Photo by Jesse Jenkins
Editor's Note: This story appears in its original format in the Winter 2014 issue of Variance.
This year is already turning out to be a great one for English four-piece Bastille. The band just released its deluxe album, All This Bad Blood, and has four BRIT Awards nominations for the upcoming ceremony on Feb. 19., tying for the most nods with producer duo, Disclosure. And of course, there’s the Jan. 25 episode of Saturday Night Live, in which the band serves as musical guest alongside host Jonah Hill.
2013 catapulted the band into international stardom with its debut album, Bad Blood, earning them the title of the U.K.’s top-selling debut act. It’s just one of countless chart-topping numbers for the band that only formed in 2010. The band’s single, “Pompeii”, can be heard across the globe and has jumped from chart to chart, reaching sales of nearly two million. It really seems like this is just the jumping-off point.
Frontman Dan Smith chatted with Variance while he was in the States preparing for a series of promo shows to discuss what’s next for a band that is in such high demand.
North America has experienced a surge in great music from across the pond in recent years, prompting many music observers to refer to it as another “British Invasion.” Whatever you call it, Bastille is certainly no exception. The guys have been selling out U.S. shows and getting tons of radio airplay in a market many international acts acknowledge as the toughest to break into.
With all the success, the band still has a hard time believing it. “I think we’re kind of – we’re quite thrilled about it and we’re a bunch of realists,” says Smith. “So I don’t think we ever imagined we’d ever be coming to America and playing.
“I think the thing with America is, it’s obviously such a vast country, and it’s so varied and I think the majority of the country, we’ve never visited. We’re just already lucky to have the opportunity to even travel around America. To be able to do it in the context of playing songs, playing our music, is unbelievable.”
The band’s first official release was “Overjoyed.” The song found some success back home, but the single that really put the band on the international map, so to speak, was “Pompeii,” an upbeat, fun, sing-along type song that’s an earworm for sure. This track was the catalyst that propelled the band into mainstream popularity. The song released in February 2013 and hasn’t let up since.
“It’s always been really important to us to release a lot of music … the idea was to make a bunch of songs we really like, but that allowed us to kind of experiment,” explains Smith. “The thing that we found really gratifying in England was ‘Pompeii’ doing well, but then the album did quite well, which means that people hopefully really like the collection of songs and not just a single.”
The entire album is filled with great music. The second track “Things We Lost In The Fire” is a great follow-up from intro track “Pompeii,” while “Overjoyed” takes on a totally different set of emotions and draws the listener in closer. The highs and lows from the album show the depth of the band and their diverse sound.
The new release, All This Bad Blood, is a reissue of the original album on disc one, with some B-sides and new tracks on the second disc.
“I think the thing with the reissue of the album…all the songs on there, I really want to release properly. It’s a really nice way to do that. It almost draws the line to close this chapter and start the next one properly,” says Smith.
Despite an avalanche of success and a rapidly growing fan base across the globe, the band’s next chapter is still unclear. This is also true for Smith, who admits that it’s hard to speculate about the future when the band could hardly anticipate their current status.
Of course, a new album is most definitely in the cards, the 26-year-old singer assures. In fact, he’s already begun working on the new record. Ultimately, the timeline will be impacted by other factors, but he suggests it will be sooner rather than later.
“I think if I was given the time, which I don’t think I have—I’d love to release it this year. But we will have to wait and see.”
Bastille’s deluxe album, All This Bad Blood, is out now. For tour dates, go to bastillebastille.com.