“Last year was mental, this becoming our job, its ridiculous.”An Interview with Bastille (28/01/2013)

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Three days into their tour supporting Two Door Cinema Club, Deputy Editor George Doel and Live Editor Megan Downing caught up with one of the most talked about bands of the year so far: Bastille. With single ‘Pompeii’ out next month and then eagerly awaited debut album Bad Blood out on 4th March there was a lot to discuss with the quartet, made up of: Dan Smith, Kyle Simmons, Chris (Woody) Wood and Will Farquarson. Enjoy!

So how’s the tour been so far?

Woody: Really fun. Getting slightly fatter from school dinners everyday, which is great, and all the crowds have been really really nice as well, I think we’re maybe not a million miles away from Two Door [Cinema Club] in vibe so I guess their fans might like our stuff.
Dan: Yeah, I think we’re a bit darker than their music but there seems to a bit of an overlap, which is wicked. We’ve just had some really fun shows, these last three shows have been some of the best shows we’ve done in terms of playing in ridiculously big venues.
Kyle: Especially because we were worried that the crowds are essentially there to see Two Door, cause we haven’t done a support tour before, so the people who have come to see us have been there to see US, and so we were really worried what sort of reaction we’d get, but like Woody said the crowds have been amazing.
Will: It turns out they’ll just mosh to anything!
Everyone: Yeah!

Yeah, I saw on your Facebook that the Manchester crowd moshed to ‘Overjoyed’. What’s up with that?!

Dan: It was mental! There was a massive circle of death. You know what though, I posted it up on facebook with the photo and said ‘Thanks for moshing, how weird’ and some girl replied and had a bit of a go implying that it was really irresponsible of me to mention moshing!
Woody: ‘I was very disappointed to hear you encouraging such behaviour’
Will: Encouraging people to enjoy themselves!
Woody: Two young girls got slightly hurt apparently.
Dan: And it’s my fault, apparently.
Will: Mosh pits are just people running around.

Usually mosh pit etiquette is quite good, you pick someone up after!

Dan: After you’ve stamped on their face! [laughs]

How did you feel when TDCC asked you to join them on tour? Was it an automatic yes?

Dan: Oh yeah, I mean, unquestionably. Their massive compared to us and you know, we all like their music as well and we’d heard they’re really nice guys.
Woody and Kyle: Which they turned out to be!
Dan: Would have been awkward if they weren’t. But I don’t think we would ever have turned it down. It was a question in our minds, I dunno, this sounds really ridiculous, but I’d always quite liked the fact we’d got to a certain stage, like where we at now in terms of venues we’re able to play, without ever having to rely on doing a support tour. We’d managed to just do our own headline tours. But then it’s like a lot of stuff when you’re like ‘we’re never gonna do it’ but the second it’s offered to you, you’re like ‘Yep okay, where do we sign?’. 

Since we last spoke you’ve been over to Hong Kong and Holland for festivals, how was that? 

Dan: The Hong Kong gig was amazing! It was at this festival called Clockenflap.

Yeah, I had it written down but didn’t want to attempt it!

Dan: Yeah, you’ve got to really articulate the word when you say it. We were completely blown away, obviously it was wicked to go together somewhere really far away that we’d never been before, but the gig was amazing, loads of people came to see us, we couldn’t believe it! It was a bit like, I think we told you about when we went to Norway as well and we walked out on stage and there were a few thousand people there, quite a few of whom knew the words and we were just looking at each other not knowing what to do. 

You always seemed to be shocked by it!

Dan: Some girls had our logo painted on their faces and stuff it was ridiculous.

New single ‘Pompeii’ is out 24th Feb, it’s always been a live favourite but was it an automatic decision to release it as a single?

Dan: I think it was actually. It’s been around for a while and it’s one that I recorded over the course of last year but it was one of the first songs on the album I’d really thought about and it’s really just been a question of waiting when to release it. We kinda feel like its one of out biggest songs, both in terms of being epic and also one that might also cross over, people who hadn’t heard us before might like it. I think it was really a lot of last year was thinking quite carefully about which songs to release and in what order and how to build and try to put a good impression and breadth of what we’re trying to do across, and now I guess leading into the album it just feels like the right time to do it.


Bastille - BAD BLOOD ALBUM SLEEVESpeaking about the album, fans have been waiting for it for ages, are you excited about it’s release? How’re you feeling about it?

Dan: I’m really excited about it being released, to go back to what we were saying about not doing support stuff we’ve also lunched of the fact that we haven’t had an album out for quite a while. We’ve sort of got to the point where we’re at right now without having an album out and just on the back of a couple EPs and singles and that’s always been quite satisfying. So I’m quite nervous about it, once we’ve got an album out we’ve got an album out, we can’t go back. It’s also really hard to condense what we’re trying to do into 12 songs. There’s a lot of tracks that didn’t make it onto the proper version of the album and it’s quite scary giving off one impression. One twelve track impression.

Of the back of that you’ve got a sold out tour, do you think that’s more exciting due to the album release being amongst the tour?

Dan: I think the music fan in me would have rather that the album was out a little bit before so people had a chance to listen to it. But, actually, people who are quite into our songs would have heard quite a few of the tracks in various forms already.
Woody: It’s like five days of the tour before album comes out so a fair few might have heard it anyway when we come to play to them.
Dan: We’re in Preston the day it comes out.

