Bastille Interview Issue 15

BASTILLE have been everywhere. Whether you’ve been lapping up a spot of trash TV or indulging in some late night Playstation action, it’s difficult to escape the seemingly omnipresent Londoners.

But despite their tunes featuring on a series of popular TV dramas – think Made in Chelsea, The Vampire Diaries and Hollyoaks – as well as FIFA 13, there’s one primetime slot singer and founder Dan Smith is desperate to nail down. Match of the Day, are you listening?

Having slowly seeped into the nation’s consciousness over a three-year period, Bastille became ‘proper’ pop stars when debut album Bad Blood went straight to Number One.

Maybe that will convince BBC producers to release one of Dan’s musical marvels into the corporation’s Saturday night footie show!

Dan explains: “It was never an aim or calculation to slowly seep into people’s minds on TV dramas. A lot of these things just happened.

“It’s a nice compliment to have our songs played on these programmes as soundtrack. All of these shows I don’t necessarily watch or want to be associated with but you can’t turn up your nose at these things.

“Made in Chelsea came really early on. The soundtrack is way cool in Made in Chelsea and overnight after it played we got 15,000 hits.

“The kind of programmes I’d like our songs to be on that I watch is Breaking Bad, a dark American show.

“Pompeii has been used in quite a few sport montages, but at the end of Match of the Day would be really cool.

“Our songs have been used in athletics on the BBC with (Olympic champion) Mo Farah on the screen. When my friends heard our song on the montage they called us and said, ‘Oh my God your song was used in that!’

“I just want to make songs and try and write some good ones. It’s the oddest thing strangers who know our songs. The first night of our tour 1500 people were singing along to every song.

“I get fans sending me everything like paintings. Someone did A1 portraits of us which was really nice but very bizarre. I don’t think any of us had any expectations of what was going to happen.”

Bastille began with Dan writing songs in his bedroom. Though the songs are wrenched from the depths of a sometimes dark heart Dan still has a young, giddy feel about the excitement of being on the road.

Even if it meant concerned friends were questioning his state of mind. He says: “My songs are quite private. It’s a bit of a strange thing. I started writing songs in my bedroom with my friend and we were gigging right from the start.

“I remember playing one of my songs to a friend and he said, ‘Are you alright? Is there something wrong with you?’

“I’m drawn to darker narratives. They maybe are dark and not the happiest. From our album Weight of Living, Part 2 is potentially the most depressing song in the world.

“It’s about the moment you freak out and everything gets on top of you. It’s such a fleeting feeling.

“A couple of years ago I had my first interview and it was a novelty. We’ve just started the tour and it’s exciting but weird saying bye to my friends and family and then we’re off touring different countries for months.

“This is our first tour and we’ve got a proper tour bus with little bunks. It’s like going to camp or on a little holiday.

“Normally we go to gigs in a little van. But for this one we fell asleep and then just woke up and we were in Edinburgh. It’s so nice.

“We didn’t play Edinburgh last time we toured but none of us had been before so we spent time there on our day off.”

While touring this year Dan caught some of The Big Reunion TV documentary about manufactured pop girl and boy bands like Atomic Kitten, 5ive, Bewitched, Liberty, 911 and Honeyz.

The frankness of unhappiness from the documentary left Dan wondering about the sense of the pop band.

Dan recalls: “We stayed in a Travel Lodge and I was with Woody so we watched an episode.

“It was the most depressing thing to see. We’re not pop-y or manufactured but they (the bands) all had depression or problems with their psychology. They were all talking about no time off in four years.

For us it is very different. We have had complete control over our live stuff and no interference over the album.

“The only thing I didn’t want to be in is our music videos and photos. I guess the thing about the documentary is attitudes from everyone has now changed towards musicians.”

So we aren’t going to see Dan with a Justin Bieber-style fan-following copying his hairstyle?

“I hope not,” he gasps. “I hope no-one cares. I look like a weirdo. I have four jumpers and five t-shirts so not much to copy.”