Why I Stan: Bastille

In this week’s edition of Why I Stan, we speak to creative Anna Mayers about her love of the pop rock band, Bastille.

When did you first discover Bastille?

I first discovered Bastille when Pompeii was playing on the radio as a single for Bad Blood. Due to their sound and style (especially their Of The Night remix), I always assumed that it was one guy who was sort of like a DJ. 

In 2015, I went to Leeds Festival with one of my cousins and she really wanted to see them perform. I was happy to go along as I knew their hits from the radio, so was blown away when it was actually a group of guys playing instruments and singing. It was an incredible set, so I ordered their album All This Bad Blood as soon as I got home. My cousin and I then went to see them tour their second album Wild World – and the rest is history!

Why do you think you’ve connected so strongly with their work?

I adore Dan Smith’s songwriting and paired with the band’s musical style it’s impossible to not love their work. I’ve connected with them due to their love of classic films and TV, and how they incorporate that into their music. They often sample lines from movies, and one of my favourite songs from them is Laura Palmer, which is inspired by the cult TV show Twin Peaks.

I think any music fan will agree that as soon as you fall in love with an album, that music will always feel like home. I feel so connected to their original album because of this, especially the extended version, that I’ve stuck around to keep up with everything else they’re putting out. 

What have you made of the band’s evolution through the years?

I’m not the first fan to say that their music over the years has changed style, making it difficult to keep up. I really respect their want to experiment with sound and the music they put out, but when you’re used to a certain kind of music from someone, you do expect that from future releases. I’ve enjoyed buying the new albums on CD and vinyl, giving them all their own time to grow on me, but it is hard at times. I’m always intrigued what they’ll come out with next as it’s always changing which is amazing news for fans because it means that nothing is off limits, but it also means that if we love a certain era, cherish it whilst it lasts because it might not be for long.

I’ve loved their ReOrchestrated moment, Dan’s writing about politics and the future, their want to experiment with other artists. Bastille are constantly evolving, which makes them a fun band to follow.

Have you ever had any interactions with the band?

Yes! I’m lucky enough to have had a few interactions. I was once at a pub with another one of my cousins where the band Childcare were performing. Dan was in the crowd, and due to our joint love of Twin Peaks, I asked him what he thought of the latest series as The Return was currently airing. We then spoke about films for a bit, which was really cool as it’s one of the things that drew me to the band like I was saying earlier.

I then also got the chance to meet the whole band at one of their shows. I don’t talk about it much because it was a private moment for a friend that I was able to tag along with (apologies to everyone I’ve ever lied to about this! I just wanted to keep it sacred for that friend, I hope you understand haha!), but their kindness is always talked about within the fandom. They truly are humble guys who just want to make music and then carry on with their day.

Who is your favourite band member? And why?

If you’d asked me this question when I was first a fan, I would’ve said Dan. Duh, he’s the main guy and everyone had a crush on him haha! But now I truly see them all equally. I think they’re all cool in their own ways, but when they come together, they’re all Bastille.

I guess a fan favourite is Charlie Barnes. He tours with the band to help with some of the instrument playing and vocals, so he isn’t a full-time part of the gang, but he really should be. He releases music on his own which he deserves way more love for, so it’s cool to see him get to play with Bastille.

Which Bastille song means the most to you?

I mentioned Laura Palmer before, which is one of my favourites. I just think it’s incredible storytelling and so powerful to listen to. I went to see Bastille when they performed at Union Chapel and when they were playing it, there’s the line “If you had your gun, would you shoot it at the sky?” and often people hold then hands in the air in a gun shape. It was a small, mostly acoustic style show so no one else did it, so Dan saw and waved at me. It suddenly made one of my most favourite songs feel even more special.

Get Home and Sleepsong also feel very special to me as I listened to them at moments in my life when I felt like no one else could understand what I was going through, but suddenly these songs summed up all my feelings.

What is your favourite memory involving Bastille?

Through Bastille, I met one of my best friends. She ran a fan account on Instagram and one day we were messaging when we realised we lived really close! I know they say not to speak to strangers on the internet, but all fandoms will know how fantastic the internet can be at connecting you with people who also understand your strange love with certain people. We’ve since been to so many Bastille shows together (I recently told her I need to make a list just to keep up as I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve seen them live. It might be 15? I don’t know haha), as well as loads of other concerts. It’s wonderful to have found a friend who shares that passion for one thing, but now it’s blossomed to us fangirling over TV shows, other celebrities and sharing core memories at all the concerts we go to. We’re booked to see Bastille 3 times on their upcoming summer tour to celebrate 10 years of their first album Bad Blood – and we cannot wait!

Do you own any cool merch or memorabilia?

I have a Doom Days signed album, pin badges, stickers, magazines they’ve been in. I think my favourite item is a poster from the Union Chapel show. There were only 75 made, and I have number 74. It was a magical show, so it’s lovely to have something that was limited edition from the evening. I have a few t-shirts but as I’ve grown over the years, I’ve stopped wearing them because they’re a bit too tight, so this is making me think I either need a shopping spree on their website, or to save ready to splurge when I see them on tour next!

In the coming years, what direction would you love to see the band go in?

Like I said, the band have already been in many directions. I think I’d love to see them challenged musically through creating a rock album. Songs like The Draw are so fun to listen to live, so to have a whole album like that would be a gear shift but something I’d be really intrigued by. I often feel like Dan may go off and do his own thing, a bit like Marcus Mumford has done, but right now I’m just loving their catalogue and counting down the days until I’m watching them perform again.

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