Bad Blood good for Brit band Bastille

Bastille members are (from far left) William Farquarson, Kyle Simmons, Dan Smith and Chris Wood. -- PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC
Bastille members are (from far left) William Farquarson, Kyle Simmons, Dan Smith and Chris Wood. -- PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC

British band Bastille's album Bad Blood topped the charts twice and they also won a Brit Award

All in all, 2014 has been a sterling year for British band Bastille.

They won Best Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards while their debut album Bad Blood, which first went to No. 1 in the British charts when it was released in March last year, made a return to the top spot again in February this year.

The London quartet's catchy mix of pop, rock and electronic elements also did well in the much larger American music market - infectious single Pompeii peaked at No. 5 in the Billboard singles charts and their tour there was sold out.

But to Kyle Simmons, who plays various instruments ranging from bass and keyboards to percussion and synthesizers, the highlight of the year happened earlier this month when it was announced that the group was up for Best New Artist at the biggest music awards show of all, the Grammys in February.

In a telephone interview ahead of the band's show here at The Coliseum on Jan 9, the 26-year-old says: "It hasn't sunk in yet. It's a bit weird, it's the sort of thing that happens to other people on the telly and it happens to bands that you like - it doesn't happen to you.

"So we're pretty blown away by the nomination."

Happy as he is, Simmons thinks that it is highly unlikely that they will triumph over the other nominees, who include heavyweights such as Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, fellow Brit singer Sam Smith and American trio Haim.

Asked to rate their chances of picking up the coveted trophy, he replies: "About zero. Being in the same category as all those incredible artists is just amazing in itself."

Modesty aside, the band saw a meteoric rise from an independently signed act to selling more than seven million records in the last four years.

Bastille is the brainchild of frontman and songwriter Daniel Smith, 28, who named his band after the French national day, which coincides with his birthday.

He later roped in Chris "Woody" Wood, 29, who plays drums, Will Farquarson, 31, who plays, among others, keyboards and acoustic guitar, and Simmons to complete the line-up.

The quartet made their debut in 2010 with the release of the two-track single, Flaws and Icarus, through independent record label Young & Lost Club.

Their subsequent releases generated an increasing buzz about the band, and earned them gigs in high-profile music festivals such as Glastonbury and Isle of Wight.

By last year, Bastille had built up such a formidable fan base, thanks to successful singles and constant gigs, that their first full-length went straight to the top of the album charts.

While the band has been constantly on tour in the past two years, they also found time to put out an EP and three mixtapes.

Their most recent was VS. (Other People's Heartache, Pt. III), released earlier this month.

Simmons says these releases are just a bridge between the first full-length album and a follow-up that they are now working on.

He adds that the band is under no pressure to repeat the success of Bad Blood, and they have no desire to repeat the same songwriting formulas that made their debut full-length so popular.

Fans can expect to hear a whole new range of sounds on their sophomore album, he says.

"There are guitars, which we didn't really have much of on the first album. There are whole new elements to our sound, but we don't feel tied down to any one genre.

"We feel free to do whatever we want and the band will genre-hop and stretch ourselves a little bit."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg