Interview with Dan and Will from Bastille (18/08/2012)

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After watching their phenomenal set at Strummer of Love Festival I got a chance to chill out with Dan and Will from Bastille outside their temporary, luxurious, dressing room area aka – a small caravan. It was such a poignant time to talk to Bastille, on the cusp of becoming very very popular, with lots of exciting things happening in the near future,. which meant we had lots to discuss! We settled down on the grass and talked about everything from touring to their debut album and even meatloaf in Norway!

How’re you enjoying this year’s festival season? 

Dan: Um, a lot! [laughs]

How is it compared to other years?

Dan: Well, we’re relatively new so we played a whole loads of festivals last year, we were lucky to play. We played at Glastonbury which was really strong on stage and off stage. Yeh, this summer has been about playing lots of small festivals for us which had been really nice, I guess, going to different parts of the country that we haven’t been to before, and playing in places we wouldn’t get to tour, so yeh, it’s been really really fun.

Bastille at Strummer of Love Festival

Do you have a favourite so far, a favourite UK festival? 

Will and Dan: Strummer of Love! Of course.

Good answer!

Dan: Outside of the UK we went to Norway and played at a festival there.

Was it good?

Dan: Incredible, it was our first proper festival outside of the country and it was ridiculous. We got picked up from the airport, taken backstage and they were like, ‘To the left is the massage parlour where you can get a massage at any point in the day, to the right is where you can get your hair cut’ they were like ‘here’s where we can fix your instruments for you.’
Will: And there was Meatloaf.

Awesome!

Dan: Yeh, loads of Meatloaf, best thing ever.
Will: But yeh, other than that one, in the UK definitely Strummer of Love.

You’re playing Reading and Leeds am I right?

Dan: We are, yes.

Looking forward to that?

Dan: Yeh, if we don’t get buckets of piss thrown at us.

It does have a reputation for that doesn’t it.

Dan: But yeh, we’re really looking forward to it, should be a lot of fun.

You recently announced your Triangle Tour, which was left to the public vote, are you happy with the places?

Dan: Well it’s quite South.

Yeh, I’m from Southampton and I know you have quite a strong fanbase there.

Dan: Oh really? Well it’s guess for the lazy person in me, it’s perfect! As we don’t have to go that far.

Apart from Norwich which you have to go over a bit.

Dan: Yeh, I guess so. Kyle who plays keyboard and myself went to Uni in Leeds so we were quite hoping for that, but Leeds came 4th, a vaguely respectable 4th, it was up there for a while.
Will: We could have massaged the results. (all laugh)
Dan: They were quite public though, but yeh, it should be fine, should be interesting. It’s one of those weird things that’s been organised online, we don’t have venues.

And you have no ticket sales.

Dan: Well no, they’re all outside, completely unplugged, it’s gonna be..
Will: Possibly illegal! I mean we might get removed by the council.

Well we hope not! We’ll keep it on the down-low. Are you looking forward to touring this autumn? Have you toured much this year, I know you played the Joiners in Southampton.

Dan: Yeh we did a tour earlier in the year.
Will: March I think.
Dan: Yeh about March time which was really fun, we did another tour last year as well. But yeh, our last one was really fun, I guess for us this next one *gets distracted by fellow band members sprinting across the field* I’d love to know what that’s about, wait, what were we talking about?

Tour!

Dan: Ah yes, tour, we’ve got this tour in October which for us is quite a big step up and the venues are quite a bit bigger, we’re terrified. But um, people are buying tickets which is mind-boggling, so yeh, hopefully there will be people there and we’re really looking forward to it, we’ve been rehearsing loads and hopefully we’ll have some sort of visual stuff, some projections and stuff. We’ll do our best to act and try and feel like a proper band.

Chilling outside the C-Van

*affectionately* You are a proper band. So far then, what’s your favourite place to play, venue-wise, whether it’s in the rest of Europe or here?

Dan: Like a specific venue? Ooh, that’s a tough one.

Yeh, like your best show so far?

Dan: In June we had a show at Skarla in London which for us was our biggest headline show and that was… mental!

Did you get a good turn out?

Dan: Well yeh it sold out about a month and a half up front which was completely insane and yeh, I guess that was totally surreal.
Will: We went to Paris, we went to a really nice old venue.
Dan: Yeh, that was amazing as well, we got to go on a little day trip to Paris and it was the most receptive, friendly, warm crowd, it was completely packed, everyone was there, everyone listened .
Will: Weirdly they all cheered when we came back on stage to pack our gear away.
Dan: [laughs]Yeh!

Well yeh, you sound-check your own stuff, usually when you get bigger and bigger you can’t even step onstage without getting a ‘wooo’ from the crowd.

Dan: We’re very far from that, again, the Norway one as well, not to bang on too much about it, we went out and played on the second to main stage and literally we walked out and we ended up playing to about 5000 people and we didn’t understand what was going on, they were singing along and stuff and then after we got offstage it turned out that one of our songs was A-listed on one of their main radio stations, which kind of explained a few things but we didn’t know that.
Will: it was nice though because we were literally terrified and thought we would be playing to 4 people.

