Bastille Talk Australian Tour, Crushing On Rihanna & Second Album Progress
Written by Tara Clifford on 21st March, 2014
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After speaking with Kyle Simmons, one quarter of UK rock band Bastille, it’s hard to believe that the life of a rock star is not all fun and games. Having just played in Antwerp, Belgium’s second biggest city, the multi-instrumentalist took a break between post-show bevies to chat with us about the band’s rapid rise to success.
Originally conceived as a solo project for lead singer Dan Smith, soon Will Farquarson, Chris Wood and Simmons joined forces to form what we now know as Bastille. Initially winning fans over by sharing music online, their debut studio album Bad Blood was only released back in March 2013.
Fast-forward less than a year and travelling to a new city or different country every second day is now the norm. Still on a high after playing an 8,000-capacity arena in front of what Simmons describes as a “massive crowd”, the band are enjoying all the experiences that come with worldwide fame.
“We are always put in really amazing situations where you are just with a bunch of really cool people and you’re always in really cool places and there’s always brand new bars and brand new people to meet,” he says. “At the end of the day we are just a bunch of guys travelling the world.”
A bunch of guys who just so happened to receive the public voted Brit Award for best Breakthrough Act. Bastille won the award in a vote by listeners, triumphing over the likes of Disclosure and London Grammar. “That was amazing, it was so unexpected, so unexpected. We were put in categories with some really amazing people as well who we all really like,” says Simmons.
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Currently finishing up a mammoth tour of Europe, the group will head to the States and Canada for a huge run of 26 shows before performing at Parklife in the UK and then heading Down Under for an Australian headline tour in June, supported by Foxes and Alison Wonderland.
Last time Bastille came to Australia, their shows in Melbourne and Sydney sold out in less than 24 hours. This time around fans can expect a big advancement in production and lighting, as well as new songs and covers from their mix tape added to the set. “Just generally a whole step up on all fronts and we are just excited that we’re coming as well,” says Simmons.
He also hopes to play an Aussie festival although nothing for Bastille has yet been confirmed. “The whole festival thing is just a big massive kind of blur at the minute, I don’t know what’s going on. But hopefully, it’d be great to come over and play some Australian festivals, that’d be cool.”
The boys have had to rapidly acclimate themselves to life on the road — “rest” clearly isn’t a word that exists in the Bastille vocabulary. “We are sort of used to it now, you know, like, touring and not being home as much and like traveling around loads, it’s cool. We are with a really great crew and our support acts are always really cool so it’s like a massive group of friends just travelling around,” says Simmons.
But despite successfully adjusting to this way of life, they know it isn’t something to be taken lightly. “You know obviously it’s so weird, its so unbelievable that we got to this point and that we’re sort of travelling the world and doing all this stuff, I don’t think I’ll ever properly get to grips with it.”
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With this in mind, Bastille understands that success can come and go just as quickly so it is important to stay grounded. “I think we all very much try to keep a level head, we realise how fickle the industry is. It won’t last forever and we’re unsure how long it will last so we’re just trying to enjoy it for as long as we can and just hopefully try to build a long enough career out of it.”
That said, it doesn’t look like Bastille are going anywhere just yet. Work is underway on their second album, though they’ve had to change production techniques to adjust to their busy schedule. “Now ‘cause we’re so busy we are getting Mark [Crew], who produced the album with Dan on the first album, he’s coming out to meet us and we are basically just bringing loads of equipment and basically sort of writing. In sound checks we’ll run through some stuff and sort of develop parts… We’ve got about 10 songs already started.”
The process may be different but the result should be the same — the band will not compromise the final product in exchange for quick success. “We are just going to follow the same mantra, basically. We are just going to put a bunch of songs that we like and we want to listen to,” explains Simmons. “Obviously it’d be good if other people like it too but it’s very hard because we don’t want to make an album that’s generally for success”.
“We just want to make an album that we are proud of,” he continues, “And if that brings success that’d be incredible but we won’t be unhappy with it because the whole point of us putting it together is so that we’re happy.”
Before heading back to join the crew for a beer, Simmons sparks up at the idea of performing with Rhianna. “Who doesn’t have a crush on Rihanna?” he quips. “One day we shall meet and create some beautiful music and become the best of friends because Will is incredibly in love with her.”