Contrary to the title of their chart-topping debut album Bad Blood, all seems pretty well with Bastille.
And why not? With a 2014 Brit award win for Best Breakthrough British Act in the bag, burgeoning success stateside and a number of festival appearances to remember, it’s hardly a surprise the immensely affable chaps are beaming when Shortlist meets them back stage at London’s Scala, still dripping on the back of an energetic one-off show for the fans.
As well as marking something of a homecoming (the band played their first ever capital performance here), the intimate HP Connected Music performance also showcased a state-of-the-art light show powered by HP technology to better the musical experience for a new generation of music goers. In short, it looked great.
So, wanting to know about the band’s own musical experiences, what shaped them and exactly what they’re listening to today, we asked Dan Smith, keyboardist Kyle Simmons, bassist Will Farquarson and drummer Chris ‘Woody’ Wood to give us their Ultimate Playlist.
Spoiler alert: it's superb.
FAVOURITE SONG THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS HEARD OF
C: Not only is Rag ‘N’ Bone Man a lovely guy, but a very, very talented singer, too. His new song Wolves is insanely good.
D: At the risk of sounding sycophantic, he one of the best voices in the world, so unique and so beautiful. Picture it: he’s this 6ft ‘5 guy covered with a massive beard and covered in tattoos, he opens his mouth and that soulful, heart wrenching sound comes out. Wow. His album is actually free to download now I believe, and it’s bloody good.
FAVOURITE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK SONG
K: Labyrinth. David Bowie did the soundtrack! What more of an incentive do you need?
W: Ghostbusters, surely? You don’t get a big old theme song with the name of the film in the actual title anymore.
D: Yeah, what's that about; it’s like The Addams Family, you need the words of the film in the song sometimes. We'll let Jurassic Park off though.
C: I can't believe no one's said John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. Never before had such tension been built with such cheap synthesizers, and it worked brilliantly. The greatest film soundtrack ever bar none.
W: Okay we’ll go with that one, but our favourite film as a whole is Tremors. That much we can all agree on.
D: No question about Tremors.
FAVOURITE SAD SONG
D: Well, it has to be Hope There’s Someone by Antony And The Johnsons. Very depressing, of course, but also very beautiful, and I’m only choosing it because Kyle does the best vocal impression of the song.
K: Hmm. I’ve not done it for ages actually, but I do think it's an A-grade impression - I’ll give it a go... [for the record, ShortList can verify that it is a very well warbled and uncanny rendition]
W: Ha! Great, right?
D: Playing songs which are fairly melancholic in live shows can be tricky, there’s a science to a setlist in that way. We’ve pretty much been playing gigs every day for the past three years so we've learnt how the crowd react to certain songs - we’re lucky because most of our songs are upbeat and lot of our crowds tend to know the whole album inside out, but it's good to be aware of how you follow up a more downbeat song. The next song we’ve got coming out is Oblivion, which you might say has a sad tinge to it, so it’ll be interesting to see how audiences react to it.
FAVOURITE WEDDING SONG
D: Woody’s getting married soon, it maybe one for him…
C: Well actually, back in the old days when I used to do the odd wedding gig to get some cash, the most enjoyable first-dance I ever saw was to Lonestar's Amazed. Well I say 'dance', it was sang to the groom by the bride who stood on stage with me and the band. She struggled to sing the key change, so she left that to the singer. It was so cringe-worthy I think I shut my eyes.
W: I did a wedding gig with Woody once. I had to learn about 30 songs in about three hours.
D: You can tell you’re both really jaded when it comes to weddings.
C: I’ve actually banned anything by Stevie Wonder from my wedding. I’ve heard Superstition murdered about 40,000 times. I don’t want to make it 40,001.
W: Weddings gigs were good fun. Just really, really long.
C: Wait! Status Quo – Rocking All Over The World – the second best wedding song ever because I once saw a groom, at about half past nine, come storming through the crowd, hammered, snatch the mic, scream ‘fuck off’ at the top of his lungs, trip over the monitor and knock himself out on the drum kit. The kicker being that it was during that song that he requested. My hero.
FAVOURITE CURRENT SONG
D: Anything by Banks. She’s out of this world, and I also quite like how she’s drip-feeding her album out until the September release. A cleverly hyped launch. We had something similar with those mix tapes we made before we’d been signed, taking samples from films, soundtracks and random ‘90s songs, not really thinking about the legality of it all. We decided to put it on a website ourselves and then hype just grew from it. We got in a lot of trouble for it but it was fun.
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
W:Walking On Broken Glass, for sure. It’s a soundtrack to a certain point in my life, playing on an old building site I used to play on. Shakespeare’s Sister, too.
D: Or Don’t Speak by No Doubt – that was massive in the ‘90s. Songs are like smells, they can be good, they can be bad, and they can make you remember a time or a place. Don't Speak makes me feel funny inside, a good nostalgia tune can be so affecting. Loved the video, too, I remember something about an apple.
FAVOURITE LYRIC FROM A SONG
C: Nirvana: 'Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.'
K: That's a good one.
D: Wait, what were our favourite Tinie Tempah lyrics from the conversation we had about it yesterday? He has some classics.
W: And James Blunt, “I know you well, I know your smell.” Textbook Blunt.
FAVOURITE ONE-HIT WONDER
W: Whigfield. See, I didn't even need to say Saturday Night and you all knew which song I meant.
D: Same goes for Mr Blobby. Not too many hits there.
K: Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That.
C: Well we obviously can’t go for that because Hall & Oates have had plenty of hits. Would Love City Grove count?
W: Yes! That was a Eurovision classic - a big tune. Get that one down.
FAVOURITE CLUB ANTHEM
K: You'd be a fool to look past Pendulum - Tarantula, which I have fond memories of from Uni days when it was massive. And let’s be honest, as a club banger, it’s amazing.
C: Anything on Fat Of The Land by The Prodigy, as well. That was one of my most listened to albums growing up and I still believe think that if you buy a brand new home-speaker-system, dust that CD off, stick it in and turn it up loud, if your speakers blows up then they weren't ready in the first place. Anyhow, there are so many emotions and variations in some of those songs, so many different beats, that watching people attempt to dance to them can be inadvertently hilarious.
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR OWN MUSIC
D: We have a song called The Draw that we play live and is just the most fun to play. It’s our first proper guitar based song and for three minutes we get to pretend that we’re a real heavy band!
K: I agree. I get play bass, and I’m not a bass player, so it means I get to move from my station just for one song! People are always trying to get it out of the set list…
W: I’ve tried to take it out just to wind him up.
K: Unbelievable. Great song, mind.