If you haven’t heard ‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit, then you probably live under a rock. That’s okay: now, you’ve got the chance to be sucked in by their newest track ‘Symphony’ instead. Listen to it here, and read our exclusive interview with Grace Chatto.
This interview with Grace Chatto of Clean Bandit has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Tour starts April 1! What’s in store?
We’re performing all of our hits, and a few songs from the new album. We have live violins, cello, saxophone, and two vocalists.
Which city are you most looking forward to playing in and why?
Last time we toured, Chicago and D.C. stood out as the most wild. It was unexpected, because you never really know what it’s going to be like at all. New York is amazing every time.
And you’re touring with Zara Larsson, who is also the featured vocalist on “Symphony”. How did that come about?
We’re really excited about it, because she’s so amazing live. On the record she sounds amazing as well. Hopefully she’ll perform the song with us as well as opening for us. She’s so young, but such a mature musician. It’s quite an emotional, powerful song, and she sounds much older than she is. It has that depth. As soon as she recorded it, we knew it was going to work.
What is “Symphony” about?
It’s a love ballad. It’s about wanting to be an important part of someone’s life, and how much one person can change your life and how you look at things.
Who do you want to work with as a featured vocalist next?
My dream would be Rihanna.
This is a self-indulgent question, but when do we get a studio version of “Disconnect” with Marina and the Diamonds?
Oh, gosh! The eternal question. [Laughs] I don’t know. It’s nearly finished, but because we’ve been focused on these singles, our energy goes into that and making the videos. We’ve been trying lots of different versions of “Disconnect” with Marina. She is amazing. We will definitely finish it.
Is the Elton John collaboration still happening?
Yeah. We made a few songs and they’re unfinished — now that we’ve finished “Symphony”, we’ll have some time to work on everything else. It was surreal working with Elton John. He writes in such a different way to any other writer we’ve made songs with. He just sat down at the piano and didn’t stop playing for like five hours. Even while he was talking to us, he’d be making stuff up all the time.
What’s the ride been like with “Rockabye”?
It’s an amazing feeling. We never thought that any song would be bigger than “Rather Be”. It’s really great, and it’s probably one of my favorite songs that we’ve made. So I’m glad that other people like it!
Is it true that Sean Paul came up with his verse on the spot when you played it for him?
Basically. He’s so quick! We approached him about five years ago and gave him a demo CD, even before we made “Rather Be,” and we’d kind of been waiting ever since! Then when he heard “Rather Be,” he got in touch and wanted us to work on some production for his new album. So while we were in the studio we played him “Rockabye,” he was like, “Oh, cool,” and made up this amazing rap about single moms.
Do you have a “daily struggle”?
Oh, don’t we all have a daily struggle? I feel quite lucky at the moment; it’s not that much of a struggle.
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
Probably the back of a van, in a garden in the back of a friend’s van — we just took the back off.
Wait, how did you fit all the instruments?
We just did! We didn’t have so many instruments then, but we had a full string quartet and a drum kit and a piano in there.
Okay, that’s like a lot of instruments.
When can we expect the new album?
Hopefully it’ll be later this year. It’s kind of finished. We have to choose the right time, but it’s frustrating because we want everyone to hear it now! All of the songs are written and basically recorded, but we need to finish mixing.
3/31 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox @ The Market http://bit.ly/clnbdtse2017
4/01 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater http://bit.ly/Clnbdtpor2017
4/03 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore http://bit.ly/2jyv2yw
4/05 – Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre http://bit.ly/2iRQijM
4/07 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park http://bit.ly/2iCbyeV
4/08 – Phoenix, AZ – The Marquee Theatre http://bit.ly/2ikaHLR
4/10 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre http://bit.ly/2iGDiPL
4/12 – Dallas, TX – Trees http://bit.ly/2jKSiJ6
4/13 – Austin, TX – Emo’s http://fgtix.to/2gJElgP
4/14 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall http://bit.ly/2hlWPmB
4/15 – New Orleans, LA – Republic New Orleans http://bit.ly/CleanBanditTixNOLA
4/17 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West http://ticketf.ly/2hwQtic
4/19 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club http://ticketf.ly/2hOmTUD
4/21 – New York, NY – Webster Hall http://bit.ly/CleanBanditNYC2017
4/22 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer http://ticketf.ly/2k9UaL1
4/24 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre http://bit.ly/2jvs4g8
4/25 – Montreal, QB – Le National http://bit.ly/2jsWdup
4/26 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club http://bit.ly/2iJ12xI
5/01 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall http://bit.ly/2jx3DNc
5/02 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues Chicago http://bit.ly/2iJ1L1Q