuff we like at the moment. Having said that, Grace and I used to run a night and one of the bookings we made was xxxy – who is featured here with his top remix of our current single, ‘Mozart’s House’.
FOR ANYONE THAT MAY NOT KNOW, GIVE US A POTTED HISTORY OF CLEAN BANDIT – WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Jack: I met my beloved Grace (the cellist) at university and we wanted to collaborate. She brought along her string quartet and I brought along my brothers, Luke (drums) and Sseg (vocals). Things went from there and now we work with several other singers too. One, Eliza Shaddad (UK Shanty, Birch), I met in the street, where she was busking with her guitar! We make music videos – music and film – not just music, and sometimes the ideas for the film come before the music.
THE MUSIC IS EXTREMELY ECLECTIC – CLASSICAL MEETS ELECTRONIC – WHY DO YOU THINK THE GENRES WORK TOGETHER?
Well it’s a Morse and Lewis, Mulder and Scully type scenario. Sometimes unusual combinations just work: my favourite restaurant is Duck and Waffle on the top of Heron Tower, where you can order a duck’s leg on a waffle with maple syrup and a duck egg 24 hours a day! I think Bach would have liked minimal techno. And Beethoven would love Drake, I know I do! I am often inspired by classical pieces that Grace and Neil play in their string quartet concerts.
DID IT TAKE A WHILE FOR PEOPLE TO ‘GET’ YOUR MUSIC AS IT IS SO ORIGINAL? WERE YOU EVER WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTANDING IT?
We weren’t worried about people not understanding it, from the outset it has felt fun for audiences and us, not complicated. But we didn’t expect people to go for it in the way they have. Generally we’ve been amazed and delighted by the reactions so far, although some people find the videos weird!
EXPLAIN THE NAME TO US, WHY CLEAN BANDIT?
Well it’s a Russian phrase which was used to describe Grace’s sister by a dear friend in Moscow and it roughly translates as ‘blatant bastard’. We used to live in Moscow, and most of Mozart’s House was filmed there. Not many people notice this actually, as it was during a freakish heat wave so the shots do not look how many of us imagine a classic Moscow landscape.
YOU ALL HAVE FAR RANGING DEGREES – FROM RUSSIAN TO ARCHITECTURE – SO WHY GO INTO MUSIC?
I think the general consensus in the band (despite the fact that a few of us had inklings to become architects) was that songs are better than buildings. I think violinist Neil still thinks that sums are better than songs but he’ll soon realise. But really, music has always been the passion for all of us. Luke and I have played in funk and rock bands since our early teens, and Neil and Grace have played in orchestras together since they were about eight as well as studying at the Royal Academy of Music throughout their teens.
YOU’VE BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE ‘THINKING MAN’S ELECTRO’ – AGREE?
I’ve often been described as the thinking woman’s crumpet but I’m not sure about our music.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU THIS YEAR?
Hopefully some music videos filmed in exotic sunny locations and a smashing album of great hits!