It’s rare that you can say that any act is truly original. With their precision blend of hip hop, electronica and classical music Clean Bandit certainly can make that claim. With a string quartet at their core and an unquestionably unique live experience, Clean Bandit bring a little of the highbrow to this issue of Digitalgig. With songs such as their truly superb ‘Don’t get pimped’ it can’t be long before they captivate a much wider audience.
You clearly come from different musical directions. How did you all meet and form Clean Bandit?
Ssegamic: Mainly all Grace's fault really – she wanted someone hench to control Wandeck if he stepped out of line.
Grace: Ssegawa is the only person who can control him. We formed as a quartet (we are The Chatto Quartet) a couple of years ago, having all met at various musical joints in our youth (I first met Milan in our local youth orchestra aged 10 and loaned Lydia a music stand unawares aged 13!). We met Wandeck and Ssegamic at university and realised that our musical interests could work together very nicely...
Shiry: I was doing my thing, you know, alone, in my practice room, practising, when I heard a knock on the door (a rare occurrence). Grace let some light into the room, showed me the way out, and the rest is history.
Your music is incredibly original. Where did the idea come from to create your sound?
Ssegamic: Wandek is a musical genius (and a gimp) & produces all our sounds. Everyone pipes up with ideas, though sometimes some of my lyrics get vetoed (like when the girls aren't too keen on my raunchy backup vocals for them)
Grace: Yes, the crazy, uncontrollable Jon Wandeck has been my lover Cindy for some time now and so before Clean Bandit came together, he had been roped in to close relations with our quartet since we formed. His musical background is actually (and I wish I didn't have to say this word - what does it mean?) Jazz - he's a saxophonist, and as classical musicians, we are pitifully afraid of all things improvised, so we didn't begin working together musically for some time. He did, however, work with us as a master of photography and advertising and so got to know all of the quartet well. As time went on, and Ssegamic's incredibly unusual and
beautiful voice became known to us all (Wandeck and Ssegamic played together now and then in the brilliant funk cover band Crude Oil (big up!), and Wandeck began experimenting more and more with his one deck, we just kind of came together...
Wandeck: Yeah first I started experimenting with women, ie Grace and then their music, ie the Chatto Quartet.
Lydia: Well, it's quite standard to have string parts in electronica and disco, but I think Wandeck's muck-ups of classical string quartets is a new hit for our audiences and for us too. People seem to love seeing us playing in this different zone.Shiry: All musical inspiration derives from Bach.
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