with support from Grizfolk
The word Bastille brings to mind revolution, change and the storming of the old by the spirit of the new. When London-based singer/songwriter Dan Smith called his band Bastille, he was merely thinking of his birthday, July 14, France's Bastille Day. But for the biggest selling new British act of the last year, with hindsight Smith's choice seems an ominously apt metaphor for their dramatic impact.
The omens that Bastille would make an indelibly huge mark were there long before their March 2013 debut album "Bad Blood" entered the UK charts at number one. Formed by Smith after recruiting keyboard player Kyle Simmons, bassist Will Farquarson and drummer Chris 'Woody' Wood, while they only pressed 300 copies of their 2011 independent debut single 'Flaws,' its accompanying video, edited by Smith using clips from Terrence Malick's 1973 cult classic "Badlands," scored half a million hits on YouTube. Signed by Virgin Records and tipped by a vociferous network of discerning bloggers, after three singles they were selling-out their first headline UK tour before their album was even released. "It's weird because we never discussed any big ambitions," says Smith. "With that tour, when we sold out two nights at Shepherd's Bush Empire we thought, 'Wow! This is brilliant!' I don't think we ever imagined it getting any bigger than that."
But it did. Infectious fourth single, the anthemic 'Pompeii,' charted at number two. It went on to become the second most streamed track of 2013, just behind Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky,' and so far holds the record as the song to spend the most number of weeks at number one on the Official Streaming Chart... not to mention the most successful song to tackle the niche subject of death by volcanic ash inhalation in the annals of pop.
The album, "Bad Blood," followed, smashing in at number one and quickly achieving platinum status in the UK. The most downloaded album of 2013, and the second most-streamed, it's since sold over 2 million copies worldwide. So Bastille shouldn't really have been surprised at last year's Glastonbury Festival when they drew the largest ever recorded crowd in the history of its John Peel Stage. "You can be told all these sales statistics but they're all abstract," says Smith. "It's only when you play live that you feel it, seeing that reaction among our audience. Those are the proper markers of success. Glastonbury was truly incredible."