Interview: Bastille: “We’re fucking lucky to be in a band”

Bastille: “We’re fucking lucky to be in a band”

Dan Smith joins DIY’s 50th issue extravaganza to talk musical memories and the future.

It’s safe to say that the past five years have been a bit ridiculous for South London quartet Bastille. From channelling the wonderful weirdness of David Lynch on their first offering ‘Laura Palmer’ to packing out venues across the country - across the world! - with their addictive earworm anthems, the band have already reached some staggering heights. That’s only after one album too.

Just like proud parents, DIY have watched the band grow up along the way. So, obviously we invited frontman Dan Smith along to join in our birthday party fun.

In 2011, they were: Working away in their South London hide-out, while starting to make their first footsteps into the live world. And, you know, prepping themselves for world domination.

Right now, they’re: Working even more - this time on their second album, which will follow their supermassive, double Platinum-selling debut ‘Bad Blood’. Phew!

What’s the best thing about being in Bastille?

Getting to be on the cover of DIY, of course. (Awh, thanks Dan! - Ed)

What have been your favourite / most surreal / most silly moments of the past few years?

We’re fucking lucky to be in a band and it’s easy to get caught up in what we’re doing sometimes, but stepping back from the whole thing is a bit ridiculous, I guess. Playing to a big mass of people who are choosing to listen to your music in a field is always fun, and it can feel particularly weird when I think about how we make our music in a small windowless room in South London.

Which forgotten bands of the past would you like to see come back?

I feel like Ace of Base should definitely be coming back.

If you could pick one album you loved as a teenager, and make it compulsory listening for future teenagers, which one, and why?

I’d pick The Score by The Fugees it’s interesting and important but fundamentally packed with great songs.

“It can feel particularly weird when I think about how we make our music in a small windowless room in South London.”

— Dan Smith, Bastille

What does a new band need in order to ‘make it’? Time and space? A stroke of luck?

I think it’s a big collision of all of those things and it seems to happen different for everyone, doesn't it? It would be nice to think that talent and quality rise to the top but obviously that’s not always the case. I’m rubbish at answering this kind of question, and this is a totally obvious answer, but I always think having really amazing songs seems like the most important thing.

Which three new acts are the most exciting, and why?

Rationale because he is a brilliant songwriter with a great lyrical world view, he’s sonically and stylistically interesting and happens to be one of the best live vocalists around at the moment. Nao is also really impressive as a vocalist and producer. I saw a show of her’s earlier this year and was blown away by her and her band. They were so tight and it all comes off as completely effortless. Childcare are making really good, weird guitar music and I’m looking forward to seeing what they put out next.

How important do you think it is for bands to support one another?

You’d like to hope that anyone making music is also a fan of music and not just an egomaniacally self-involved wanker, so I guess I’d just assume that any band would like other people’s music and want to talk about how much they like it. I think that was a long winded way of me saying that I think it’s important for bands to support each other. And anyone who chooses to do the opposite mystifies me.

How does a new crop of headliners come through? Do bookers need to take more risks?

It’s weird that it does seem like less new acts are breaking through to headline status at the moment. I have no idea what should happen to change that. It’s great to see that Foals are headlining Reading & Leeds though. Hopefully more new-ish bands like Alt J and The 1975 will be doing the same over the next couple of years.

Photos: Mike Massaro.

Taken from DIY's 50th issue special, out now. Subscribe to DIY below.

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