Bastille returns to Hong Kong, older and wiser, and looking past Bad Blood

Bastille returns to Hong Kong, older and wiser, and looking past Bad Blood

The band reunites with Leon Lee to talk about how much their lives have changed since they first played Hong Kong at Clockenflap in 2012

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The boys in Bastille: (from left) Kyle Simmons, Chris 'Woody' Wood, Will Farquarson and Dan Smith.
The boys in Bastille: (from left) Kyle Simmons, Chris 'Woody' Wood, Will Farquarson and Dan Smith.
Photo: Universal Music

Rewind back to 2012, when Young Post sat down with the up-and-coming band, Bastille, they were set to play at Clockenflap, their first-ever gig outside their native Britain.

Lead singer Dan Smith did most of the talking, with the other three members occasionally jumping in with a quick comment here and there. They hadn’t officially released an album yet. Heck, the band didn’t even have any official publicity photos together.

Fast forward to 2015 and the band is back in Hong Kong, headlining their own show as part of their Asia tour. This time around, the guys seem more comfortable during the interview, joking around and having more banter between one another.

Looking back at the first time in the city, Smith reflects: “That was one of our first festival experiences outside the UK and we were so naive. At the time, we were like, ‘Oh my God, we’re somewhere outside of England!’.”

A lot has changed for Bastille since Clockenflap. Their debut album Bad Blood was released in March 2013 in Britain and has gone on to sell more than seven million copies worldwide. It won them four nominations at the 2014 Brit Awards, where they took home the prize for British Breakthrough Act.

“When we were here, we didn’t really know what the album was going to do. We didn’t really think it would really enter into as much mainstream space as it has, which is good in a lot of ways.” Smith says. “It wasn’t what we expected but it’s mainly because we didn’t know what to expect.”

After months and months of touring, the group finally found some time in September to go into the studio to work on their follow-up record. However after only nine days, they had to stop for a two-month tour of the United States.

“It was a wicked tour but I think our album would definitely have been finished if we weren’t so busy touring,” Smith reveals.

The band is looking forward to next month’s Grammy awards, where they’ve been nominated for Best New Artist. But everyone agreed that the main focus for 2015 is getting the second album done.

One of the key differences between the first and second album is that the band will working on it together in the studio.

“The first album was so pieced together. We were rehearsing and touring and popping in and out of the studio so we never really got the opportunity to go in together,” Smith says.

Drummer Chris Wood mentions that for Bad Blood, some of them still had day jobs, as they didn’t have a record deal yet.

In our 2012 interview, a humble Smith mentions that if the band was lucky enough to make a second album, they wouldn’t want to sit within a genre. And it seems they have stuck true to their words. He describes the songs on the new album as “a lot darker and rock-ier on some of them”, “some sort of R&B stuff” and “quite a lot of electronics”. One even sounds a bit like Daft Punk when it kicks in.

Despite the risk of the record sounding like a mish-mash of styles, they’re not one bit worried about it.

“I’m not drawing any comparisons, but if you look at some of the greatest records like the Beatles, they have songs written by different people and sonically they’re all over the place. But if the songs are good, it really doesn’t matter that much,” Smith says.

“A lot of pop records, they are all over the place. But it’s the pop person that holds it together. With us, hopefully we will have the courage to do that and just be like, ‘we’re Bastille, whatever we put out is us’.”

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bastille is back, older and wiser

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