Saturday 24 February 2018

Bastille are ready to storm Mitchelstown


INDIEPENDENCE headliners Bastille may seem like yet another overnight success story playing Mitchelstown, but that isn't so, frontman Dan Smith tells The Corkman.

Having hit the top of the charts with 'Pompeii', an earworm of a synth-driven anthem, the band has been catapulted to the main stages of festivals across the continent. The success has been a long time coming, he explains.

"Since we've started a few years ago we've been working pretty hard and pretty solidly and releasing music, EPs and mix tapes, and other stuff constantly. So we're obviously massively taken aback by how well our album has done and the things it has allowed us to do. But for us it feels like there was quite a steady curve before then," he said. "Obviously, releasing an album is a chance to have lots of people hear about you for the first time, and we're not naive to that but at the same time we've been having fun with it and putting on the best shows we can.

"We're just really lucky to be in the position we are in at the minute and we are trying to make the best of it," he said.

However, playing festivals is different, and Bastille are concious of trying to construct a set for a load of people who aren't there just to see them. "When you play your own tour you take on the fact that everyone there probably knows most of your songs and they like you. At a festival you're potentially playing to a lot of people who have never heard of you, or maybe only heard one song, so you try to put together a set that will keep people engaged and where we can have some fun," he said.

As an act who are now well versed in the festival circuit, the Bastille crew see plenty to cheer on the road.

"There are loads of other bands out there who are doing loads and loads of festivals and in a similar position to us. So you end up running into a lot of the same people, which is quite nice. Haim have really impressed us, they're a brilliant live band and are really nice girls as well. We're all big fans of Aluna George, they're wicked.

"We've managed to see Disclosure a few times, which was a lot of fun. At the Radio 1 Big Weekend we saw Vampire Weekend. I am a massive, massive Vampire Weekend fan and that was amazing, to see them in a relatively small context.

"We're in the lucky position at the moment of being quite busy and that means that we don't really have any time off at all. But it's a weird double edged sword. We get to go to these amazing festivals, but often we have to leave pretty soon after we've played.

"So, sometimes you get to see gigs you'd never get to see, but other times you look at the line up and completely lose your shit and say "f**kin' hell, I'd love to see all those bands," but then your tour manager says you've got to leave, be out of there by eight and head onto the next place.

"So it's almost like having the ultimate line up dangled in front of you and then snatched away. We always, if we can, try to stick around as much as possible and watch as many bands as we can."

Another downside of being so busy is getting the chance to write new material, Dan said.

"It sounds ridiculous to say it, but, another slight drawback of being really busy touring is that we've not been able to spend time working on new songs. We had a couple of days at home a few weeks ago and I came out with a bunch of new songs, which is really satisfying, in the context of playing the same songs over.

"I'm really keen to come out with a new album next year and maybe put out some more stuff later this year as well. I think it's really important to try and keep making songs and bringing out new stuff. That is the sort of ethos we've always worked under.

"The songs on this album are becoming old to us, and to a lot of fans who have stuck with us from the beginning, these aren't new songs for them either, so it's important to give them something new, but also for ourselves. We are really keen to move things on again."

Dan feels that there's more to Bastille than the synth-driven sound they are associated with, and that this will come to the fore in the new album.

"Style-wise, we can sort of do what we want as long as I am happy the songs are good enough, the songwriting is the most important thing.

"There's no guitars on the first album, so it could be quite fun to mess around with some quite heavy guitar sounds, we could push things on the electronic side as well.

"Of the songs we've worked on at the moment, they're some tracks which are more indie than anything we've ever done, there's some rock and stuff coming in. We're messing around with different instruments like brass, so it's been fun."

Finally, Dan revealed why the band are looking forward to playing to Irish audiences again this summer.

"Other than festivals we've done six or maybe more shows. We played the Academy 2 in Dublin, it was downstairs and the stage is just half a foot off the floor. That was our first proper sold out show in Dublin and we had such a nice time.

"The crowd were pretty much on the stage ... by the end of the gig half the crowd were on the stage jumping up and down. I'll always remember that, it was one of the original, proper, sweaty, sold out gigs. It was really fun."


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