So a lovely surprise! Bad Blood is released tomorrow, how’re you feeling about that? Excited?

Dan: Yeh! I guess it’s hard for us to get excited cause we’ve heard it for ages.

[all laugh]Well it’s not really new to you guys anymore!

Dan: Woo! Get to download it on my iPod! But yeh, it would be nice if a few people bought it but, I doubt they will.

Well, I was just going to mention that I’ve heard it on Radio1 more than a few times, I think Greg James has played it on his show a few times. So that must be really cool, hearing your song on the radio.

Dan: It’s completely mental. The thing is that, you know, the first couple of times we got played on the radio we kind of had an idea  it was coming so we were listening out for it and stuff but like we were really lucky enough to be added to the playlist, this song is on the playlist, which is very bizarre but cool obviously and it’s been really mad having friends and people calling me like ‘You’re on the radio!! Aaaaah!’ Um but obviously really nice as well. Radio1 is quite a tough nut to crack, if that makes any sense, but yeh hopefully, we’ll see.

Going back to Bad Blood, for the music video, where did you get your inspiration from? Because it’s very cinematic and very concept based?

Dan: I wanted to make a video that felt quite cinematic that felt quite narrative and hopefully quite visually strong and a bit dark and surreal and that kinda reflected the song without in any way trying to give it a meaning. And I got thrown in the sea! Which was very cold. But yeh it was good.

Who are you listening to at the moment? Are there any new bands you can give us a tip about?

Dan: I know that some of us are listening to, I mean everyone knows about them, but the TNGHT EP by Hudson Mohawke and Lunice which is amazing and there’s a band who are friends of ours called To Kill a King, who I kind of live with but they just got a new EP out called Word Of Mouth which is brilliant and was all recorded live, in one take, and it’s free! And I think they’re incredible and that’s without any bias and they’re amazing live as well, I couldn’t urge people more to check them out and get their EP as well.

You don’t have an exact date for the album yet, are you just playing it by ear? 

Dan: Early next year, there is a date penciled in but obviously we’ll see how it goes.

Well, just release it when it’s ready.

Dan: Well yeh, it will be done in a couple of weeks. There’s one more little thing to do on Monday and then it’s finished. Aaaah, which is terrifying! It’s going off to get mastered at the end of the month and then it’ll be done and we’ve got to think what the hell to call it,
Will: It’ll be really weird when it’s finished and we’ll have a copy of it.

Yeh, the physical copy is gonna be the realisation.

Dan: We’re in this really weird stage now where we’re having to decide the track listing and order, what it’s gonna be called, I’ve got to come up with some artwork and the cover, in my mind it’s just a collection of songs we’ve been working on for a couple of years and that are slowly coming together, it’s going to be weird.

Well, yeh they must not be new to you anymore?

Dan: No, not at all, but it’s going to be bizarre it’s suddenly be a thing and once you’ve done it and put it out you can’t change anything anymore and that’s how it is in people’s eyes, so that terrifies me.
Will: I imagine you find it quite hard to let go
Dan: Yeh!

It’s like a baby!

Dan: I’m not very good at making decisions at the best of times, I can’t even choose what food to eat so think, deciding on things like the track listing, the name of the album and things.
Will: It’s like naming a child
Dan: My first child could potentially be called Bad Blood [all laugh]It’s not a very pretty name.

Obviously you started off on your own, are the rest of the band involved on the making of the album? 

Dan: The way it works with a lot of the tracks is I kinda start in my bedroom and take them to  my friend who’s a produced and we work on producing together and Will’s played bass on a lot of the album and it’s been a combination of programmed stuff and live stuff.
Will: What’s nice about working with Dan is that he’s got such a clear vision on how it’s going to be, he kinda guides what we do anyway.
Dan: Everyone’s come in and done bits and bobs, but I’m a bit of a control freak and yeh that’s that.

Cool, so if you guys weren’t in Bastille what would you be doing?

Dan: If I wasn’t in Bastille I would, maybe, I wanted to be a journalist.

Did you go to Uni? 

Dan: I did English at Uni and it was between doing a masters in journalism and the band, and then I did the band, I got into the course and I kept deferring it, as in by deferring I kept ignoring it and then a year later they were like ‘We deferred you, do you still want to come on our course?’ But yeh [to Will]what would you be doing?
Will: I think I would be some kind of writer stroke author.

I study English at the moment

Dan: Where you at?

University of Southampton

Dan: Oh, of course, is it fun?

Yeh I love it, it’s awesome, I do more of this than my actual degree at the moment though. So yeh, when the album is out what will you do then? And what does the future hold? Are you just playing it by ear? 

Will: Probably be starting a job by next year.
Dan: This time next year we’ll probably be dropped and working in a shop, in McDonalds.

I’m sure that won’t happen! 

Dan: Really?

Defintiely not. And that’s it, thanks for talking to me guys.

Dan: No worries, thanks for having us!

 

Catch Bastille on their Triangle Tour or be sure to catch them at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival. You can download their new single ‘Bad Blood’ now.

 

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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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