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Monday, 8 April 2013

SnapCacklePop Interview - Bastille

When Bastille was in town recently, we had the chance to catch up with brainchild and lead singer/songwriter Dan Smith. Their debut album Bad Blood entered the UK album charts straight at No.1,  which is very impressive for a debut. We chat to the handsome man about the new album, his musical influences, performing at SXSW music festival, his obsession with David Lynch which celebrity face he would love to lick and much more...

Hey Dan Smith, welcome to SnapCacklePop 
Hi, thanks for having me. 

Firstly congrats on your debut album Bad Blood, its been a long time in the making, it is a relief to finally have it out their in the pop world? 
Yeah it is. Between the album, the mix tapes and our EPs, everything we've ever recorded is now out there, so I guess it's quite a nice feeling to not be holding anything back anymore. 

Well it made No.#1 in the UK on its first week’s release, that quite impressive, how you feeling? 
We've tried to not think about it too much, as weird as that sounds. It's a bit mental and definitely wasn't something we were expecting to happen. 

We have been discussing your style of pop at the SCP HQ and can only call it’s a blend of indie-electro pop with R&B soul, however do not think we have nailed it. How do you describe your sound?
I'm rubbish at describing it, but I think you covered quite a few bases there. In the least pretentious way, we weren't trying to make music in a specific genre and wanted to try different things from song to song. If I was forced I'd probably call it Cinematic (hopefully) credible pop music…? Nah, that sounds awful. 

What bands or singers have had the greatest impact and influence on your music?
Loads of people. From the music my parents played when we were kids, like Simon & Garfunkle and The Beach Boys, though to hip hop that my sister played me growing up like The Fugees, to all sorts of pop and indie bands. When I started writing songs for the band I was listening to loads of Brooklyn bands like Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear. But also loads of film soundtracks and electronic music as well. 

So tell us a bit about your album? and the name behind it?
I wanted it to sound bold and like an old cult film or something. But it also reflects some of the themes of the stories in the songs. 

When was the last time there was Bad Blood between you and someone?
Oooh, good question. There's pretty constant childlike squabbling between me and Woody our drummer. 

How do you seek inspiration for the songs, as we notice personal references to your childhood references to Greek mythology and Twin Peak. Please discuss.
I just try to write about things that I find interesting. I don't find myself particularly interesting, so a lot of the songs are imagined conversations or bits of stories. Often a good starting point is something I've recently watched or read, trying to write a song in response to them, or using them to try and articulate something I've been thinking about. Hope that makes sense. 

What are your favorite tracks on the album?
We all really like "Bad Blood" because it's loads of fun to play live. 

You first started Bastille as a solo project then you now have 'Woody', Will and Kyle along for the ride, was the a conscious decision or did you just fancy having your mates on tour with you?
I always felt a bit awkward about it being a solo thing and I'd always wanted it to be a band. It just happens to be an awesome byproduct that we get to tour together as mates. 

You have been performing at SXSW over the last few weeks, how has that been?
It's been good. It was our first trip to America as a band and we were just happy that people came along to our gigs. We loved Texas, and ate pulled Pork and BBQ solidly for a week. 

How have the American’s taken to your sound?
I have no idea. The people at the gigs seemed to like what they heard (I think). We should be heading back to the US a few times this year, so hopefully we'll get a better sense of Americans think we're any good or not. 

Did you get to meet David Lynch and tell him about your song Laura Palmer? 
Nah. I'm a massive fan of David Lynch so it's probably best that I never, ever meet him. I have no idea what I'd do or say, and I'm not in a massive rush to find out. It'd probably be awful. 

Why the fascination with Twin Peaks? 
I loved watching it and it really grabbed me. I love how bizarre and unpredictable it is. It's both really dated, and really relevant I think. Also, I love the idea of the main character being dead from the off, and how the series is in some ways just about her life being unpicked and all of here secrets being slowly revealed. 

Now you are gaining more success & media attention, is it what you expected when entering into the music world?
I don't think we really had many expectations. We're pretty pessimistic and in our heads we'll be working in McDonald's this time next year. We feel pretty lucky to be doing this as our job at the moment. 

What’s the craziest thing that has happened on tour?
Will drunkenly got our album title tattooed under his arm in texas. A real, bonafied, living cliche right there. We also accepted a lift in a pick up truck with a paralytically drunk war veteran in Texas. We'd been waiting for 2 hours with all our instruments by the side of a road after a gig at SXSW. We had too much gear to carry, and it was 3 in the morning and we were pretty desperate. This guy offered us a ride, so we took it. But we didn't realise till we'd put all our stuff in the back of the truck and got in the front that his windscreen was shattered and he was off his face. When he dropped us off he tried to impress us with a burn out. 

When should we expect you to come visit us in Australia?
Hopefully for a quick trip at some point this year. I guess it depends if anyone wants us to visit. 

We hear you are a squash player, we wish to throw down a challenge to take on SCP at squash when you Oz? 
(Game ON!)
I'm rubbish at squash but I love it and would definitely take you up on the challenge. 

So what is planned for the rest of 2013?
I'm hoping to record another album and make another mixtape. We've also got loads and loads of festivals booked this summer which should be fun. 

Lastly we would like to end with our 5 SCP top silly questions this week?

That’s some crazy hair you have, discuss?
I definitely care about it a lot less than people would probably assume. Part of me likes to think I look like Eraserhead, but I probably just look like I've electrocuted myself.

Whose celebrity face would you love to lick?
Rihanna. 

Which superpower would you love and why?
We talked about this the other day and I think I concluded flying. Because I'm lazy. 

Which of the seven dwarf best represents you?
Dopey. 

Who would you turn gay for?
The general consensus is The Gosler AKA Ryan Gosling. 

Thanks Mr. Smith, we are loving your debut album, good luck with your world domination and please remember us when you are rich and famous!

(Oh, and we are totally serious about that squash game! GAME ON!)

Bad Blood is available on iTunes now, read our review now..!

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