‘Seriously, put these on, it makes the world so much happier,’ Kyle from Bastille says, passing me a pair of rose tinted, gimmicky sunglasses belonging to Woody, who’s birthday it was on the day of the interview (6th July). Their neon coloured yellow tour bus, which they call ‘Bumblebee’, is hot inside as we sit upstairs in their living room which is made up of a large, U-shaped black sofa, a table in the middle and what looks like stacks of CDs piled at the back. Dan begins to order his lunch, a mammoth sized burrito: ‘Chicken burrito please, with guacamole, all the salads, the salsa… you know the salsa that’s just tomato-y? And then the meat one, and the hot one, and the smoky salsa, and cheese… Cheese, guacamole, chicken…’ when Kyle interrupts and says, ‘Basically, chicken and everything. But no rice.‘ And all of this is made even funnier by the appearance of Dan, wearing a multi-coloured, striped baseball hat with a handy fan on the top, which Kyle wants to capture on Vine. ‘I love vine at the moment. (Kyle turns to Dan, who’s doing a sultry pose, eyes shifted to the side, pointing majestically at his hat) Don’t you fucking move. (To his phone) Quick, open up, Vine… Ah…. Go go go!’
It’s been a while since I have properly caught up with Bastille, and a lot has happened in that time. Back in October last year I first saw them at Komedia in Brighton –when I explain to them it’s a comedy club, hence its name, the entire band let out a huge ‘OHHHH! It all makes sense!’ ‘It all comes together!’ says Dan, followed by Kyle wittily remarking, ‘What a joke!’ then sheepishly adding, ‘That was bad, I’m sorry’.
Since Komedia though, the band have been catapulted into stardom, being dubbed as ‘the’ band of 2013. Luckily none of this seems to have affected how down to earth or friendly the four are, made up of Dan, lead singer, Kyle on keyboards, Woody on drums and Will on bass. For example, when telling Dan I watched their set at Glastonbury, he replied with an excited ‘Did you?! Thanks for watching!’
All this fame such as radio play, a strong fan base and their popular YouTube channel makes me question if they are famous enough for disguises to become a feasible option. Will and Kyle were proud to be recognised just once at Glastonbury; Will even claiming it was the ‘highlight of my life’. It seems, however, that Dan and his oversized hair have had to resort to disguises:
Will: ‘Dan put on a green cap backwards –‘
Kyle: ‘It worked!’
Will: ‘-And no one recognised him’.
Dan: ‘That’s all it took. It was amazing. Literally, I dressed slightly differently and put on a backwards green cap and not a single person recognised me. It was really weird, we were watching Arctic Monkeys and I took off my hat and it was like ZOOOMPH! Then I popped it back on and they all walked off.
Dressed in disguise or not, I ask who the lads managed to see perform at Glastonbury – highlighting the differences of musical tastes within the band and explaining the different sounds within their debut album, ‘Bad Blood’. Woody claims that ‘Smashing Pumpkins literally blew my world apart’ while Kyle managed to watch Niall Rogers, but Will only saw Rita Ora.
Dan: ‘Probably the greatest two hours of my life was seeing Vampire Weekend on the Pyramid Stage and running to the John Peel stage to see James Blake. They’re like two of my favourite albums at the moment.’
I haven’t heard the new Vampire Weekend album yet.
Dan: ‘It’s good, it’s a grower, I thought. Like, it feels very downbeat when you first hear it but there’s actually some wicked tunes on there. It’s just really complex and there’s depth, which is good – Woody can I have my ten pounds back please? *Laughs* Actually, keep it, it’s your birthday.’
Will (beaming proudly): The galaxy bar was from me.
Woody: Well thank you, Will!
Will: It was actually for my lunch, but then I donated it. So I didn’t even have a galaxy bar.
Woody: That’s a sacrifice!
Dan: ‘I didn’t even have a galaxy bar’ – that’s how nice Will is.
So aside from galaxy bar donations, I ask how it is being an ‘it’ band. It seems even strange to me to see a band that didn’t even have crowd dividers when I first saw them live, are now suddenly plastered all over the TV…
Dan: Yeah, it’s very strange… Even though it seems like we’ve sort of come out of nowhere, I guess for us it was quite slow and steady. And so, a lot of the touring we’re doing now was booked in before stuff went weird. So we’re sort of doing the same that we’d be doing, it’s just happens to be that a lot more people have heard of our music, which is really strange.
Kyle: We don’t really see the change as much because we’re so involved with it – it’s hard to see from an outside view.
Dan: So stuff like playing at a festival, and then being chose to be put on TV is very strange… And a really nice sign but I’m generally such a terrified weirdo that it’s a whole other level of fear. It’s one thing going on stage and playing to people who are there but also ‘Oh, there’s seventeen cameras and this is going out on BBC’…
Kyle: We’re so far apart on stage now!
Dan: We were playing the Isle of Wight festival, and I actually felt quite lonely. I turned around to look at Woody and usually he’s just behind me and he was like 70 meters back.
Kyle: Just a speck.
The food arrives, a tray of large, wrapped up burritos each with a different illustration; Woody’s one has a few birthday balloons and what is described as a ‘birthday cock’. Dan’s eyes go wide as he sucks in his breath and says, ‘Oh my GOD. Wooooaaah!’ He then turns to me, apologetically looking and says, ‘Sorry, there keeps on being distractions. It’s like interviewing four year olds.’ They begin eating their burritos and after being offered some of Dan’s, we move on to mosh pits.
