“We want the album to be as broad as possible” An Interview with Bastille (18/10/2012)


‘Fuckkkk what should I eat?!’. Waiting in Bastille’s tour bus I watched lead singer Dan struggle with, what appeared to be the toughest decision of his life. After much deliberation he managed to solve his dilemma of what to eat and proceeded to discuss with band members Will and Kyle Rihanna’s dressing room, avoiding careers in porn and dreams of Total Wipeout USA.

 Okay so let’s talk about your name Bastille. Am I right in thinking it’s French for fortress?

Dan : Bastille was the name of a prison in France that was stormed and was the icon of French Revolution cause the amount of storms on the prison was a big moment in French history

Will: Down with the elite

 So what made you choose that as your name?

 Will: We’re basically all communists

Kyle: The day that Bastille got stormed, Bastille Day, is the same day as Dan’s birthday

So, you’ve got you’re EP Flaws coming out on Sunday 21/10/2012, when can we expect an album from you guys?

 Dan: March 4th. We’ve got some new tracks some old ones and then the singles that we’ve released so far. A big mix of things I think

 Have you played at Komedia before?

 Dan: our first ever gig was April last year in the small student bar at the back of Komedia at Great Escape and then we played at Great Escape this year in the Green Door Store.

 If you could play anywhere in the world, and it could be something ridiculous like the top of Kilamanjaro, where would your dream gig be?

 Will: In Rihanna’s dressing room

 Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

 Dan: No one specifically to be honest there’s just a whole lot of people. I guess classic songwriters cause I’m really into what I think hopefully are really good songs. Then also a lot of producers and electronic music, folk stuff, then maybe a bit of hip hop as well. 

What sort of stuff did you guys grow up listening to?

Will: I hesitate to say cause it’s all sort of quite embarrassing

Nothing is embarrassing. I’m part of the Spice Girls generation!

Will: Me too! It was only Spice Girls and New Kids on the Block. That was it. It’s all I listen to now.

Dan: Kyle used to listen to a lot of 2 step and garage

Will: Kyle was a rudeboy. He used to have the eyebrows with the stripes

Kyle: yeah cause I grew up in London and that’s what all the kids were listening to back then

Okay so if you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive who would it be?

 Dan: Are we going back to Rihanna’s dressing room?

Will: I think we should

 I think she’d actually be pretty cool to collaborate with

Will: She actually would! Not just in the fact that she’s a sexy mofo cause we went to see her live and I didn’t know I was a Rihanna fan…

Dan: No sorry, we didn’t go to see her we saw her at a festival that we were playing at.

Will: Okay so we didn’t go specifically to see her play live she came on at a festival and every tune is massive. It’s the same as Nelly. We didn’t see him but everyone here is a Nelly fan and you don’t even know it. I’ll play you any Nelly song and you’ll love it.

So before a gig do you have any rituals that you do to prepare?

Kyle: We have your basic boring vocal runs that you have to do, scales and appeggios that sort of stuff

Dan: May drink a bit of whisky

Will: Yeah I have a light sipping whisky

Overall what would you say has been your best gig experience so far?

 Dan: Reading festival was amazing but also back in June we played a place called Scala in London which for us was and still is the biggest headline show we’d done and that had sold out a couple of months before the gig and also a quite bizarre moment because we were like here’s a venue in London where people that we massively look up to play at and we managed to sell it out somehow. There’s actual strangers who want to be there as well so that was crazy. But then I guess exactly the same thing could be said for Reading where we were clashing with Bombay Bicycle Club and yet the tent was full and loads of people knew all the words. It was a massive headfuck.

When writing what process do you follow? Is it a case of individually locking yourselves away for hours on end or do you all come with different ideas and work as whole on each song?

Dan: I just kinda start piecing things together then I start recording the songs and then with the guys we figure out how to play them live

Have you ever written a song and shown it to the rest of the guys and they’ve been like ‘no I don’t like it’?

Will: Pretty much all of them… No to be honest Dan’s songs are great. Dan’s awesome at writing songs. He showed me a new one the other day and I haven’t been able to stop singing it since

Kyle: I think the thing is we wouldn’t all be in a band if we didn’t like the music. Dan is just a really good songwriter. There’s never even been a point where I’ve gone to any of the guys “hmm I’m not sure about this one”

Dan: The songs go through quite a heavy filtration process and I wait till stuff’s quite fully formed before I ever play it to anyone. I’d like to think, well I hope, I’m quite a harsh critic on myself

Even though you know these guys really well do you still get nervous the first time you play them a new song?

 Dan: Yeah! It’s really scary. I hate playing songs to people its horrible

Will: Nice job choice

Kyle: I don’t like playing songs to people and I hate strangers

Dan: and I hate music! No its always really nervewracking. I massively rely on other people’s opinions in terms of seeing what works and what doesn’t so that first moment of playing it to people, who’s opinions you really care about, is scary

So for those that perhaps don’t know you that well how would you describe your music?

Dan: I dunno…hopefully quite eclectic. Definitely vocal lead, lots of harmonies. A big mix of sounds like live band sounds and electronic sounds. We want the album to be as broad as possible so extreme arrangements…big epic drums and then there’s other songs that are really minimal, quite spacious and electronic

Will: Do you reckon there are any bands that could just answer that question?

Dan: Probably not about themselves

Will: yeah that’s what I mean

So if you guys weren’t in a band what do you reckon you’d all be doing right now instead?

 Kyle: I would be striving towards my career that’s top of my list, if it came around I’d leave the band. You know Total Wipeout USA…the guy that controls the machines. You know when the guys run across, its not random there’s someone controlling those things. That’s it. That’s the job for me. I’d do that for free. I’d just love it.

So if someone called you up tomorrow like we’ve got a job at Total Wipeout for you would you be like ‘see you later guys!’

Kyle: Yeah!

Will: I’d understand

Dan: I’d understand as well. It’s like the same sort of situation you know when you’re in a relationship and there’s that one person outside of the relationship that’s famous that you’re allowed to have sex with.

Will: Like Rihanna

Dan: Yeah like Rihanna

What about you Will, what would you do?

Will: I’m essentially unemployable. I’d just be avoiding being a porn star. Anything that’s not porn I’d be happy to do. Just any odd job that’s not pornography.

Would you be the same Dan, do anything that’s not porn?

Dan: I would…I dunno I always wanted to be a film critic but I don’t think I’m good enough. That’s what I’d like to do but I don’t think I’d make any money out of it. I’d probably just take myself to the cinema then write reviews for myself.

After you play a gig what do you usually do? Cause there’s always this stereotype with bands that they’re always going to all these crazy parties. Is there any truth in that or are you like straight to bed, cup of tea, pyjamas…?

Dan: It totally depends on the gig. Generally when you’re on tour you’ve got to go somewhere straight after. We’ll have a drink from our friends and stuff but nothing too wild. We certainly don’t go to any decent parties.

Will: the first night of this tour I stayed up and did the washing up. We were staying in this flat and basically you get a £20 fine if you leave the washing up undone so I was like ‘I’m not paying that!’

Dan: At 5 in the morning totally drunk Will was like ‘they’re going to bed I’m gonna do the washing up’

Will: yeah but how good was the job I did?

Dan: yeahh it was brilliant cause we had to leave at 7 in the morning so it made sense in Will’s head

Will: So I stayed up all night

 You could be a cleaner that could be your next calling!

Bastille’s new single ‘Flaws’ is out now.






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Hi I'm Grace I risk sounding disgustingly cliched but I cannot remember a time when music wasn't part of my life. I love going to gigs and have been known to dabble in a bit of gigging and song writing myself.

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