Clean Bandit: “Working with huge names isn’t half complicated”

The band tell why they're going to keep working with unknown names.

Ivor Novello nominees Clean Bandit
Clean fight Clean Bandit's Jack Patterson (second left) is up for his second Ivor Novello Award.

After the multi-platinum success of their debut album New Eyes, you’d think that Clean Bandit would have the pick of megastar singers to work with on their next record.

Having turned Jess Glynne into a superstar thanks to her vocals on Clean Bandit singles like Rather Be, the classical dance band are indeed working with a few huge singers like Alicia Keys.

But the four-piece admit that hitting the studio with superstars isn’t quite as guaranteed a route to mega hits as you might think.

After being nominated for an Ivor Novello for co-writing Jess Glynne’s solo No 1 Hold My Hand, Clean Bandit musician Jack Patterson told Loaded: “It’s really exciting working with high-profile artists at first. But it’s very complicated, having to fit everything around their schedules and their record label demands.”

Patterson is determined to find another unknown singer they can develop into a star like Jess Glynne on their next record. “It’s really nice to have the freedom to work with new singers who are free from those high-profile complications,” he explains. “Those vocalists are really hungry to work with us.”

The 28-year-old reveals he’s been in the studio with Alicia Keys recently, writing songs for her new album. “That was definitely nerve-wracking,” he smiles. “But you learn so much so quickly from seeing how these big megastars work.

Grammy winners Clean Bandit
Eight-armed bandit Clean Bandit aren't

“I’ve always been very meticulous in how I write songs. But Alicia and her team were very free. You could make sweeping changes to songs at the last minute and she’d be fine with that.”

The pressure to find another song to match Rather Be’s success is there, but Patterson insists he’s able to block it out, explaining: “I don’t worry about it when I’m writing. We never set out to be a massive pop band anyway. I don’t know why Rather Be was so massive.”

A former architect before Radio 1 picked up on early Clean Bandit track Mozart’s House, Patterson believes that the next Clean Bandit album will be “more refined”. Patterson said: “From playing live, we’ve learned to simplify our music. The stuff that’s too complicated just doesn’t work. We’re trying to play fiddly synth lines on stage, when the music needs to hit home straight away.”

Clean Bandit are unlikely to release a new album before 2017. The rest of Patterson’s year will be taken up with finishing off the productions he’s been working on away from the band. (“My manager has warned me not to say any other names,” he confesses.)

The thought of Patterson losing his laptop with all those future hits must be terrifying? “I do back everything up every few days,” he smiles. “But I’m not that security conscious.

“You’d think I’d have secret names for the people I’ve been working with in case my laptop gets nicked. But, no. It’s all really, really obvious. Maybe I should change that…”

Jess Glynne’s Hold My Hand is up against James Bay’s Hold Back The River and Years & Years’ King in the PRS Most Performed Work category at The Ivor Novello Awards on May 19 at London’s Grosvenor House. For a full list of categories, see here.


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