Time for Bastille to have their day

Undated Handout Photo of Bastille. See PA Feature MUSIC Bastille. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Bastille.
Undated Handout Photo of Bastille. See PA Feature MUSIC Bastille. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Bastille.

As a quiet teenager secretly writing songs in his bedroom, Dan Smith had no real intention of becoming a global star but it’s happened anyway.

And he still can’t get his head around the fact his band Bastille’s debut Bad Blood, released in March of this year promptly went to the top of the album charts.

It’s the 10th best-selling album of the year so far. An impressive stat - even more so when you consider the only artists to sell more than these unknown Londoners include household names like Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Pink and Michael Buble.

Next month, Bad Blood will be released in the US, and “loads of other places”, says their founder and reluctant frontman, Dan.

“It’s been an interesting year, definitely,” he says with typical understatement.

“People ask me what I was expecting, and I have to say I don’t really know. Maybe I’m incredibly naive, but I was just hoping we could keep touring and make a second album.”

He didn’t think Bastille’s music would be heard outside the UK, let alone beyond Europe.

As we speak, though, he’s making preparations to go to Japan for the Summer Sonic Festival, and as soon as that’s done, there are a couple of UK festivals to play, before jetting off to the US for a full tour.

“It’s mad, isn’t it?” says 26-year-old Smith, who’s still struggling to comprehend what’s about to happen.

“Going to play in a country for the first time... It’s one thing to win over a crowd when you’re playing to them, but it’s another to have them on your side before you’ve even turned up.”

He’s referring to Pompeii, the fourth single to be released from Bad Blood, and by far the most internationally successful.

“Everywhere we go people know it,” he says. “It’s so strange to think the song has got there before we have.”

Pompeii and Things We Lost In The Fire definitely have that quality, and it’s no surprise they’ve done so well around the world.

“With Pompeii, that was always going to be released around the time of the album coming out, but no one around us had any idea it was going to do as well as it has,” he explains. “At the time, I definitely didn’t think it was a hit.

“We had been playing it live for a year before it was released. Crowds liked it and it always went down well, but it wasn’t changing people’s lives, so we weren’t prepared for it to do so well.

“When I was making songs in my bedroom I was never aiming for anything specific, and none of us are particularly ambitious, so that’s why I feel so taken aback by all of this. It’s quite a strange feeling.”