Taking their current form at the start of 2011, Bastille are now climbing the charts with their latest single, Flaws. Whilst the pace of entry into the mainstream grows, they do so organically. With an ambitious debut planned for release in 2013, Bastille are currently building on their already solid fanbase with a UK tour.

Matt Healy caught up with front man, Dan Smith and drummer, Chris Wood ahead of their sold-out gig at the HMV Institute in Birmingham, to discuss not being aligned with Empire of the Sun, their music being used on Made in Chelsea and their thoughts on being name the band ‘Most likely to be killed by Radio 1’ by The Guardian.

I was lucky enough to catch you at Reading Festival and what struck me was the level of support you have for a band that only formed last year. How was Reading for you?

Dan: It was mental – we had such a good time. We’re a bunch of pessimists so we went into it expecting to have loads of bottles of piss thrown at us and it turned out a lot better than that which was pleasing.

One of the ways your tracks have gained momentum is from being featured on such shows as Made In Chelsea – what are your thoughts on this?

Dan: Umm, obviously we wouldn’t want to have our music associated with that type of show but at the same time it has been amazing platform for us to win over some new fans and for people to hear our music.

I guess it’s just a bit of music played in the background and if people try and find you online off the back of that (which is a fair bit of effort), then it’s a good thing.

With some many ways to experiment in terms of getting your music heard, can it be quite overwhelming as first?

Dan: I think we’re lucky that we live in a time when you can put your music online and thousands of people can hear it but at the same time thousands of people are putting their music online.

CW: I guess when you start out you don’t really have a set way to go, you just sort of find your feet as you’re doing it, it’s a bit of trial and error I guess.

It’s really boring but we just put songs online and did as many gigs as we could and we were really lucky that some people seemed to just gravitate towards the songs and that really helped. Since our first gig in April of last year, we’ve been really lucky because it just snowballed from there.

The Guardian has described Bastille as ‘the band most likely to be killed by Radio 1’, what are your thoughts on that?

CW: It’s a very backward compliment – I mean for us, ironically, the most sort of coverage we’ve had has been through Radio 1. A lot of the larger music press has ignored us – they don’t seem to get on with us. I dunno if was some jab at radio but Radio 1 has been massively helpful to us and a lot of the daytime DJs have seemed to have jumped on board, so we’re incredibly grateful.

I’ve heard that you’re planning to introduce visuals into your live set – is building on this aspect of your show something you’re keen to do?

CW: Very much so – I know that I, personally, would like to make it as much of a show as possible because I hate going to gigs and seeing bands with poker faces, just standing there and looking at the ground. I want to give more than that but at the same time it could all go horribly wrong. Fingers crossed it doesn’t go tits up.

I mean growing up I remember seeing Muse when I was 14 and they were throwing themselves around and the energy on stage just sort of grabbed you. That’s what a gig is all about – I’m the one playing drums so I’m just sat on my ass but Dan and Will try to move around a fair bit. Kyle is basically plugged into the matrix and he can’t really move either but I guess if you don’t come off stage knackered, you probably haven’t done it right.

You’re releasing Flaws as an EP – with the digital age lent towards releasing EPs, are we going to see a lot more EP releases from Bastille?

Dan: I mean with Flaws, it’s a song we’ve released before but when we first released it our audience was tiny and hopefully it’s grown a bit and we all felt like we wanted to give people as much as possible. I know it sounds ridiculous but with every release we’re aware that people are parting with money and we don’t just want to give them a song, we want to give them an interesting package.

On Flaws, there’s the video and a live version that we did back in June. It’s just so nice because we enjoy playing the songs so much live as people often sing it back at us, which is such a crazy feeling. It’s quite a scrappy recording but you can hear the crowd singing along and it’s nice to share that with people who haven’t seen us live before.

I suppose it makes people want it rather than feel obliged to have it.

It’s also a nice platform for people to hear songs that won’t be on the album. It gives them a bit more credit than just being B sides because all the songs are important to me and us and we’ve worked hard on them, so it’s a really nice way for us to release.

Music journalists find you quite hard to define, would you consider this as your greatest compliment?

Dan: Yes and that’s what I strive for. I think it frustrates a lot of people but that’s awesome and I don’t give a f**k. When people describe us as a certain thing, I feel like it’s a bit of disservice. It’s not that we’re doing anything new and revolutionary but I just don’t feel like the music sits within one genre or another.

They like to give us weird descriptions as well, like ‘electro-f**ksters’, which obviously I love.

I guess for me, there is a mass of different sounds and influences all filtered through the songs that I write and it’s a nice way to experiment but you know what it’s like with the music press, everything has to be defined because that’s easy to stomach.

In terms of your songwriting process Dan, I believe you’ve previously worked with Empire of the Sun?

Dan: I didn’t actually – it’s something that’s been annoyingly misquoted along the way. I wrote one song when I was doing stuff along the way, as an experiment. I wrote a song with one of the guys and it was an interesting experience but the song didn’t go anywhere and he’s got absolutely nothing to do with Bastille.

I mean I had an interesting experience with that journalist – he massively misquoted me. Obviously it’s fine if he doesn’t like us and I can take criticism and whatever but it’s just slightly frustrating to read articles like that because they inform other people’s opinions. I’ve seen it filter through to other things when people have said that I wrote half the album with Empire of the Sun but I wrote all of the album myself.

You’ve described your debut as ‘ambitious’, how is it ambitious?

Dan: I don’t know if it’s ambitious in terms of how other people perceive music to be ambitious but I just wanted the album to be as broad as possible. I wanted to try as many things as possible within what I’m capable of and what we’re capable of. I wanted to try massive string arrangements, really stripped back minimal stuff and different production techniques.

I wanted to write what I hope is a really good collection of songs. I want it to be one of those albums that everyone likes every single song on, for different reasons.

I hope there’s no filler on there because it’s taken me a while and I’m quite harsh on myself in terms of whether something is good or bad or not.

I don’t know, I’ve got no idea – everyone else will be the judge of that but for us, it was just really fun to make.


Flaws (EP) is now available for download via iTunes.

Bastille’s UK tour dates for 2013
Liverpool Academy
Thu 28 February

Edinburgh Liquid Room
Fri 01 March

Glasgow Oran Mor
Sat 02 March

Preston 53 Degrees
Mon 04 March

Manchester Club Academy
Tue 05 March

Southampton Mo Club
Thu 07 March

Norwich Waterfront
Fri 08 March

Birmingham Library
Sat 09 March

Leeds Cockpit
Sun 10 March

Sheffield Leadmill
Tue 19 March

Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Thu 21 March

Oxford O2 Academy
Fri 22 March

Cardiff Solus
Sat 23 March

Brighton Concorde 2
Mon 25 March

Bristol Thekla
Wed 27 March

London Shepherds Bush Empire
Thu 28 March

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.