Who’s the most likely to start a mosh pit?
(Woody proudly puts both hands up with a smirk on his face.)
I knew it would be you! Are you a rockin’ dude?
Kyle: His neck often hurts.
Woody: I get a big fat head. I go a bit headbangy. In Ibiza, there was a party at the hotel, it used to be Freddie Mercury’s bedroom, is that right?
Woody: Anyway, someone started a pillow fight. I finished it. Smashed up the entire room with a pillow.
Kyle: He was going for lighting fixtures, the coffee table… people had left ages ago because he was dangerous!
Dan, returns from retrieving the hot sauce: Apparently this is the second hottest hot sauce in the world. We went to Harvey Nichols to try and find it. (He then spies my maroon Converse) Ah nice shoes! (Then pointing back to his hot sauce) Anyone up for it?
Woody: Absolutely not.
Kyle: Naaaaahh. (To me) Smell it, smell the fella.
I can almost smell the flames.
Dan: And the pain. I already can’t feel my tongue. My mouth is literally numb.
Kyle: You gotta try some. Just dip a little bit of bread in it.
But I’m really weak when it comes to hot stuff.
Kyle (To Dan, who’s attempting to down a bottle of water): No, not water!
You need milk, that’s what’s best for it!
Kyle: MILKKKK! (To Will, who’s putting a minuscule dot of hot sauce on bread): No no no no no, a little bit more.
Will: But I don’t even wanna do that! (There’s a pause – Will’s eyes widen and his mouth starts to contort) Dude, that’s too much. *Everyone laughs* Why would anyone make that?!
Kyle (to me): Want some?
No, obviously not! What’s it called? ‘Beyond Insanity’. Sounds disgusting.
Will: It’s basically poison.
Once the hot sauce situation has cooled down (geddit) the interview resumes, and we move on to rock n roll antics, and generally illegal actions.
I heard Kyle snuck into Glastonbury.
You cheeky thing.
Kyle: Nice right.
That’s quite impressive, how did you manage it?
Woody: Cunning and stealth.
Kyle: You find yourself a nice big old sofa. You cram yourself right inside it…
Kyle: And then, you get driven in a van and when you get to the gates they do a search, but they don’t think to look inside the sofa!
You were actually in a sofa.
Kyle: I was in a sofa, with a guy I’ve never met before. He was in there as well.
That’s ridiculous. Can anyone top that?
Obviously not then!
Our attention then turns to Sam Smith who I’d seen just before the interview, and who I wrote about here. Dan describes his voice ‘literally perfect’. What’s more, is he reveals that Sam Smith will be supporting them on their ‘Bad Blood Returns’ tour in October and November, which, according to Dan, sold out in 22 hours.
Have you given yourself a pat on the back?
Kyle: hang on a minute… (He then reaches to his back, patting it) Yes, yes I did!
What do you actually do to celebrate when stuff like that happens?
Dan: We were trying to organise a party in August, because we haven’t really done anything to celebrate yet.
Will: I got the world’s greatest tattoo.
I took the piss out of your spider one enough last time…
Kyle: Oh honestly, now you’ve got worse. We were playing SXSW, the week the album came out so we just went and got a tattoo of the album title on his arm…
Dan: I’m proud of him for that.
Yeah, I am as well actually.
Dan: This hot sauce has really fucked me up.
And what’s been your favourite moment at a festival?
Kyle: Glastonbury. Only after it just happened. Before then… Reading was a massive milestone for us, a massive turning point.
Will: Glastonbury is just like…
Well, it’s the festival, isn’t it.
Will: Yeah, if you’re in a band, that’s the one you want to play at.
And you were on the John Peel stage, that’s insane.
Kyle: Yeah, and everyone’s been saying since then that we got the biggest crowd… I thought they meant the biggest crowd John Peel stage has seen this year, but apparently it was the biggest crowd it’s ever seen.
Woody: And they came very close to stopping our gig because everyone was trying to crush in. They said the whole thing was going to collapse!
Will: I think it would have been the greatest thing in the world if we’d all be killed on that stage.
Kyle: We’d live forever from that. But then I’d think ‘shit, I’m dead, I’m 25 and out. Sweet’.
Will: 25? You’re lucky!
After this, Matt Corby starts playing on the stage just next to the tour bus – to which we all get suddenly very excited. We rush out of the bus, walk round the backstage area and straight to the main arena. I sit down with Will, and we talk about Swiss Lips party at the Union where we laughed about how drunk we both were. I ask him about the next album, to which he tells me it is going to have a lot more guitars in it, and more involvement of all the band members. Songs have already been written, but the next album is going to be a lot more alternative – watch this space.
Though I was working, I managed to catch Bastille’s set which, like always, captured the crowd completely. Wishing Woody a happy birthday on stage and ending with a firework display, the Bastille boys then moved to the Bubble Bus where Kyle did a wicked DJ set. These boys ain’t goin’ nowhere.
– Jessica Dawson
Special thanks to Dan Smith for giving me the interview – love ya – and to Sam Gupta for letting me use more of his great photos.