Give Me The Future, implores the title of the new album by London electronic pop types Bastille. Their immediate future includes a show at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena; in the recent past of frontman Dan Smith, a natter with Buzz’s Carl Marsh.
With a new album and a new tour, I bet it’s good to be back performing again as Bastille?
Dan Smith: Yeah, we are getting the setlist together and all the production and the visuals organised. It will be a really fun, distracting, escapist night for everybody. To just stand on the world of the album, basically.
After a couple of years of feeling so detached and disconnected from most things in life, we’re just really excited to have Give Me The Future out there in the world finally. People seem to be reacting well to it, and it was really exciting to get number one, obviously. So many of the things that we talk about on the album are a lot like the conversations we’ve all been having over the last couple of years. It’s quite a cathartic album to release: it’s cynical, but I think it’s quite hopeful as well.
Ultimately it’s been, for us, a fantastic thing to be able to make in quite isolated times – we’ve been able to collaborate so much, with new people and people we know really well.
The new album seems to be about escapism – can we assume it was written during the upheaval of the last two years?
Dan Smith: It’s actually been a long time in the making: we started it just before the first lockdown. It was an album all about escapism, and as lockdowns progressed, we kept working on it in various forms of isolation.
APPLICATIONS for spring term 22 are now Closed: If you’re 18-30, live in Wales, and want to get ahead in the creative and cultural industries, express your interest for autumn term.
When it was legal, we’d get together and do stuff – even though it started life beforehand, it was a real lockdown project in many ways. Woody [Chris Wood, drums] set up a little shack at home in his garden to record in. Kyle [Simmons, keyboards] was piling duvets over his microphone stand to try and create a vocal booth. We were having meetings and calls over Zoom, and I was writing songs with people in other countries over Zoom at nighttime. It was a real mix.
Then when it was legal, we’d all get in the studio, and get our friends to come in and play strings and brass and all the different instruments on the album. There’s also Riz Ahmed’s track [Promises] on the record – he was in LA, so we did that whole thing over the internet.
The only Bastille member you’ve not mentioned is bassist Will Farquarson.
Dan Smith: Yeah, well, Will had to learn how to record himself. He’s an amazing musician, but he does not care about home recording [laughs]. So he had to do a crash course in that. Everybody had to. Charlie Barnes [multi-instrumental member of Bastille’s touring lineup] has a little shed, and he lives in the Midlands. He was doing guitars in there. It was a real hodgepodge.
But then there was a point where we could all be together rehearsing in London at our studio, and that day a bunch of our touring crew were there. Obviously, they and the entire live industry had had such a rough time, particularly that first year of just not being able to do their jobs at all. So, with everyone in the same space, our producer Mark Crew said, “wow – let’s get everyone to sing on [album track] Shut Off The Lights. It needs to be a gang vocal. Let’s get all the guys, all the crew, to sing on it.” So that was a really lovely moment for us all, having not seen each other that much.
Bastille, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Wed 13 Apr. Tickets: £35. Info: here
words CARL MARSH
Events are Back!
If you’re running or promoting events in Wales, list them here for FREE.