Bastille: ‘We made this mad science fiction concept record’

Bastille’s Dan Smith joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the group’s new single ‘No Bad Days’ and forthcoming fourth album “Give Me The Future”, due out next February. He tells Zane about the origin of the track, discusses collaborating for the first time including with the album’s executive producer Ryan Tedder, and says he thinks it’s the group’s best work to date.

Bastille’s Dan Smith Tells Apple Music About The Origin of ‘No Bad Days’…
It’s quite a personal song and it’s just good to have it out in the world. I wrote it with some friends in 2019. I’d just been to see my aunt in Australia with my sister. We went to visit her to basically say goodbye to her. She was an amazing person. She took control over the end of her life. We were lucky enough to get to see her and came back and spent some time in the studio. This song just kind of fell out. Then as we were putting the album together, Ryan heard it in and amongst all the songs that we’ve made. He was really fixated on this tune and was like, “That’s the one. That’s the song.” I guess in the world of Bastille, there’s always maybe this expectation that our singles are going to be bombastic or have epicness to them or whatever. It was quite nice and refreshing to have someone just be like, nah, that song is just amazing. She taught everyone in our family and everyone that she knew so much. It’s amazing and profound to be able to take this thing that happens to all of us and turn it into an amazing example and an amazing lesson to all of us. I guess I felt quite strange over the last couple of years having this song that is so personal and speaks to something that is so huge in our family, but I’m really proud of the song. I’m proud of not only the content and the lyrics and everything, but the process behind making it. Getting to make this album through such a strange couple of years, it’s been such a lifeline and I love it. Musically as well, the production I love, I love the space in it, the harmony engine, messing with my vocal a bit and the piano solo. The Bruce Hornsby-esque piano solo.

Bastille’s Dan Smith Tells Apple Music About The Band’s Forthcoming New Album “Give Me The Future’”
Today and here we’re announcing our fourth album. It’s called “Give Me The Future” and it’s out at the beginning of February next year. It’s this mad science fiction concept record that’s all about our relationship with each other and with technology and different versions of the future and the past. This song is the emotional core of it, but I’m so proud of the album. It’s been such a brilliant thing to be part of and to put together. I’m just excited for people to hear it. I think it’s our best work and it’s exciting and it’s different. It’s elements of what you expect from Bastille, but it’s the first time we allowed the door to open and other people to come in and join us. We made it all during lockdown, but did some sessions over Zoom, allowed other producers to have a go. It’s been all the better for it, man. It turns out collaboration’s really fun. There’s a reason why everybody does it.

Bastille’s Dan Smith Tells Apple Music About Having Ryan Tedder Executive Produce The Album…
Then Ryan Tedder, I did some writing with him and produced a song with him on the album and he helped exec it. He was like a helicopter figure who came in quite far into the process and listened to the music and gave us some pointers. It was interesting for us letting go a little bit of control. We still ultimately made it all in our studio and finished it there, but I think just the idea of sharing the responsibility with other people was really exciting and really fun. Like I said, turns out it’s pretty fun.

Bastille’s Dan Smith Tells Apple Music About Co-Directing The Music Video For “No Bad Days”…
I also just co-directed my first ever music video for this song. Dude, it was so much fun. I’ve always been obsessed with our videos. I’ve always been that annoying artist over the shoulder of the director, like, “What are you doing there? What are you doing there? How about this? How about that?” I’ve always wanted to be a film director, but I guess I’m just too lazy. We talked about it for ages and I met this guy, James, at the Trash Factory, whos an amazing director. I had this idea for ages and wanted to do something that was about trying to use technology to bring someone back and we were able to do it. It was such an experience, learning how that world works and the limitations of it and the opportunities and, I don’t know, getting to flex the wannabe filmmaker muscle in me, man. I had the best time.

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