When we last caught up with British electronic group Clean Bandit they were about to play only their second show on U.S. soil and their first NYC show almost a year ago to the day. Their first debut single “Rather Be” was already a big hit in the U.K., but hadn’t made a huge dent in the United States yet. The band was still, for the most part, unknown to most avid electronic/pop music listeners here in the States.
Turn the clocks forward a year, the band had one of the biggest hits in the U.S. in 2014 going into 2015, with “Rather Be” selling 2-Million copies alone, earning the band a Grammy for Best Dance recording. With their almost Beatle-esque takeover from the U.K. to the U.S. is such little time, it’s amazing to think the band is just getting started. It was great spending time with memebers Luke Patterson and Grace Chatto again almost a year to the day since our first interview to talk about playing the main stage at Firefly early on the second day, a recap of their first year domination, and what’s next after such a big debut.
P&W: Fantastic set earlier this afternoon! What was your experience like on stage?
Luke: We had a great response actually, we thought since it was early afternoon on a Friday that there’d hardly be anyone there, but actually started to pack out right away. Just seeing people flocking in made for a great show.
Grace: It was extremely hot
P&W: Ugh you should’ve felt how hot it was last week at Bonnaroo
Grace: Coachella was probably the worst weather, it was unbearable. I felt sorry for the audience for having to stand in the beating hot sun all day. It was similar to today but around ten degrees hotter.
P&W: What’s the mentality you have going into a festival knowing that you’re playing pretty early on and one of the first bands people could see during their experience here? To make that first impression.
Luke: I think that’s cool. It’s something we take in stride and get people moving immediately. We opened up with “Real Love” today and that just got people instantly moving.
Grace: It’s our more recent single here. Although it’s weird, it’s old to us since it came out in the U.K. a while ago but it’s a relatively new single here.
P&W: Well that’s the way it was with “Rather Be” correct?
Grace: Yeah, that’s right.
P&W: Speaking of “Rather Be”, last time we spoke it was only your second show in the States and you were still relatively unknown over here. Now here we are a year later and you’ve made a big dent in the music scene here. How have things changed for you, since then?
Grace: We’ve played everywhere. We’ve gone to so many places here now.
Luke: Now this is our third time back touring and playing the U.S. and it’s just getting started. Things just keep growing and growing.
Grace: We’ve gone down south, central, east, west, and everywhere.
P&W: What’s it feel like to see the audience and fan base grow so fast, in so little time?
Grace: It’s amazing. It’s so crazy since it’s so far from home and we never even expected to come out here, and on top of that winning a Grammy was so surreal. It’s still really my favorite place to play because back home it’s larger audiences and venues, but here it’s still pretty intimate so you can see everyone’s faces and how they’re reacting to the performance which for me is much more enjoyable than a huge crowd.
P&W: What’s it like being a part of the major festival circuits?
Luke: It’s something we never really expected, so to see it all and to experience all these other amazing artists and be a part of such an amazing event is really cool. We’ve done some of the bigger stages at the U.K. festivals but here it’s still quite fresh. Still having that exciting to trying to bring in a crowd is still fun.
P&W: Can you tell a difference between the European and U.K. festivals and the music festivals here?
Grace: I think Glastonbury is so unique in the world in terms of the lineups and older acts and they always have such a wide variety of artists. It’s funny because it’s similar size in terms of attendees with Firefly, but the lineup seems to be, I don’t know, a little more diverse.
Luke: There are so many more acts playing in Glastonbury. People were recently kicking off about Kanye headlining there, because people hold those headlining spots in such high regard, maybe because those festivals have been around for so long. They just have this reputation for being sacred music events and that’s why there’s such massive hype over who headlines.
P&W: You’re working on a new single with Marina from Marina and the Diamonds. How did that come about?
Grace: I’ve always been a fan of her music and she’s actually on the same label as we are which works out. I took Jack to see her a few years ago and they wrote a song together a short while ago too. We haven’t recorded it properly yet, and I’m not sure when we’ll release it, but we played it for the first time at Coachella and then at Governor’s Ball, then here, and of course during our own headlining shows and it’s just really fun to place since it’s a bit different from all the stuff on the first album.
P&W: Is there a lot of pressure having to follow up and move forward with new material after your debut was so successful?
Grace: We’re trying to just go with the flow really, but there was quite a lot of pressure surrounding “Real Love,” which was the second song we did with Jess Glynn. I’m happy with how that one ended up and now we have a new song in the U.K. called “Stronger” which will probably be our next single here, which features Alex Newell from Glee. He’s one of the best and versatile singers I’ve ever heard, so it’ll be exciting.
Article: Tom Shackleford