LIVE REVIEW: Bastille, The Harley (Sheffield), 24.04.12

Local lads Puzzles kick things into gear at a fairly quiet Harley. Far from disheartened by the smallish, scattered crowd, they throw themselves into their electronic, 80s influenced futurepop wholeheartedly and provoke a move  towards the stage and a stampede through the door. Their set may be brief, but it’s impact overshadows The Smiths-esque The Lion Works who follow them with an impressive but non spine-tingling performance.

With the heat rapidly rising as the now packed Harley crowd are frantic with anticipation for the arrival of Dan Smith, aka Bastille, and his three-piece band. Thankfully he does not keep his demanding audience waiting long as he casually strolls on to stage and launches into “Icarus” and is met by screams of adoration.

The softly spoken South Londoner is a fascinatingly energetic performer. While his song introductions start whispered, the positive response provokes a chattier side, as with each performance his frenzied jump-dancing reaches new heights.

Though better known material “Laura Palmer”, “Get Home”, current single “Overjoyed” and set closer “Flaws” are obvious fan favourite, the singalong “Pompeii” proves itself the one to watch for.

Throwing in City High’s “What Would You Do?” and Corona’s “Rhythm Of The Night” from his “Other People’s Heartache” mixtape proves a wise choice. Lifting the energy and demonstrating a real versatility to his vocal talent, Bastille is a performer who constantly ups his game and challenges his audience.

With the merch stand overflowing as everyone heads home for the night, it is more than apparent that Bastille has made more than a little impact. Far more than just a distinct vocal and dextrous songwriter, Bastille owns the stage and has an audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams 

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The Kaje talks ‘Overjoyed’ to Bastille

Last time we spoke to London’s Dan Smith (aka Bastille) he had just unleashed the beyond brilliant EP “Laura Palmer” independently. At the time there were whispers of major label interest, so it is little surprise that less than six months later he is all set to unleash his major label debut single “Overjoyed” and head out on the road for a series of headline shows. With “Overjoyed” picking up where “Laura Palmer” left off, The Kaje were thrilled to find that the buzz has far from gone to the ambitious, talented yet humble Smith…

Last time we spoke you had just released ‘Laura Palmer’ independently. Only a few months later and you are all set to release your major label debut single ‘Overjoyed’-can you fill us in on the last few months…

I’ve spent the last few months working on an album and a couple of other things. I made a mixtape/album called “Other People’s Heartache” in a short break in the middle of the album, and it’s up as a free download online (at www.otherpeoplesheartache.com). We’ve also been rehearsing quite a bit and getting ready to start gigging again which should be fun. 

With a record label now behind you, do you feel increased pressure to fulfil other’s expectations?

I guess so. It’s gone from being a really small group of people involved to quite a lot more, so inevitably there’s a bit more expectation – which isn’t something we’ve ever really had before. 

How did you select ‘Overjoyed’ as your latest single?

I wanted to chose something that would be an interesting introduction for people who have never heard of Bastille. It was difficult actually choosing what that song would be though because I’ve tried to make all of our songs as different from each other as possible, so it’s hard to know what’s representative. Hopefully “Overjoyed” is a good way in to my other songs and the album.

Can you tell us a little more about the track…

It’s a song I wrote and initially recorded in my bedroom about a year ago, around Christmas time actually. Although it couldn’t be any less christmassy if it tried. I wanted to make something atmospheric that represented some of the things I was thinking about at the time, and wrote most of it at a piano and then came up with the beat on my laptop. It came together quickly which is always satisfying.

Last time you also mentioned that you were working on your debut album-how is that going? When can we expect a release?

It’s very nearly finished, we just have to record some strings (which I’m really excited about) and then it’s a question of cutting it down a bit because there’s a few too many songs at the moment. It has been a lot of fun to make, but feels weird to think the process is nearly over. It will be out a bit later this year, around the end of the summer I think.

With a tour scheduled for the next few weeks-what can people expect from Bastille live?

Hopefully a good energetic show. And we’ll be playing a whole bunch of new songs from the album for the first time, so that should be interesting. For us at least.

You have toured with both Fenech-Soler and Foster The People-have they taught you anything from their stage show?

They both have really engaging live shows where everyone on stage seems to be doing loads of different things. We’ve tried to take a bit from that aspect, as well as some other more geeky technical stuff which they both had going on that made us think about how we could be better and make better sounds.

Who is the greatest live act you have ever seen?

Gosh I have no idea. Off the top of my head Jay Z at Glastonbury a couple of years ago was awesome.

With 2012 kicking off in a splendid fashion-what do you hope to achieve before it draws to a close?

I hope some people like the album that I’ve made and it would be great to have done a bunch of good tours as a band. 

http://www.bastillebastille.com/

Interview and Photograph by Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: BASTILLE “Overjoyed”

BASTILLE, or Dan Smith to his mates, first came to the attention of The Kaje last year when he released his sensational “Laura Palmer” EP. Full the brim with enchanting vocals and irresistible choruses, he had us eating out of the palm of his hands as we didn’t hesitate to place in in our Tips For The Top 2012. So you can imagine our thrill when The Kaje inbox pinged with the news that not only has Smith signed with Virgin, but he is about to release his debut major label single “Overjoyed”. And do you know what…it is a corker…

The Kaje Tips For The Tops 2012!!!!

