Clean Bandit's Grace Chatto reveals her most 'mind-blowing' on-tour experience

Grace Chatto is best known as the cellist and vocalist of chart-topping musical group Clean Bandit.

Alongside her bandmates, she’s had the opportunity to tour and perform around the world, meaning she’s picked up some pretty incredible travel stories along the way.

We chatted to the musician about gigantic steel trees in Singapore, sleeping in a husky yard, and stunning waterfalls in Icealnd.

What is your favourite on-the-road moment?

I like going to sleep on the tour bus in my bunk bed after cosy chats with the band before waking up in a different country. Our first big tour in Asia is my favourite.

We started in Singapore and found the Gardens By The Bay where we laid on the ground late at night looking up at the most incredible light show they make on huge trees, which are actually gigantic man-made steel trees with an ecological function. It was mind-blowing.

And your favourite city?

Tokyo. The culture of respect there is felt in everything from the architecture to the food, fashion and human interaction. The Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest in the world, is where we filmed one of our first music videos — it’s fascinating to walk around.

I love shopping on Takeshita Street, where I always find vintage gems and it’s in Harajuku so you can doa lot of great fashion-watching. Eating at Gonpachi — the restaurant featured in Tarantino’s Kill Bill — is amazing too.

It’s super-fun. I’ve had the best steaks ever in Japan there. There’s also a tiny sushi place called 468 that sits only five people and whose chef is a specialist in sea eel, which is wonderful.

When have you been most frightened while travelling?

In 2015 we once travelled around Europe in a splitter van driven by our tour manager. Going north-bound on the M1 near Birmingham, we were nearing the end of a ten-hour journey and the driver’s seat caught fire.

We were all asleep in the back but I woke up with flames at my feet and smoke everywhere. All was fine and we still have the transit van now.

What has been your most life-changing experience while travelling?

Spending a few days in Iceland at Summer Solstice Festival in 2018 with our whole band. There are so many incredible waterfalls surrounded by the lushest grass. We loved Seljalandsfoss especially.

We also went to the black-sand beach, Vik, which felt unreal, and got lost in fields full of a beautiful purple plant called nootka lupine. The Blue Lagoon was beautiful, too. The connection with nature there was transformative and special.

Where’s the oddest place you’ve spent the night?

In Svalbard, right at the top of Norway by the North Pole, in a hut in a yard of husky dogs.

Jack [Patterson, bandmate] and I were filming our video for Come Over. It was the perfect location during summer because it never gets dark. We filmed all through the night.

Where are you going next, rules permitting?

Italy, to my beloved Brindisi to practice yoga. I’m desperate to take the train to Irkutsk in Siberia to the ancient Lake Baikal — it’s the deepest lake in the world. In winter, you can walk, skate or sled across it and visit a local banya to warm up.

I love Russian trains. Time totally disappears when you’re trundling past endless snow and birch trees, playing cards and becoming best friends with cabin mates.

Rules for returning to the UK

If you are fully vaccinated, before you travel to England (from a non-red-list country) you must:

  • Take a Covid-19 test in the two days before you travel to England. This can be a lateral flow test but cannot be an NHS test as it has to receive certification of validity. This can be done either with a test that involves a video call with a professional supervising you (such as qured.com) or one where you upload a photo of the results (such as chronomics.com)
  • Book and pay for a Covid-19 PCR test – to be taken within two days after you arrive in England. New rules brought into effect from December 7 stipulate that you will have to quarantine/self-isolate in the place you are staying until you receive a negative result. You can take the test any time after you arrive and before the end of day two at the latest. The day you arrive is day zero. If the test is positive, or unclear, you must self-isolate for a full ten days.
  • Complete a passenger locator form – to be completed in the 48 hours before you arrive in England.
  • Different rules may apply if you are returning to Scotland and Wales; always check at gov.uk

For Clean Bandit at the Jingle Bell Ball, see CapitalFM and TikTok. Single Drive is out now, cleanbandit.co.uk

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