Interview with Bastille at Reading Festival 2012, Part 2


Here is part two of my interview with Bastille at Reading Festival earlier this year. Check out part one here.

If you were to have any special guest vocalists or do any collaborations, who would be the dream?

Will: Rihanna!
Everyone: Yep!
Will: For obvious reasons.

For that bodaaaaay

Dan: You said it!

Saw it on all of your faces! And musically?

Kyle: I love Hudson Mohawk, personally, I’m not sure if t would work with our stuff or even if anyone would want that to happen but I’m putting that out there. I want that to be out there.

How about alive or dead if that was an option? Bring back MJ?

Dan: Mozart!
Woody: Jesus Christ.
Dan: Do a little classical piano jam all over the track.

Who are your main influences? Do you have them collectively or individually?

Woody: It’d be a bit varied.
Dan: I guess a massive mix of everything. [all laugh]Which is so rubbish! I like really interesting singer/songwriters, people like Antony and the Johnsons, people that have weird voices and try and do interesting stuff, Sufjan Stevens, Kate Bush and then indie bands that I really like. Electronic producers. A lot of hip-hop. I dunno, a big mix. What about you woody?
Woody: Anything with puke and juicing bass in it pretty much, so Queens of the Stone Age.
Dan: Did that really influence the beat you did in The Way Of Living Pt 2?
Woody: Yes. Completely.
Dan: Cool, yeh, just checking.
Woody: Anything with nasty horrible puke and juicing sounds, so yeh, Queens of the Stone Age.
Dan: Which obviously really comes across in Bastille music. [all laugh]

You must have drummer icons that you look up to?

Woody: Yeh, I love Dave Grohl. Actually love him, I’d hug him if I could! I like everyone to be honest, anything from James Brown stuff to Led Zepplin, and anything else in between.
Kyle: I grew up listening to garage and grime, hip hop really. That was my childhood. When I started going to uni I started getting into other things and then I started getting into Nothern Soul and stuff like that and branching out in that direction and that’s about it really! That’s me!
Will: I used to be really into jazz and then I realised it didn’t sound that good [all laugh]and this is why I started liking singer/songwriter stuff, like Bon Iver and stuff like that. I listen to quite a lot of classical music nowadays. I just started learning to play cello and then found myself spending a lot more time listening to that than anything else at the minute. Yeh I’m not that up to date with trendy bands anymore, I sound like a grandad!

Will is the grandad of the group!

Dan: *in a grandad voice* drinking a brandy in me rocking chair listening to classical music.

How do you choose which songs to play? I don’t you don’t have as many songs as say, The Foo Fighters.

Dan: I guess it’s a mixture of what we’re good at, what goes down well with people generally, and our favourites.
Kyle: and the sort of audience we’re playing to.
Dan: yeh, we’re hardly going to play a nice slow stripped back one at Reading festival.

Are you not?

Dan: Noo! 

Might get some ironic mosh pits to it?

Dan: that would require people coming to see us. [all laugh]

They will! Just pray for rain.

Dan: yeh!

Or they’ll be waiting for whoever is on after you!

Will: I love that at no point have you suggested they might be people actually coming to see us. [all laugh]‘it might rain!’

Well, I don’t want to inflate your egos too much!

Dan: Yeh, you can see they’re monstrously big!
Will: Dan is far too full of himself!
Kyle: *bringing it back to topic* it’s more kind of people who havent seen it before, we’re gonna go for the slightly cheaper shots, the more memorable songs I suppose. You’ve just gotta judge it by the crowd you’re playing to really.

So do you not write a set list? Well actually you know what the Reading crowd is gonna be like.

Kyle: that’s it.
Dan: No we do, we very much write a set list, I’d like to say we didn’t and we all just feel out what’s coming next.
Kyle: We have a set list but it’s got like brackets, question marks and stars next to it all. And we pick and choose as we go down.

Well saying that I saw Wheatus and they got the crowd to shout out song names!

Dan: See we tried that on the triangle tour and it didnt work.
Woody: It starts arguments, that’s all it does.
Will: Yesterday there were two people shouting ‘Yeh yeh that one!’ and then we’d say the next one and they’d shout ‘Yeh that one!’ it’s like you can’t sit on the fence the whole time.

I saw some crazy fans at the Southampton one.

Woody: We gathered a few nutters. It was good!

Me and woody continued off on an anecdote that’s not appropriate for the interviewMoving on! Do you notice any crowd favourites?

Will: People seem to like ‘Pompeii’ recently.
Dan: People like ‘Flaws’, people like our cover of ‘What Would You Do’ as well.
Will: And ‘Of The Night’, they love that cause they know it!
Dan: And they really like ‘Overjoyed’ as well.
Will: In fact they like our whole set .
Dan: And they like ‘Bad Blood!’
Woody: We haven’t got a single bad song really come to think of it!
Dan: That’s a joke, [all laugh]sometime’s humour doesn’t come across when it’s written down.
Woody: I guess they seem to react well to the single as they know them.

Mainly aimed at Dan, how would you describe the writing process?

Dan: I guess I get a whole load of ideas over a period of time and then sit down and with either a piano or my laptop. I dunno.

They just come to you?

Dan: Well yeh but that sounds ethereal and like I’m an idiot.

But without sounding like that, thats how it is.

Dan: Yeh.
Kyle: The idea goes through my hands I push some keys and the idea is spat out into the world.
Dan: I don’t put that much pressure on myself when it comes to songwriting and I kinda give myself time, so I’ll have a bunch of ideas and sometimes I have most of a song and I’m quite bad at finishing stuff so often it’s good to have a deadline f recording it to force me to get on with it. Yeh I guess I’ll have an idea of what I want a a song to be about or often I just get a hook with lyrics and melody in my head and the song kind of forms itself around that.

I wanted to talk about Other People’s Heartache as I didn’t last time.

Dan: I thought you were going to say ‘because I didn’t like it!’ [all laugh] Woody: We’re getting critiqued here!

No! I love it! 

Dan: Thank you.

Where did the idea come from? 

Dan: Well we’d been playing a cover of ‘What Would You Do’ as a bit of a joke as an encore . When we first started playing last year we only played sort of six song sets so whenever we had to do an encore we’d always end up playing this What Would You Do thing and eventually I came to recording it and trying to do it as if it would be one of our songs and make it really atmospheric and people seemed to really like it and then when we were making our album this year I got sick and had to take a bit of time off and after I got back I just thought it would be good to release something, I felt bad that we hadn’t put anything out in a while so we made this mixtape of covers and we asked people what covers they thought we should do and we all put our heads together and it’s a mix of songs that are old and iconic but for all the wrong reasons and new songs and film soundtracks and I dunno, I guess it’s just a big kind of mash of ideas. But we treated it like it was making an album from scratch and put a lot of effort into it.

Yeh, they’re not just normal covers, you adapt the songs. 

Dan: We didnt really listen to the songs that much when we did it we just kind of aproached them like we were producing one of our songs.

So you had the lyrics and not much else?

Dan: Yeh pretty much. A lot of them we did it from memory so the structures are a bit different from the real songs as well. Yeh, it was kind of like a bit of a extended monatagey film trailer brain fart.

On that note I think we’ll finish! On the brain fart. 

All: Wheeeey! [laughs]


You can check out Part 1 of the interview here and you can also catch their acoustic performance of Bad Blood at Reading on BBC Three here.
If you would like to listen to the highlights from the interview check out the Surge Radio website here.


About Author


I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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