Bastille played in Stanley Theatre on Friday 12 October. They kindly took 15 minutes out before the gig to talk to LSMedia for a snappy and well-pitched interview (mainly Dan):
So it’s October now, but it feels as though summer has just ended; you must have done a million festivals in the past few months – which was your favourite and why?
(Dan) Yeah, it was like 30. I think Reading was a lot of fun and it was weird to play such a famous, iconic festival. We had a really, really nice turn out with everyone singing along.
Were you a bit scared? Reading can be quite brutal…
(Dan) Absolutely terrified. I was totally expecting pints of piss to be thrown all over us – I practically went out in a rain mac. But no, actually we were really pleasantly surprised. Also, right after we had to go and do this live thing for BBC3 and it was our first ever live TV performance, and that was terrifying. The whole day was pretty intense and mental, but it all went really well which was a relief.
I don’t know if I’ve got this right, but I heard one of you was thrown out of Glastonbury. What happened there, then?
(Kyle) Well, I didn’t have a ticket. I was snuck in under a sofa. They caught me out. You know the dangly bit on the wristbands? Well we cut a load of them off and sewed them round and at like half 6 in the morning security asked to see my wrist and took me to the security thing and now I’ve got a certificate on my wall.
(Dan) And what’s ridiculous is, they not only gave him and certificate, but they drove him to the station which was like a 5 mile walk and the only reason he got caught was because he was asking for directions. It actually worked out really well.
For people who have never heard your stuff before, and I know this is a really annoying question, but who would you liken yourself to…what sort of genre would you put yourself in?
(Dan) I’m not trying to be difficult, but I am genuinely bad at answering this question. Not that I’m in anyway saying we don’t have a genre, but I kind of like that it’s not…we probably sound like everyone else to everyone else. To me, I see our stuff as a big mash of influences. I guess indie with electro production, hip-hop beats.
That’s probably the least useful answer ever. If you were to cite three main influences, who would you go for? Not necessarily on Bastille’s music, but on you – growing up, the music you love to listen to now etc.
(Dan) I’d go with Simon and Garfunkel, the Fugees and I used to really like Regina Spektor. There was a period in my life where I thought she like the Messiah. Ridiculous. I interviewed her once and I could barely talk, I was just so overwhelmed by her presence. Now I listen to her stuff and think, what the fuck was I thinking? She had one amazing album, Soviet Kitsch, but I think as she’s progressed her stuff’s become and bit over-produced and lost its edge.
With your song-writing process, do you come up with a concept for a song or is it an outlet for personal expression?
(Dan) It’s a big mix. Sometimes I have an idea of a story I want to tell, they’re all sort of informed by stuff that’s happened to me, but they’re not generally, totally autobiographical. Sometimes an easy way into writing a song is setting up a couple of characters and creating a narrative.
Are there any of your songs that you find difficult to perform because of personal content?
(Dan) There are, like, on our album, there’re maybe two songs that are definitely personal. I think they’re obscure enough, that no-one would have any idea. They’re not so, I mean I guess they’re like a little bit heart-on-your-sleeve, but they’re not so painfully self-centred that it’s like cringe-worthy to sing. I’m more distracted by jumping around, being terrified of all the people, climbing stuff.
Your EP is called Laura Palmer – is that a Twin Peaks reference?
(Dan) Yeah. I just love Twin Peaks. I’d been watching the show loads and was so fascinated by the character and the idea of all her secrets being revealed after her death and how everything just completely unravels, but she’s not there to see it or take control of it. It’s also just a completely clunky reference because I absolutely love David Lynch.
Is commercial success important to you at all? Or are you just happy to be doing what you’re doing for as long as you can?
(Dan) I mean, it’s totally not that important. There’s an element of, at the moment, well – this is our job. Which is amazing. And weird. I guess, hopefully there is some element of success that will allow us to keep going for as long as possible. We’re having such an amazing time this year, it’s absolutely the best job in the world.
You mentioned the Fugees earlier – if there was any genre outside of what you’re currently doing that you could dabble in – what would it be and why?
(Dan) Well, we had a rap battle last night. I actually, with a friend of ours, co-produced the album. We did quite a lot hip-hop production, so I guess that isn’t miles away from dabbling, it’s been quite similar to what we do with Bastille. It seems to be going okay at the moment, it’s a lot of fun to do. Although, I kind of feel like a bit of a fraud doing it.
Are there any lyrics, melodies, or hooks from any already released songs that you wish you’d written?
(Dan) A lot of Laura Marling’s lyrics blow me away, I’m just like – how the hell could you think that up? It’s so beautiful and pure. And at the moment, I think so many ideas on alt-J’s albums are amazing. Hooks, hooks…hmmm (somewhere in the background, Will, half-asleep shouts, “James Brown” – this is his only input in the interview).