Maxim Meyer-Horn

17 Jul
Music

Bastille: “We Had a Very Interesting Time with the Press in the Beginning”

The British quartet Bastille is currently one of the biggest pop bands of Europe and just released their new album Doom Days. The band has been around for nearly ten years and against all odds, they became even bigger and better with time. After an intense arena tour, they presented their new live set at the Rock Werchter Festival in Belgium, where about 50.000 people celebrated their music. Before the big show, we had the honor to interview Woody and Will and feel their excitement about the new album.

Hi Will and Woody, you’re sub-headlining one of the biggest festivals of Europe today. Are you nervous about that?

Woody: I think, we’re okay. Dan and Kyle get more nervous than Will and I. It’s always a bit nerve-racking, but there’s more excitement now. We’ve done a few gigs and we’re quite comfortable playing now.

Will: I get a little hesitant when playing the new songs, ’cause they’re not completely in my memory yet and have to think a lot what I’m doing. I give it a couple months and I’ll definitely be there.

Doom Days is indeed still very fresh. Is the album what you expected it to be?

Will: I mean, we definitely set effort to sound a little more concise than on the previous ones.

Woody: We tried to move things on musically, because the last album was much more “bandier” and guitar-infused. This time, we wanted to do something which was inspired by ’90s rave music, but with an interesting narrative.

Will: Yeah, I think, it wasn’t really what our fans were expecting, but we really wanted to make it.

The album is built around escapism. Where does the idea come from? Was it maybe a special moment in your life?

Will: It’s partially a response to the last album, which was looking quite head on at the impact of news media. We spend two and a half years touring around the world with amongst other a fake news broadcaster behind us and played fake news. As much as for ourselves, we kind of realized that people come to a festival or a gig in a state of daydreaming rather than be constantly reminded of it. We felt a change in direction was essential, I guess.

Woody: I think people have a habit where they think politics aren’t the fairs of the real life and we want to help them escape from it. It’s hence just more realizing that there’s more to life and the things we talk about in our songs are actually very important to us. Escapism makes it seem that you’re also ignoring something very important and that’s what we wanted to tell on this album. We’re talking about very different relationships, which are just part of the entity of our life.

You have a lot of fans that are truly inspired the messages of your songs. In what way does that affect the way you’re writing the songs?

Will: After the first album came out, we realized that once you put a song out, it’s not only your song anymore because it can tell someone else’s story as well. People might feel related to the narrative of our songs, but I guess we feel a sort of responsibility as well towards our listeners.

Woody: It’s quite interesting as well, because I’ve seen the David Lynch movie Mulholland Drive and I immediately felt a connection with it. I was trying to find Lynch explaining it online and I discovered he always refused to do it, which is very interesting to me. When you create art, so much is about interpretation and that’s also the craft of songwriting. You have to keep it open for people’s interpretation, ’cause that will extend the thinking behind everything.

The new album is according to a lot of people your best album musically and lyrically. Do you want to prove the critics wrong with Doom Days?

Will: Well, not in a contrived way. It’s interesting because obviously, we had a very interesting time with the press in the beginning. That actually went away, because we’re now around for ten years. So, by doing what we love, we proved that what they said was wrong. When we write, we never start with the thoughts that we want to write a hit, we just try to make music that we like and Dan writes the lyrics. He always tries to tell something interesting because he’s relentlessly self-deprecating. I think that’s also why he’s doing the narrative part of our music.

 

Next year, you’re celebrating your 10thanniversary. Are you already planning something for it?

Woody: Maybe a day off (laughs).

Will: We did actually have some ideas. We’re talking about the anniversary of our first proper gig, which was 2011, so maybe we’re doing something around that, but the band formed indeed in 2010.

Woody: The first gigs we did were not under the name Bastille, but the first gig under the name Bastille was the show where I met my fiancée. She came to our first gig, so that’s exactly as old as the band.

Will: So you better book a table for this special anniversary!

What’s your favorite restaurant? Maybe we can indeed book something…

Woody: My favorite restaurant is this place called McDonalds. Sometimes, you even get the toys with the food…

We’ll arrange a table! Thank you so much for the interview and enjoy the festival!

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