Bastille

Bastille began as an alternative identity for Dan Smith, a vehicle for his numerous ideas. Why Bastille? You could say Dan chose it because it connotes revolution and change, but really it’s just because his birthday falls on Bastille Day and he wanted something neutral yet evocative enough to describe his rhythmically and melodically inventive indie-R&B-pop. As he says, “It’s anonymous and it allows me the freedom to do what I want.” Oh, and because he didn’t want to trade as Dan Smith: troubadour. Dan put the first Bastille songs online in autumn 2010, but it was when he uploaded a video for his song Flaws at the start of 2011, which he had cut together with footage from Terence Mallick’s Badlands, that he noticed a real reaction. It garnered over 250,000 views on YouTube and, more to Dan’s surprise, has been treated to scores of covers by performers around the world. “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the first cover” Dan says. “To this day it is still incredibly surreal to see so many complete strangers on the other side of the world singing songs that I made in my room”. Bastille’s online success continued throughout 2011, and autumn saw their dark and moody cover of City High’s 2000s classic What Would You Do fly straight to the top of both We are Hunted and the prestigious Hype Machine chart.