Bastille: “It’s been fucking amazing getting to be in rooms with real people again”

Heading back to Reading & Leeds festival this weekend, we have a quick catch up with the singalong heroes.

We all know by now that there’s only one way to finish the summer right, and it’s by packing up your tent, sourcing some soon-to-be-warm tinnies and heading to Reading or Leeds.

But this year’s set to be even more massive than usual: the long-awaited live return of Arctic Monkeys? Check. Witnessing the madness of Bad Boy Chiller Crew live? Check. The chef’s kiss of pop bangers as Charli XCX leads into The 1975? You bloody betcha.

And returning to the infamous sites of Reading & Leeds this year are Bastille, who are particularly well-acquainted with the fest, so we decided to have a catch up with them.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing shows at Leeds & Reading over the years so it’s always well exciting to head back and play.”

Hello Bastille! You’ve had a pretty busy 2022 so far - what’s it been like being back out on the road and getting to play live for people across the world again?
We’re so lucky to have been able to travel a bunch again already. It was pretty surreal being back living on a tour bus again, driving around the USA and Canada playing shows from town to town for a six-week stint earlier this year. And it’s mad to think we’re heading back to South America soon, and then we’re off around Europe too. After a couple of years of being so isolated and releasing music into what sometimes felt like a bit of a void, it’s been fucking amazing getting to be in rooms with real people again and hear our tunes sung back. I’ve gone on before about how I’m not always that comfortable on stage, and obviously touring is such a weird lifestyle, but I don’t think I’d realised how important it is to feel a tangible reaction to the songs we’ve made.

You also cropped up as secret guests at Glastonbury last month - how was it to return to the festival, while being sneaky at the same time?
It was fucking amazing to be back at Glastonbury. I feel like so many people who were there this year said it was their favourite Glastonbury ever… everyone there was so up for it, the line-up was great and the weather was perfect. We’d literally just got back from the US so were a bit all over the place, but we got to play with Old Dirty Brasstards, who are this brilliant 15-piece brass band. They’d done arrangements for all our tunes, and because we’d been away we didn’t get to practise with them until about an hour before we all went on stage, so it could have been a bit of a mess. But they were amazing and we were totally blown away by how many people came along to see us all.

You obviously released ‘Give Me The Future’ a few months back now - how has the reaction been from fans, and how have people connected with it? Is it what you expected?
We had no idea what to expect… I guess throwing ourselves into a concept album with quite a different sound was a bit nerve-racking, but we’ve been really happy with the reaction. It was so exciting when the album went to Number One - we completely lost our minds - and we’ve been loving bringing loads of the new songs on tour and to festivals too.

What does Reading & Leeds mean to you as a band, and how’re you looking forward to getting back on that stage?
I used to go to Reading loads when I was a student so playing there always feels pretty surreal. It was also quite a big moment for us as a band way back when we got to play in one of the smaller tents. We’d just put out ‘Overjoyed’ and I’ll never forget starting to play the tune and hearing this tent full of people scream this weird electronic depressing piano song back at us. It might have been the first point I thought our band might get to keep doing what we were doing. We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing shows at Leeds & Reading over the years so it’s always well exciting to head back and play. The line-up on the day we’re playing is insane as well so I can’t wait.

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