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Interview: Bastille talk about storming the charts, festivals and south London
BASTILLE’S rise to the top has been quick enough to cause nose bleeds.
The band did not even exist three years ago and since late 2010 they have amassed adoring fans, millions of Youtube views and thousands of record sales.
In February, their debut album Bad Blood went to number one a week after their single Pompeii hit number two.
Since then, the four south Londoners have had a busy schedule of festivals – including a headline night at the iTunes Festival – and have to squeeze in two American tours (where their album peaked at number two on the iTunes chart), a jaunt around Europe and some live dates in the UK.
Shortly before meeting Vibe, the band played on the main stage at Bestival to a surprisingly big 2pm crowd which upstaged the bigger names on the bill.
Speaking just after he came off stage - and still wearing nautical-themed Life Aquatic fancy dress - singer and songwriter Dan Smith said: “We were completely blown away by how many people came along to see us and were singing along. It was just a lot of fun.”
Keyboardist Kyle Simmons added: “There were so many people there for 2pm on a Saturday. It was ridiculous.
“It’s amazing. I’m such a massive fan of this festival of this anyway so I know exactly how all of them are feeling, so for them to come out in the number they did...”
Their diaries may be full, but the band still looked to be having a ball on stage and Kyle insists they love the work.
He said: “It’s a pretty fun job to have as it goes, so we’re loving it. And fancy dress makes everything better, whatever it is.”
Bastille started off as 26-year-old Dan’s solo project – he was born on Bastille Day - and he had been writing and playing songs under his own name but met the other band members and decided to work as a group.
He said: “It always sat really weirdly with me playing under my own name.”
As a group, they have been touring for nearly three years, putting out music on their own, through indie labels and mixtapes and creating a buzz.
Dan said: “It is not like we didn’t put in a lot of hard work.
“It is just this year that we seem to have made a bit of a jump to some people having heard of us, which is nice.
He added: “It’s nuts that our album went to number one. We certainly didn’t expect that.”
The band all live in south London - bass player Will recently moved to Clapham from Hackney having previously travelled across town to rehearse – and feel lucky for the opportunities of the capital.
Dan said: “I think London generally is an amazing place to grow up. I feel really lucky.
“I think we take a lot for granted like how much music and culture and things are going on.
“For me growing up in south London it feels like you’re a little bit on the outskirts but in terms of the things that influence us – the music and the film - it is quite wide ranging and all over the world.
“That’s probably more of a reflection that we’re living in a world where you can get hold of anything you want, like David Lynch or bands from New York that don’t really have anything to do with being from London.”
Bastille’s album Bad Blood is out now.
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