When I first discovered a little band called Bastille in 2013 I immediately felt as if they were one of indie pop’s best kept secrets. Having just released their single “Pompeii”(which several months thereafter catapulted them onto the mainstream Top 40) I knew the best was only yet to come. Since then, Bastille has continued to be my favorite band that I can always rely on.
Bastille(sometimes stylized as BΔSTILLE), is a British indie rock/pop group comprised of Dan Smith(the lead vocalist), Kyle Simmons(keyboardist), Will Farquarson(bassist), and Chris Wood(drummer). The band was named after the French national celebration of Bastille Day, which falls on Dan Smith’s birthday. He and Kyle Simmons initially formed the group as an experimental two-piece, posting numerous covers and demos online. After the additions of Simmons and Farquarson, the group released some music independently before being signed to Virgin Records.
In March of 2013, the group released their debut album, “Bad Blood,” and seven months later re-released it as “All This Bad Blood” with 13 additional songs. This is the album that ultimately solidified my interest. As a whole, it’s super diverse in it’s sounds and melodies and is entirely the type of music I enjoy listening to most. My favorite track is found on Disc 2, and is actually the only song on the album that isn’t an original. It’s a mash-up and cover of Corona’s 1993 dance hit “Rhythm of the Night” and German Eurodance group Snap!’s “Rhythm Is a Dancer.” In theory, the concept may sound strange, but put together, Bastille manages to make the song sound entirely their own.
On the topic of “strange” covers and mashups, in my opinion, it’s one of the group’s specialities. In September of 2013, Bastille performed a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. They managed to remix the song with Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achey Breaky Heart,” adding a comedic element to the entire performance while still sounding awesome. You can also hear samples from songs such as Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and even The Lion King’s “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King.” In theory it would sound ridiculous, but Bastille are just the right kind of quirky to make it work.
In October 2014, I had the privilege of seeing Bastille for the first time at Radio City Music Hall and it was one of my favorite concerts I’ve ever been to. Dan Smith is seriously one of the most satisfying performers to see live, always switching up from the original stylizations of the group’s songs and feeding off the energy of the crowd, walking back and forth and interacting as much as possible with the concert-goers. That had been one of their first big gigs, and all their other trips to New York had been played in tiny, intimate venues. I first got into the band when i was 15 and I couldn’t go to their 18+ shows held in bars. I always felt like I missed out on a part of their “story” so to speak because of that, but I’ve moved on. I have tickets to their show next month, March 2017, which is being held in the enormous Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It’s really amazing to see how they’ve progressed.
What has the group been up to most recently? They released an album entitled “Wild World,” and it is most definitely one of their best yet. In the 14 tracks, they channeled rock, synth-pop, and alternative sounds to an extent they hadn’t before. Their sound really changed from the more mellow tones found in “All This Bad Blood,” and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future. To end this blog post, I leave you with my favorite track from “Wild World.”