On October 22nd BurnFM’s Alfie Thompson headed to the backstage of the O2 Academy to talk to Clean Bandit’s Neil about, amongst other things, the success this year, their summer of festivals and their upcoming new single.
Hi Neil, this is the second time that Burn have managed to catch Clean Bandit in Birmingham within a year. Hope and Faye say hello!
It is isn’t it, I remember that interview – it was on our tour bus!
You will have to forgive me for not knowing the exact date that you started, but you are on something of a tour at the moment – in Birmingham today, Bristol tomorrow, slowly working your way down into mainland Europe. Do you have any methods of coping with what is a fairly demanding schedule that takes you all the way to Italy?
(Laughs) Sleeping Mostly! We are on tour around the UK at the moment and then will be moving into mainland Europe, so we’ll have to see, but we’ve just got back from doing a tour of America which was great fun, but sometimes the journeys could take hours!
So I have to ask you the same question I’m sure every journalist asks you, but what has life been like for you since ‘Rather Be’ catapulted itself into the charts in January?
Actually not that different, apart from the fact that we have just been incredibly busy all year, with the touring and spending the whole summer moving about between festivals, but no apart from that nothing has really changed for us.
How did you all initially feel about ‘Rather Be’ being used in the most recent Marks and Spencer advert?
(Laughs) Well they approached us, at least I’m fairly sure that’s right, but no, I’ve seen it and it’s a nice advert, it’s kind of like ‘food porn’ isn’t it so it’s nice to be involved with it.
You spent most of your summer, as you said, touring and gigging at festivals. Do you have favourite festival that you performed at this year?
Well I mean they were all great to do, obviously playing the John Peel stage at Glastonbury was a highlight of the summer for us because it was just such a big crowd and big achievement, but festival wise I would have to say that Bestival was my favourite to play, just because the crowd and the stage were so great.
And did you actually get any downtime at any of the festivals, or was it simply a case of ‘off the bus, on stage, off stage, back on the bus?’
Yeah, for most of the festivals it was literally an off the bus, on stage, off stage, back on the bus type of deal, but we did get a day to explore Glastonbury and that was really great to do because it’s so enormous!
On that note, just how incredible was it to play the John Peel stage at Glastonbury this year?
It was brilliant, it really was, just because previously we had been on significantly smaller stages so it was nice to play on such an impressive stage as the John Peel, plus backstage is really cool, and the John Peel tent is covered in John Peel quotes so it made it a really great place to perform.
Your newest single appeared on YouTube just two days ago and it will be available for sale from November 16th, and it really is a brilliant tune, and for the second time this year it sees you collaborating with Jess Glynne, is there a special working relationship between the two of you?
I think it’s a case of with ‘Rather Be’ Jess’ voice was just so suited to the song, and so yeah we do have a good working relationship with her, and have ended up working with her again, but we have worked well with all of our collaborators – we’ve had so many.
Finally, you have worked as you say with a wide range of artists, from Jess Glynne to Gorgon City, but do you have any artist who would be your dream collaborator?
Ooh, well I’d love to work with Drake, or maybe Bjork or Beyoncé, so I’m aiming low you see! But no, it would be great to work with one of those in a dream situation!