Clean Bandit’s live performance of Rather Be

Emma Gritt

clean bandit Clean Bandits live performance of Rather Be Clean Bandit are celebrating their second week at the top of the UK charts with their single Rather Be. When the band performed for Fred Perry’s Sub-Sonic Live at the end of last year, their performance of the song was one of the highlights of the evening. The string quartet are trailblazing a new organic sound within electronic music, and you can see how in the video clip below.

The band formed at Cambridge University – and for anyone wondering what ‘Clean Bandit’ is about, it’s a translation of a Russian phrase meaning ‘complete bastard’.

I spoke to the band’s cellist Grace Chatto about the band’s great start to 2014.

Congratulations on the number one – please excuse the tenuous link, but is there anywhere you’d rather quite like to be this time next year?

Well, I would love to be in a hot place right now.. But in terms of the charts, it could not be better! Perhaps next year people will be listening to our music outside of the UK too, that would be great!

Rather Be sounds just as good live as it does on radio, is finding that sort of balance important for you when songwriting?

Well we started as a live band, and played together in clubs and festivals for quite a while before we began recording. The writing has always been about live as well as video production.

What would you say to those who believe that dance music can’t include ‘real instruments’?

I don’t know any people who say that, but I would say they are wrong. Totally wrong.

Who do you regard as your peers at the moment?

Disclosure, Gorgon City, Rudimental, Kidnap Kid.

How did you guys meet and form the band?

I had known Neil for a long time when I asked him to play string quartets with me – (the first time we remember sighting each other was in our local youth orchestra when he was about 7!).

Jack and Luke are brothers and played in various rock and funk bands before we started Clean Bandit. Jack became very involved in the classical string quartet, doing live recordings and posters for the concerts.

One day we decided we wanted to come together musically and he wrote a beat and bass line around a snippet of classical music that he’d recorded. We loved the idea and organised a club night in order to play together live at it. Jack told us his little brother Luke was a really good drummer, which turned out to be very true! But he was only 17 at the time and still at school up in Liverpool so he had to sneak down!

If you could do three collaborations with any artist/band live or dead, who would they be and why?

Beethoven. What a genius.
Drake. Voice of our generation.
Shakira. Love her voice and attitude so much. But actually, I met the singer of Black Forest Ghetto recently who has quite a similar sound, so maybe her!

What’s your favourite live version of any song?

Do you mean one of ours? If so, it is probably our song called A&E because it’s fun to play steel drums. Of other live performances, I remember being very moved by No Doubt playing Don’t Speak at Glastonbury roughly 10 years ago. Gwen Stefani was crying!

Sub-Sonic Live brings together the most influential heritage artists and tomorrow’s trailblazers. For more tracks and interviews go to

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