“I’m not sure, but I think the perfect pop song is the one you hear and remember immediately. The one that makes you dance, gets into your memory with unusual lyrics or that make you think”, says Dan Smith (London, 1986), leader of Bastille and current pop authority worldwide, with some hesitation.
His songs, in terms of the musical part, the strictly sonorous, they are complacent little paradises effective in a public that places music as a good that accompanies its passing, and that does not necessarily perceive it as a cultural element capable of changing the world.
But when it comes to lyrics, Smith is clear: “Although this is our most sonically pop album, it’s the one with the weirdest lyrics, the ones that ask the most questions.”
With an interesting and refined musical taste, Smith will bring his band to Buenos Aires to present, on September 7 at Luna Park (with tickets through the Ticketportal system), their fourth album Give me the Futurea collection of songs conceived before the pandemic that already revealed how crazy the relationship between humans and technology was beginning to be.
Bastille contributed a song to Leo DiCaprio’s documentary “From Devil’s Breath.”
Thirteen songs that try to make the listener think and give him an optimistic vision, just as Smith conceives what an ideal pop song would be.
References, collaborations and Argentina
And let’s hear what he has to say about his musical tastes: “I love Sigus Ros and the Kronos Quartet. I love soundtracks, for example the soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell. I’m also a big fan of people who play the piano and sing with unusual voices like Anonhi, Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens”)
Collaborations with artists like Lizzo, Yungblud and Haim Y the contribution of a song for the documentary From Devil’s Breath by Leonardo DiCaprio They made the singer’s resume grow exponentially, although he maintains his gesture of humility and freshness and even does not feel completely comfortable being the center of attention in the crowded Bastille shows.
From London, he responds enthusiastically and seems to be very proud of his new album, which he returns to whenever he can; no matter what question was asked. His way of interacting is also perfectly pop and it’s hard not to get attached to him.
-How do you feel having your own show with Bastille in Buenos Aires -a place you know well- after playing at Lollapalooza seven years ago?
-We are very excited to return to Argentina. We had a great time there. Playing at that Festival was great and have the chance to stay in the city recording toon. But a long time passed, we made three more albums since then. But we are always excited to return to South America and hope to have a great night introducing you to Give Me The Future.
When they came to Argentina, the Bastille musicians stayed to record and walk around.
-What can you say about the Bastille of that time and today?
-Well, we have a lot more music now and we’re a few years older (laughs). Now we explore more to make music.
When we were there we were in the middle of creating our second album Wild World, trying to see which way our music would go and seeing how to react to the great changes that were beginning in the world. And that this was prior to Brexit, to Trump, it was a different time, many things changed politically, in terms of technology, It was a very long seven years..
We grew up as a band, we experimented different creative ideas… we come back a bit older, hopefully a bit smarter.
-Going back to your experience in Buenos Aires where you recorded some songs on that visit, what was it like working here?
-It is spectacular to be able to spend more than a couple of days in a city when we are on tour. I love to travel, I love being a tourist, so it was great to be able to be in the studio in Buenos Aires, but part of me wanted to go out and be a tourist. Hopefully there will be a little more time this time to go out to eat, see the different areas of the city.
With that album, which we toured all over the world, I have some specific songs that when I listen to them somehow make me go back to the places where we wrote them. It’s nice to have that music that somehow will work forever as a link to Buenos Aires.
I want to have free time again so I can go backpacking through different countries like I used to; many times turning for me means looking at places through a small window and at any moment leaving there.
The importance of images
Bastille. The band will perform at Luna Park on September 7th.
-In Give me the Future there are several references to movies, how important are images for you when composing?
-Very important. When I started writing this record I was really influenced by the things I heard, saw, read, articles I heard on podcasts, movies, TV, books. This latest album is intended as an escapist worklike to get out a bit of what we have in our heads or what we do in real life.
There are different ways to achieve that: go for a walk, run, play video games. As the creation process progressed we saw how everything related to the future and technology and how strange it is to live in a time when technology rules. In many cases it is much more advanced than in the science fiction classics.
I like that idea and that people who want to change the world by being inventors and activists can do it, because they have the ability to see what the world will be like in times to come.
I think our relationship with technology can be amazing, it can be unifying, it can be educational, it can be fun, or it can be very fucked up, divisive, addictive, isolating. As in everything, there is no white or black, good or bad, everything is complicated, particular. Well, I tried to fit all these things into a pop record (laughs).
Do you feel like you made it?
-Well, there are songs that will make you want to dance, others that will work as a distraction after a couple of very strange years.
For me making music is always an excuse to explore interesting ideasI think it’s kind of fun to have a reason to go back to sci-fi movies, because they tell you about the world we live in, but they also try to take you away from it, that’s what we tried to do with this record.
Not just having a conversation about how complex things are, but taking the listener back to a retro-futuristic space age a million miles from real life.
-Despite the reflective parts, the album has a positive aura. How did you manage to achieve such an optimistic album in these turbulent times?
-It was our goal: to make an album that was optimistic about the future, but as you say, that’s very difficult. With political and social divisions, climate change, the cost of living, it sucks to be optimistic. That’s why I believe that people who are trying to effect change in the world in a positive way exist and have an inspiring energy.
I think so, we tried to make a positive record, but at the end of the day we’re in 2021, 2022 and that gets complicated, it doesn’t feel like we’re in the middle of a positive situation in many ways.
That darkness crept into several of the songs, into several of the lyrics, but if you look at the end of the first part of the album in the song Future Holds I wanted to make a theme that takes you to live the moment. I know it’s a cliché to talk about “being present”but it is not healthy to be thinking all the time about future situations or situations that cannot be controlled.
I love people who are able to enjoy the here and now: a nice conversation, love, something stupidly funny. It sounds corny, but it is so. On the album there are moments like Shut Off The Lightswhich are basically there to keep the listener and me out of worry about the future and give us some light.
-It’s like anti-nostalgia moments…
-Is that it is dangerous and unhealthy to think all the time that the past was better. That conversation is brought to the table on the album, but I’m just a fucking idiot who makes music and I’m not trying to impose any convincing message on anyone, I just want to write songs reacting to how we perceive things.
Bastille brings to Buenos Aires his new album, “Give me the Future”.2
What is success?
-There is a letter on the album that caught my attention that says “Give me passion/Give me violence/Give me confidence/Give me something new to feel”. I don’t know if you talk about yourself in that topic, but it made me think about how good do you think you are in your search for happiness? Because even if you said that you are just an idiot who makes music, you are a very successful person, who makes music that many people like.
-I think there is a great need for satisfaction in a person who makes music. For me, the satisfaction comes from when I can make a song for which feelings of passion arise in me. I look for it in the studio when I work on any project, whether it’s for Bastille or other people. Obviously we are very privileged to do shows, but I am “relatively uncomfortable” on stage.
I love the moment of the beginning of things, I always prefer creativity. The next step is to finish the lyrics, to have something good to say. Regarding the song, it’s about what people do on-line to find someone in this world where basically anything is possible.
It makes me happy to see the world, get together with my friends, have stupid conversations, laugh, spend time with my nephews and my family.
I don’t know… I’m a terrible phone addict, I’m the worst, that’s why the album does not speak from a place of judging, but of challenging myself.
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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com