[pause]Awesome.

Dan: [laugh]Obviously, we’re really excited about it. 

What sort of things can we expect from tonight’s show? 

Dan: It’s brief. [all laugh]

George: Short but sweet.

Dan: Yeah, I dunno, we’ve sort of approached it thinking people would never have heard of us before and so tried to do an introductory set I guess, but it’s lots of us jumping around playing our songs.
Kyle: It sort of goes back to the thing, because we’ve not played to a room full of people who have come to see someone else, to try and put together seven songs essentially that are gonna make people take an interest.
Dan: I guess it’s important for us that’s it quite upbeat. Cause you don’t want to bore people.
Kyle: We’ve realised we’ve got quite a lot of down songs! 

Meg: No ‘Oblivion tonight then?

Dan: Nooo. We want them to like us! Not want to kill us. We’re playing ‘Overjoyed’. Its the songs that we think people might like and that people might know and that are up and have been singles or might be down the line and maybe a cover. Hopefully it’ll be quite fun. Like we said there was moshing to our slowest song in Manchester. It’s almost unfortunate that it happened at the beginning of the tour cause I don’t think anything will ever compare to that. We’ll get to Brixton Academy and it’ll be empty and people will be spitting at us.
[all laugh]

What was your best moment of 2012?

[all groan] Woody: Reading for me. 

Meg: Reading was sick!

Dan: Reading was amazing, last year was completely mental like I guess the main, is this becoming our job, its ridiculous. Us being able to travel to Norway, Hong Kong was wicked as well. The day we all spent at Abbey Road with the strings was good. It’s quite hard to pick, it was a busy year. We’re so lucky to be able to do this at the moment, its so varied all the time.

The live lounge was the other day!

Dan: Oh yeah. Of course. Feels like a year ago, it’s only a week today. That was terrifying. But I think it went alright so… Its so weird doing stuff like that, that we’ve all heard of and so have our friends, its quite weird.
Woody: A milestone I suppose.
Dan: Yeah, a bit like playing at Reading. I guess starting out in a band you always kind of think maybe one day it’ll be nice to do but it would never happen to someone like you, so it’s quite weird. 

What were your thoughts on the sound of 2013 poll? Is there anyone you’re excited about from that?

Dan: I really like Haim, I think it’s interesting that they’re a very different beast on record and live. I’ve seen them a couple of times and I took Kyle to see them and having played him a couple of their tracks and we both really like the production of their recorded stuff, it’s quite RnB with interesting beats, loops, samples, and stuff. And then seeing them live its much rockier, it’s live band, its old school. They are so engaging and charming as people on stage its hard to not get drawn in by that. It will be really interesting to see what happens this year and how they progress and what the album will sound like, if it will sound like a rock album or a sort of RnB album. Who else was in it? AlunaGeorge I think are amazing, I’m really excited to hear their album  and Kyle’s a massive fan as well. You were saying that the first time you heard, what’s the water song?

Meg: ‘Your Drums Your Love’

Dan: Yeah, ‘Your Drums Your Love’! I think the first time I heard it as well I thought ‘oh this is a cool remix of something’ but it’s the actual song, which is SO cool! It’s just wicked, it has sexy beats and they’re quite minimal as well, it’s good. What else is in the poll?

I can’t remember. You guys aren’t!

Dan: Yeah that’s true.
Woody: That’s okay though!
Dan: We weren’t really expecting to be in it at all.

I think a lot of people expected you to be in it.

Woody: We weren’t pinning our hopes on it though.
Dan: I dunno, we’ve never ever been that hyped by anyone.

George: I think Radio One, from what I’ve listened to, they give you a lot of time.

Dan: Yeah, Radio One have been amazing, they’ve been really supportive and you know a few other people have but we’ve never been overly hyped about. It feels quite fitting that we’re not part of that at all, cause the last two years we’ve got our heads down and worked really hard and toured as much as we can and released as much music as we can. You know, some people have got on board and really liked it. I think we’ve built a sort of word of mouth fanbase and that’s great cause they’re the best people to have to come to live music cause they’re not coming to your gigs because they’re being told that you’re good. We just feel really lucky to have that and kind of a lot of what’s got us to where we are right now hasn’t been any kind of hype or media. Hopefully, we’ll see what happens, but hopefully we’ll be able to do alright without it. 

You released ‘Other People’s Heartache Pt 2’ as a christmas present to your fans, so what was your thought process behind it?

Dan: Erm, I dunno, I think I guess I wanted to improve on the first one, wanted to push it a bit more sonically, wanted to bring in more film stuff and wanted to collaborate a lot more as well. Because the album has not been the most collaborative of processes. So it was nice to work with lots of friends and lots of different sounds.

Do you have a favourite track?

Dan: I dunno, it’s difficult!
Woody: I do!

Meg: I think ‘No Angels’ is mine

Dan: That’s the one that seems to have caught on.

Meg: Yeah it’s quite popular. I like ‘Killer’ as well.

Woody: Yeah, that’s mine.
Dan: I dunno, I really liked, they were all really fun to make to be honest.

Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood is out on 4th March 2013.

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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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