Why the name BASTILLE?
I was born on Bastille day. My friend suggested it, and I’d spent ages trying to think of a band name so I went with it. Now I’ve grown to really like it.
How exactly does the songwriting process go for you, and how long does it take before you get exactly what you want?
When I think of things I try to record them before I can forget them. It often involves me, in public, trying to sing into my phone – hoping that no one will notice – and probably looking completely mental. After that I either write at the piano or straight into my computer. Songs sometimes seem to come together straight away, and sometimes I keep working at them over a longer period of time. More and more these days I work on the production of a track while I’m writing it.
Which artist has influenced you the most, and who’s music do you think that yours is most similar to?
That’s difficult, I’ve got no idea. When I started writing songs I really liked Regina Spektor’s songwriting, but I wouldn’t say that what I’m doing now is anywhere near to that. When I wrote some of these songs I guess I’d been listening to the production of a lot of New York bands like Grizzly Bear and Vampire Weekend. Then again I’m probably quite influenced by older singer songwriters like Elton John. Sorry, what a rubbish answer.
We can’t quite work out how to categorise you. Here you are creating great original and new pop songs, but also creating awesome, more electronic remixes. What do you prefer and why?
I’m glad you like the remix. I definitely prefer writing and making my own music though. Doing remixes is fun, but it’s only really something that has come up more recently. I guess it allows us to explore more sounds and production elements that I wouldn’t necessarily want to use on a Bastille track.
Laura Palmer and Icarus are great songs that involve stories that people already knew. Is this a theme we can expect in the future?
Not all of my songs rip off other people’s stories…I hope. But when I’m writing I sometimes find it easier to talk about things via a story or reference that people already know.
What does the air of mystery add to your image? People love your music, so why not bask in it?
I never really intended to create an air of mystery, I was just keen to put some songs online and see what kind of a reaction they got. I wanted to keep things visually uncomplicated.
How important is the support of friends and family as a musician?
If I’m ever lucky enough to have music as a proper job then I’m sure it’ll be very important. At the moment, all my friends and family and very supportive which is awesome.
How early have you been into music? Was it since you were born, or a more recent development?
I started learning the piano when I was a little kid, but only stated trying to write songs when I was a teenager. I never really wanted to be a musician until a few years ago really.
There have been a couple of covers of some of your songs floating around YouTube. How does that feel? And which is your favourite?
The first time I heard a cover of one of my songs I nearly fell of my chair. It was such a surreal experience hearing someone I’ve never met, miles and miles away, singing something that I wrote in my bedroom. I’ve got quite a few favourites, but the rooftop Trombone version of Flaws is amazing.
Do you enjoy performing live?
I’m really enjoying playing live, especially as we play more and more and build up some experience. We just did a tour with 4 other bands called The River Rat Pack Tour. We all lived together on a boat for 8 days and travelled up the Thames, playing in a different town each night. It was brilliant.
If your house was burning down, and you could only grab one item, what would it be?
My computer? That’s a massively boring answer isn’t it, but it does have everything I’ve ever written on it. Maybe a hosepipe would be more useful.
Where do you see BASTILLE being in 5 years and where do you want to be in 5 years?
Hopefully I’ll be able to make a bunch of albums that people like, and then tour them around the world. But who knows. For the time being I think it would just be great to make a living doing music.