Friday, October 17, 2014

Erica Rivera Interviews Bastille


Q&A: Bastille

You’ve likely found yourself humming along to a Bastille song whether or not you realize it. The “apocalyptic pop” group cemented their place in the music scene with their single “Pompeii”, an earworm that garnered the band over half a million downloads and 36 millions views of the music video.

Lyrically obsessed with destruction, the British foursome—who sounds like the sonic lovechild of Coldplay and Mumford & Sons—emerged in 2012 with “Other People’s Heartache”, a two-part mixtape. The band’s EP “Haunt” brought their tunes stateside a year later, and Bastille’s debut full-length, “Bad Blood”, made them chart-toppers. Dan Smith (songwriting/vocals), Will Farquarson (bass), Kyle Simmons (keyboard), and Chris “Woody” Wood (drums), have been touring at a dizzying pace ever since.

Simmons spoke to Vita.mn in anticipation of the band’s return to the Twin Cities.

Q: How did Bastille originally come together?

A: Dan was doing some solo stuff and then he met Woody and Will. He decided he wanted to change it up a bit and make a band. He wrote a bunch of new songs and got me on board. We have mutual friends and he kept bugging me “Hey come to rehearsal.” I went down and that was when Bastille formed. 2010 I think it was.

Q: In other interviews, one of the band members inevitably says that you guys never meant to be big. Did you really not have high hopes for success when you started?

A: It wasn’t that we didn’t have any faith in what we were doing; it was just that we just never saw it getting to this scale. Our heads hadn’t run away with it. We were living our normal lives. We know how hard it can be in the music industry and we were prepared for that. Within a year or two of playing together, it went a bit crazy and we were all surprised.

Q: Your next album is rumored to be more guitar-based. Why did Bastille want to go in that direction?

A: It’s not “guitar-based” but there is going to be guitar. Most bands have guitar on every song anyway. It’s normal. On the first album, we didn’t have any guitar at all. Now we’ve started using guitars and experimenting with different styles like heavy rock and R&B. I’m actually at the studio now. You caught me mid-album-two.

Q: During your time in the band, what has been a moment or an experience that stands out in your memory?

A: We’re lucky to be in the position that we’ve been able to take part in some amazing stuff, like Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen. I remember the time we had our first 1,000 likes on Facebook. It was amazing. A thousand people is a lot of people. Then we got bigger, but it’s hard to comprehend 50,000 or 60,000 because the number’s so big. It can’t have less meaning, but the difference between 80,000 and 90,000 isn’t that great. The difference between 0 and 1,000 is massive.

Q: What has dealing with the attention from all those fans been like?

A: It’s difficult. It’s nice that people care enough to come out to gigs and want pictures and stuff. We get a lot of presents, which is amazing. It’s weird having a connection with people we haven’t met. They kind of know who we are through our videos and tours. It’s daunting. If I’m on a night out with friends who aren’t in Bastille, and someone comes up to me, like, “Are you in Bastille? Can I get a picture?” it’s super weird. It penetrates my life outside of the band.

Q: Do you still have a private life?

A: I don’t have much of a private life because the band takes up all of my time. I do have some time to just hang out with my friends. This week-and-a-half we’re in the studio recording, it’s in London, so every night we get to go home and see friends and girlfriends and go out and do normal stuff, which is amazing because we haven’t had time for dinner in a while.

Q: You’ve done a lot of interviews with the press. What questions are you tired of answering?

A: We get a lot of questions about Dan’s hair or my mustache. You just kind of get used to interviews and you have to be prepared to answer anything. I guess just Dan’s hair, he gets a lot, like, “How do you make it to stand up like that?” He’s like, “Well, just dry it with a towel and put stuff in it.” It’s crazy.

Originally published on Vita.mn in Oct. 2014.