How to turn your string quartet into the #1 hit group

How to turn your string quartet into the #1 hit group


norman lebrecht

February 18, 2014

That’s what Clean Bandit, the current UK #1 group, did. They tell the Guardian how:

Jack Patterson: The band actually began as Grace’s string quartet, and I started adding sampling and beats.

Grace Chatto: He mixed some Shostakovich with a beat he’d written, and then he did some Dvorák but in a reggae style.

I can’t lie, that sounds terrible.

Grace: It was really cool, actually! But whenever we try and describe our music to people we always get that reaction you just made, but for some reason the way Jack mixes stuff seems to come off.

How has the classical world reacted to your music?

Grace: In general, they’ve been positive. We were invited to collaborate with the OAE (1) who are topnotch string players. We’ve also been asked to perform at the Lewes Chamber Music festival – they want us to form a quartet and gradually bring drums in to make it a dance thing.

Jack: I did meet a guy at a party who was really angry with us for usingShostakovich’s String Quartet No 8. He said: “What you’re doing is wrong!” I think he thought it was demeaning the artistic message. But he had no idea what he was talking about. He couldn’t even hum the tune!


clean bandit


  • Innovation and experimentation is the lifeblood of music.

    Remember JerryC’s Canon Rock? (Based on Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D).

    That went viral, and is still in my ‘Favourites’ list.

    Go for it!

    There will always be atrophied ‘experts’. Ignore them, for musics sake.

  • Henry says:

    I really love Clean Bandit – their work is inventive, original, non-genre-d and intelligent. From Mozart’s House – in which they challenge criticism of electronic music – on.