“I could be working at McDonald’s this time next year” says Dan Smith brainchild and massive talent behind the young new-age-synth-indie London based band Bastille, (named after the day he was born, July 14th – Bastille Day). He is genuinely floored by his band’s chart success. When their debut album Bad Blood was released in the UK a couple of months back, it reached Number 1, fast. “I don’t think anybody, least of all us, expected that, we were totally blown away by it, and we’re massively overwhelmed.” Smith said in an interview with NME.
He didn’t like the solo life much so just 2 years ago, at the age of 23, he put a band together. Bastille.
Ok so people like him/them. 21.5 million views of this song alone on YouTube? I’d say that’s love. But…why? Is it his anti-rock star sentiment that if he were to write songs about himself or his own experiences others couldn’t possibly be interested? Perhaps. Instead he writes about distinctive subjects, telling a story, refreshing the past. Hence “Pompeii” in which ash-smothered corpses exist. Famous stories happen, then he adds his twist, as in Pompeii…just imagine a conversation between 2 dead ashy corpses (the women at the arcade in this stirring video for example) and them talking about their city and daily life. Ok I admit, yeah, that IS interesting.
Or is it their undeniable sound? The use of keyboards, bass, drums…and what? NO guitar? The riff-less Pompeii can still be felt and heard on Alt rock radio like my station here in Boston, Radio 92.9, because its…alternative! That’s why I love this format, wrap it up nicely an neatly with no bow or definition and you can play it here. Because that’s really the true definition of Alternative, isn’t it?
I digress, Bastille…no guitar but still the sound is big, full, infectious. Dan’s lyrics: thoughtful, leaving us in wonder. And the tempo: UP, soul churning, feel it in your chest, despite his often grim subject matter. And finally, what I adore and can’t ignore is the difference in his indifference to himself and to his success. Bastille took to the road for a grand tour before Bad Blood, their debut, was even released, thanks to a few singles that you may have experienced on this very internet.
If not, then let me introduce to you…Bastille. There’s plenty of room still on this band wagon. But don’t let the certain prediction of the massive audiences they will be entertaining frighten you away, there is still such a sense of intimacy thanks to Dan Smith’s beautifully executed and perfectly sung lyrics.
Proof that he is simply over qualified for McDonald’s.