Each new year is filled with questions – simply because everybody wants to know what will happen. While we are completely incapable of predicting the future, here at The Kaje we thought we would take a brief moment to highlight a selection of music acts that we hope will breakthrough to the big time in 2012…

20. Asami

Former Popstars (Australia) contestant Asami took time out from the reality TV circuit to become a Yoga instructor and battle health issues before deciding to recruit some close friends and relaunch her music career. With two EPs already under their belt, 2012 could easily be the year for Asami to break through with their bright and breezy pop.

19. The Jezabels

Having already conquered their home country of Australia, university pals The Jezabels have now set their sights on world domination. With a growing fanbase on these shores, it is only a matter of time before they become household names.

18. Frank Ocean

Having honed his craft as a member of OFWGKTA, Frank Ocean is now perfectly placed launch his debut effort into the mainstream. More than just another rapper, Frank Ocean eloquently assesses society in his touching numbers.

17. Michael Kiwanuka

With a support slot for British soulstress of the moment Adele already under his belt, Kiwanuka is all set to make 2012 his own. A man who can send shivers down your spine with one single note, Kiwanuka will move you beyond the realms of the possible.

16. Poppy & The Jezebels

Birmingham school friends Poppy & The Jezebels nearly broke the big time a couple of years back. However their big break never quite arrived. Rather than give up the ghost, the quartet headed back to the drawing board and are finally ready to unleash what promises to be a blinding debut.

15. Strangers

The Departure’s David Jones is another former nearly-but-not-quite who is far from ready to give up his musical goal. While disheartened by his mainstream failure, he decided to continue in his quest and it appears he has found strength in his darkest hour. Strangers are better than anything he has done to date.

14. Antonio Lulic

Antonio Lulic is an act who knows how to use social networking. Having first come to The Kaje‘s attention after we saw a tweet that fellow singer/songwriter Ben James Miller had tattooed Lulic’s lyrics on his arm, we turned to YouTube to find out more. And boy were we blown away…

13. Jack Robert Hardman

Jack Robert Hardman’s simple and straight forward approach to home recording has to lead a wealth of vocally charged folk pop that hits all the right marks. His debut single “Famous” is all set for a January release and we just hope he gains the radio play he so rightly deserves.

12. Blue Angel

London’s Blue Angel first came to our attention with the stirring “43 Days” which documented violence on a London bus. With subtle beats blended with a blinding vocal, we were equally excited by the follow-up “Beautiful Day”. With a promise of an album in 2012, here at The Kaje we are already salivating with excitement.


11. Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson may be familiar to some of you from the disturbingly frank documentary “We Need To Talk About Dad”, however there is much for to Johnson than a troubled past. Johnson is a frank, honest and uplifting singer/songwriter who makes you smile and cry simultaneously.

10. Stooshe

X Factor’s Little Mix may have already been hailed as the next big British girl band, but we think these three Londoners may well beat them to the crown. Fresh and funky but in a good way.

9. Radio Star

Melbourne’s Radio Star may also be known as The Sunny Days, but regardless of what pseudonym they use, they create fun 80s inspired indie pop that has been missing from the 80s revival. With the boys relocating to Europe in April, we suggest you get your hands on their eponymous EP in preparation for the explosion.

8. Parnell Page

Parnell Page is another upcoming who came to The Kaje‘s attention through social networking. Having seen a tweet about his Saint Saviour cover “Fallen Trees”, we immediately went on the hunt for the haunting vocalist’s original material. If this Jack Hawitt penned number is a taster of what is to come from his debut EP then we are truly unable to contain our excitement.

7. Bobbie Gordon

Another upcoming British talent with an Adele connection. East London’s Bobbie Gordon spent time as Adele’s backing vocalist, before facing up to her own secret ambitions. With Adele advising her to chase her dreams, Gordon left the tour and has just released an unbelievably brilliant EP.

6. Ronika

Nottingham’s Ronika caught our eye with one of the most unique and eye catching press shots ever. But this stunning sensation is far more than just an eye pleased. With incessantly catchy tunes, Ronika is going to get stuck in your head and make you shake your bootie through 2012 and beyond..

5. Bastille

Dan Smith, aka Bastille, has a vocal to die for. The Kaje are rarely left speechless, but the moment we first heard his awe-inducing “Laura Palmer” we were dumbfounded. We were listening to the voice of the future and we knew it. Be prepared as Bastille is about to explode.


4. Alfie Ordinary

Alfie Ordinary has spent 2011 completing his degree while balancing performances at festivals up and down the country. With his distinct brand of acoustic pop having worked up a frenzy of fans, Alfie Ordinary is finally ready to release an EP and we suggest you sign up for it now before it sells out.

3. Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas is a name you may well already know. With a Jools Holland appearance and a Willy Mason duet already under her belt, La Havas and her silky smooth vocal are set to dominate the airwaves far past 2012.

2. Jess Hall Band

Swindon’s Jess Hall Band are just four teenage mates having a lot of fun while making tender and tempting tracks. Their debut single “Play Shy” saw them break Radio 1, but with tracks like “Grace” up their sleeve, it is obvious that there is a lot more to come from this troupe.

1. Kal Lavelle

Kal Lavelle has been working the live circuit for several years. Having watched her best mate Ed Sheeran break through to the big time last year, Lavelle’s time in the spotlight is more than overdue. Having experienced chart success alongside Artful on “Could Just Be The Bassline”, Lavelle’s debut EP “Shivers” has seen her ride to the top of the iTunes chart, now we just have to hope her upcoming album tops the Official Charts in a similar fashion. True talent always wins through in the end.

The Kaje talks sonic definition to Bastille

With Artrocker declaring that he has “mastered the craft of perfect pop music”, it is easy to see why there is a buzz about Bastille. Having won over a legion of fans with his debut single “Flaws/Icarus”, Bastille, who are led by South London’s Dan Smith, have returned with the sensational “Laura Palmer” EP. With captivating vocals and huge chanted choruses, this is easily on 2011’s must-have releases, with Bastille destined to break it big in 2012. The Kaje were lucky enough to have few moments with Smith to speak about sonic definition…

Can you tell us a little bit more about Bastille…

It started out with me writing and recording some songs, first in my bedroom, then with a mate who’s a producer. I then got together with Woody, Will and Kyle to do some rehearsals, and we played our first gig back in February of this year.

How would you define your sound?

I’m really bad at trying to define what we sound like. On the iTunes shop it says we’re “alternative”… That really narrows it down doesn’t it? I guess it’s quite vocal based. Other than that, I like to try out some electronic sounds and programming alongside the more live, band instruments.

All artists get weighed down with comparisons from critics – if you had to choose your own comparisons – who would you be likened to?

It would be great to be compared to some of the bands I love, but I’m not sure if the songs sound anything like them. Also, we don’t have any guitars at all so that probably wouldn’t happen.

Your debut EP ‘Flaws/Icarus’ really raised your profile and reaped critical praise-did you feel any pressure when it came to ‘Laura Palmer’?

I guess so. It’s weird because for me those songs were just a couple of the ones that I’d been working on. Flaws, in particular, people seem to really like which is great, but it’s pretty much the only song I have that sounds like that. For me the pressure comes from hoping that people like the songs we’ve made that are quite far away from ‘Flaws’.

What were your intentions when it came to unleashing ‘Laura Palmer’?

I found it quite difficult choosing a follow-up single to ‘Flaws’ so in the end we put out four on an EP. Because I’ve tried to do different things on every song I was wary of putting out just one track because I thought that people would base their perceptions of us on just that, and I guess I wanted to give a broader snapshot of what I’ve been working on over the last year.

Can you tell us more about the thoughts behind ‘Laura Palmer’?

I had just come to the end of an almighty David Lynch obsession when I wrote the song so I was thinking a lot about Twin Peaks and the character of Laura Palmer when I wrote that song. I like the idea of her life being slowly unravelled and unveiled after she dies, and because she’s no longer there to keep things a secret different parts of her life start to seep into one another. I don’t think I really conveyed that in the song though.

Who inspired you musically with the project?

Quite a big range of people I think, no one too directly. When I started recording Bastille songs I was listening to a lot of bands like Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend and Miike Snow. And a lot of remixers and producers as well. But I’m probably most influenced by good songwriters with interesting voices, anyone from Antony and the Johnsons to Kate Bush.

You have received great praise for your live performances-how has the live experience effected your recorded sound?

It has definitely made me want the album to sound much more energetic. I want to bring in some more of the live elements into the recordings as well.

What has life on the road taught you?

Bastille started out as a relatively solitary thing, so it has been really fun going around the country and playing as a band. The main lesson I think we learned was to always check that you have a spare tyre. We slightly missed one of our gigs because there was a spare petrol tank where we thought the tyre would be. It was in no way depressing sitting by the side of the motorway, in the rain, 50 miles away from the gig, watching our stage time arrive and pass.

What is next for Bastille?

I’m going to start recording our first album in a couple of week which I’m massively excited about. Then next year hopefully we’ll just be able to release another bunch of songs and do loads of touring.

“Laura Palmer” is out now.

Words and Images by Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: Bastille “Laura Palmer”

I was sat in a coffee shop the other morning catching up with an old friend when they asked if I had heard of Bastille.  My mind immediately jumped to Paris and I launched into my visit to the remains some years ago, when he interjected and corrected me. He was not talking about the old fortress but rather the musical project of South Londoner Dan Smith. He retrieved his laptop from his bag and immediately loaded up this song and I went wow. Now it is your turn…

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