New Music Video – “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit

New Music Video – “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit

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After recording our Firework Cover last year, I have been looking for an excuse to try to record a pop song again.  We learned a lot from our first attempt and I wanted to put that knowledge toward another video.  Thanks to my nerdy friends Brian Seemann and Greg Urban, the opportunity presented itself, and in less than two weeks we arranged, recorded, and edited this cover of the amazing Clean Bandit’s song “Rather Be”.  We hope you enjoy:

How We Did It

Over the past couple years I have been making an effort to meet as many bells ringers online as I can who are 1) completely obsessed with the instrument, 2) insanely talented, and 3) around my age.  It’s how I met my current housemate Brian Seemann, and it’s how I stumbled across Greg Urban.  The unfortunate thing about finding other bell ringers online is that usually they are located in corners of the world not anywhere close to where you live.  So I started a discussion group online with some of these ringers, and a couple weeks ago the idea of doing a cover of “Rather Be” came up.  Not even 48 hours after the idea came up I got a message from Greg asking if I wanted to see his rough sketch of a cover for the song.  What he sent me was the masterpiece we recorded.

Neither Brian or I had met Greg in real life, but that night Greg bought a bus ticket to come visit us in Philadelphia that weekend.

All the recording we did in one very long Sunday.  We recorded 296 sound clips over 12 hours.  Between the bells Brian owns and bells we borrowed, we ended up with 3.5 octaves of handbells, 2 octaves of Silver Melody Bells, 3 octaves of handchimes, 2 octaves of Petit and Fritsen bells, and a bag full of Boomwackers.  Besides the thumb damped chimes at the beginning, which if you listen to the original below you’ll know why, most of the interesting combinations of instruments we created on the fly.  All of the video was taken by my camera we left running the whole time, so the video you see is actually us playing what you hear (with the exception of one clip I misplaced.  I’ll let you figure out which one).

One week of editing later, and here we are. A new music video from start to finish in under 2 weeks.

If you haven’t heard the original song, you should definately check it out.  After this project Clean Bandit is now one of my favorite bands.

What song should we do a cover of next?


  1. Fun, guys! Pop music on handbells can be so repetitive, but you found lots of ways to keep it interesting. And… heh… is that a little jab at the Board at the beginning?

  2. Nice! Next venture? . . .

  3. Derek — this is awesome! I especially like the music video style of putting in some film of you guys walking down the street . . . did you layer some of the takes — it looks like sometimes the melody is being played, but the players are playing bass parts. Is the drum a backing track?

    Really great and I think Bell Appeal might want to commission (we use that word lightly, not necessarily meaning a whole lot in payment!) you guys. We’ve got more arranging to do than even five of us in the group can do!

    • Haha, thanks! There are many layers of bells happening at once (if I remember right I may have had 20 tracks in the software). I just picked clips that were interesting at random to make most of the video. The last part is much more true to what you are hearing.

      We used a drum software and a keyboard to create the drum and bass line. Eventually I’d like to get better at creating electronic music to give our music more of a techno feel.

      Greg is the brains behind the arrangement. You can get a hold of him at

  4. A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
    It’s got some great moments for deep chording with some opportunity for different muffling and playing with sound, but as with all modern music, it’s very block repetitive 8’s.

What are your thoughts?

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