Five years ago, a 25-year-old South Londoner sat and created songs in his bedroom, and then added three members to join him as a band. They created two cleverly, twisted mixtapes featuring only covers, which Dan Smith (lead singer), Chris Wood (drums), Will Farquarson (guitar) and Kyle Simmons (keyboards) became Bastille.
Bastille hit the scene of music with their mixtapes “Other People’s Heartache Part I, II” which featured an array of only covers and mashups, but the twist of instrumental and vocal shifts they would embed would separate the band from the label of “just another band posting covers.”
In 2013, Bastille released their debut album “Bad Blood,” selling over 4 million copies to date, the opening track “Pompeii” catapulted them to unexpected fame worldwide.
With now two Grammy nominations, a best-selling album, multiple hit singles, and record number of sold-out shows, their long-awaited sophomore album “Wild World” out today, was the topic of discussion.
The 14-(19 on the deluxe edition) track album was almost a three-year project.
The process of this album was kinda ongoing from the very beginning, it meant there wasn’t that huge first barrier ‘right we need to start this now,’” Smith said. “We just kept writing after the first album came out, and we didn’t want that process to stop, so there’s a couple of songs on this album that date back a couple of years.”
For them, “Wild World” became an anchor through all “the mad unexpected success” given the past few years.
Fans were sent into a frenzy this time last year, as the band shared a track “Hangin’” on social media, expecting more teasers for a new album, the band let it go.
“The track was for the fans, scratching the edge on what’s yet to come,” Wood explained.
But why now and not then?
“We put ‘Hangin’ out just because we made so much music for this album and we were just excited, we were three-quarters of the way making the album,” Smith said. “It really just came from us, before the year was out, [we wanted] to make sure that we put something from this new album out there.”
Six continents in the books, pocketing close to 500 shows, playing tracks from an album released two years prior; Bastille felt they needed to rejoice at the end of last year and self-edit, frame everything together, “go back to stability and normality for a moment.”
Traveling around the world has influenced the entirety of “Wild World,” lyrically and instrumentally. The album also represents as a map for the band, as each track paints the picture of that special moment and place where it was penned and created.
For example, the track “Four Walls,” which was inspired by one of Smith’s favorite novels “In Cold Blood” the guitar solo was recorded in Germany on a tour bus, park outside the venue in 2014. “Snakes” and “Winter of Youth,” both were born in a little studio Bastille rented when in Buenos Aires, Brazil for the Lollapalooza Festival.
“As a band it’s nice to almost look back at the record and thread back through,” Smith said.
Bastille released the first lead single off the album, “Good Grief,” in June. The track still holds true to any Bastille song, but it starts off differently, opening a quote from the sci-fi movie “Weird Science.”
“We felt would be really good to open the album with, it’s light hearted and a nudge towards how long it’s taken to get this album out,” the 30-year-old frontman said.
Every track in “Wild World” the band embeds cinematic quotes, which comes as a shift from the days of including covers or mashups.
“There’s just something interesting for me about setting dialogue and quotes to music and about, it’s sorta what we did back with the mixtapes, about taking things that exist in culture and reframing and re- contextualizing them and turning them into something else entirely” he said.
The album features notable dialogue, which gets listeners to think and question contextually. Smith joyously exclaimed he loves to hear stories of fans discovering new things when listening to their songs, for example many fans were introduced the show “Twin Peaks” with the 2013 track “Laura Palmer.”
“I hope with our album that there’s a quite a lot to unpack and little things to discover. We’re just massive fans of music and film and I think the big part is that you want to eulogize about the stuff you love, and you want other people to share that experience,” Smith said. “We are in a lucky position where some people will listen to what we say and find something interesting to them.”
Besides the release of “Wild World,” Bastille will debut a 45-minute documentary Sept. 14 titled “Help Me Chase These Seconds.”
They teamed up with their on-the-road, since “day zero” videographer, Tom Middleton, for this special project. Without realizing once known as just footage, it became an idea to peek through the world of Bastille.
“He basically saw us literally from the bottom and what we’ve become. There’s so much footage, from such as the sh*****t pub, playing to no one, and it would be shame to have this stuff and sit on it,” Simmons said.
“For anyone that gives a f–k, it’s probably quite interesting insight what life is like with us. So hard to boil down three years in 45 minutes, but Tom cleverly shows for us how mad it is to playing tiny pubs and suddenly being on like Ellen and the Grammys,” Smith said. “Also it’s about trying to make an album while on the road and the pressures of that. Shows the challenges of being nervous about it, and just having fun.”
But what’s going through the minds of the four Londoners who never even expected making it to a second album?
“We’ve played all these songs in rehearsals loads as well, and it’s songs we’re really fond of playing. So I’m excited to just get it out in the world. It’s felt like the longest Christmas Eve ever, it’s always been ‘album coming soon,’ and soon is finally now” Wood said.
“It hasn’t seem that real, and just Tuesday, we were each given the first hardcopy, and I suddenly became overwhelmingly excited, which for me is quite mellow, I’m not the most excited,” Farquarson said. “It’s quite a milestone to get to your second album, a lot of bands don’t get the opportunity to even release a first one after getting signed, so having two albums out is surreal.”
Coming from a whirlwind time of a record selling debut album, a sophomore album can be a tough act to sell. “Wild World” executes everything needed to be a success, it resonates lyrically and instrumentally from eclectic strings, guitar riffs, and just all around mesmerizing vocals.
I had a chance to ask Bastille three rapid fire questions…
Q: If you could describe “Wild World in one word what would it be?
Kyle: I don’t know. Nice.
Q: If you could choose the next single off the album, which would it be?
Dan: Send them off!
Kyle: Fake It, even though it’s already been taken, I would still choose it.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why?
Dan: Frank Ocean, because amazing.
Woody: Damian Marley.
Will: Daniel Craig.
Kyle: Kanye, just to see, just to look.
Will: He’ll do the video for Famous, but with you, and Daniel Craig.
Wild World is now available worldwide.