Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto sits down with us to talk about everything from her love of Coachella to how Vybz Kartel gets her out of bed in the mornings…
Grammy Award winning electronic music band Clean Bandit first formed back in 2009 when its original three members (Grace Chatto, Jack Patterson and Milan Neil Amin-Smith) met at Cambridge University. Since then, with the addition of drummer Luke Patterson, the electronic music quartet have gone on to achieve two UK number 1s and sold over 19 million records worldwide.
Marie Claire’s beauty team recently had the chance to chat with Clean Bandit’s only female member Grace Chatto, who revealed her obsession with Ottolenghi, a love of Glastonbury (as a vintage shopping destination) and how Vybz Kartel gets her out of bed in the mornings…
What has been your career highlight with Clean Bandit so far?
‘Wow that’s hard – there have been so many! The last couple of years have been a total whirlwind, it feels like everything’s been moving a million miles an hour. One of the moments that really sticks out in my memory would have to be winning a Grammy. The whole experience was so surreal. We were in a different country everyday and were so busy we never really stopped to think about where we were or what was happening for us as a band. Then at the awards ceremony I was sitting there with the other guys from Clean Bandit and it kind of gave us a moment to reflect on it all – it was pretty overwhelming.
The other thing I know will stay with me for a long time was when I had the chance to play the cello with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. There was about 70 of us playing on stage and we had about 10 guest singers performing with us too, it was amazing.’
What’s your favourite festival?
‘I loved Coachella. We played on the main stage there two years ago. It was the year Drake was there. It was amazing, so sunny and clean! There was no mud anywhere which made it such a different experience to festivals in the UK. Good weather definitely helps the whole festival experience I think. I’ve been to a few great festivals in Sweden and Norway too. Bergenfest had a great atmosphere.’
Where do you call home?
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‘I’m a London girl through and through. I was born in North London so Crouch End will always be a special place for me. It’s where I grew up and all my family still live there. I moved to Shoreditch a while ago with Jack (Clean Bandit’s Jack Patterson) so now that’s my home and I’ve got a lot of memories from there before we got signed when we were totally immersing ourselves in our music projects. Outside of London I love Glastonbury. I used to just think of it as the festival place but my boyfriend took me there recently for my birthday and the whole area is so cool, it’s a great place to go if you like vintage and independent stores.’
What’s your top tip for managing a busy schedule?
‘I’m not a morning person but I’ve figured out that the best way to get yourself going is to put some music on really loud and just try and get moving. I’ll do some jumping jacks and then I’ll have a big coffee. Vybz Kartel is what I’m listening to at the moment. Try it, trust me it really works.’
What’s your first beauty memory?
‘I used to pinch all of my mum’s make up and paint my friends’ faces. I loved those big colourful eye make up palettes that had loads of different shades. In my teens my style changed a lot, I listened to a lot of grunge music and used to dye my hair black! Actually this Halloween I had a little throwback to that time and wore a black wig, that was really fun.’
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done with your hair?
‘I’ve dyed my hair nearly every colour there is! Naturally I’m a dark blonde but I’ve been dying it for so long I don’t even know what colour it is anymore. I’ve been pink, purple, peach and bright red. I’ve done dark red too, that was pretty intense, I don’t think I’d try that again! I’ve never been blue or green though. One colour I’ve always wanted to try is a ginger tone. Maybe that’s what I’ll do next.’
How would you describe your beauty regime?
‘I’m not really a morning person so it’s not a very strict regime. I’m nearly always in a rush to get somewhere so I try and keep it pretty simple. I always cleanse my face with a cleanser from Kiehl’s. Then I’ll use the original moisturiser and eye cream from La Mer. It’s so rich it makes your skin feel really soft. Occasionally I’ll do a sheet mask, but it won’t be anything fancy, just one I’ve picked up from Boots. I’ve got quite sensitive skin as I’m fair and can break out quite easily so I have to be careful with what I use. I’m not very good about remembering to wear sun protection, especially when I’m in London – it just doesn’t feel sunny enough. The NARS tinted moisturiser is great though, it’s got SPF in it so that’s one less thing to remember.’
What three beauty products do you always bring with you on tour?
‘I bleach my hair so it can be pretty dry and when I’m travelling and flying a lot, the air-con on planes makes it feel more brittle so I’m pretty addicted to hair oil. Morrocan Oil is my favourite. I love Unite’s 7 seconds leave in-conditioner too, it smells amazing and all coconuty. I always take the Unite 7 seconds with me for festivals too. It’s such a good de-tangler – actually it’s great at everything really – it’s like an all-in-one mask, detangler, conditioner. It really does do everything in 7 seconds! The gel makeup remover from La Mer is amazing too, it’s one of the few things that actually makes taking mascara off easy. Oh, and I’d have to have to make up wipes too.’
What beauty advice would you give to your younger self?
‘Don’t smoke! When I was younger it was just something I did at school that I thought was a bit naughty but I didn’t realise how much it affects your skin and teeth. The other thing, which sounds obvious, would have to be to do more exercise. I never did any in my teens, I used to hate it so I’d bunk off PE. Now I love exercise, it’s just such a feel good thing. It’s good for you psychologically taking that time out to devote an hour to your body.’
How do you stay healthy when you’re on tour?
‘I find it much easier to eat healthily in America. Every hotel over there has super healthy room service options like kale salads and juices – so do all the restaurants, but in the UK it’s always a massive cheeseburger or a hot dog on the menu. I love going to Japan too, I’ll have so much sushi and miso soup – I never have to cook.’
Eat in or takeaway?
‘I don’t cook much because I’m away travelling so much for work. I do have the Ottolenghi cookbook though, I’m obsessed with all his food. I tried out some vegetarian dishes the other day from his Plenty cookbook, which were really easy to do – the only thing is there are always so many different ingredients for each of his recipes! I stopped eating meat a while ago, it was my New Year’s resolution to cut it out and I’m trying to have less dairy too. I’m not sure how long that will be possible for though – I love cheese.’
How do you keep fit?
‘I made a resolution to work out in whatever country I’m in, so now I’ll just go and try a class wherever I am in the world. I went to a yoga class in Japan recently, which was quite an experience. There were hundreds of people in this massive hall and it was all done over a loud speaker so that was quite strange. In London I go to this amazing Jamaican dance hall Class in Dance Works studio near Bond Street. It’s a really intense workout but because the music is amazing, you’re just having a great time. It makes it much easier so it doesn’t really feel like a workout.’