The word Bastille brings to mind revolution, change and the storming of the old by the spirit of the new. When London-based singer/songwriter Dan Smith called his band Bastille, he was merely thinking of his birthday, July 14, France’s Bastille Day. But for the biggest selling new British act of the last year, with hindsight Smith’s choice seems an ominously apt metaphor for their dramatic impact.
Their debut album, Bad Blood, came smashing in at number one and quickly achieving platinum status in the UK. The most downloaded album of 2013, and the second most-streamed, it’s since sold over 2 million copies worldwide. So Bastille shouldn’t really have been surprised at last year’s Glastonbury Festival when they drew the largest ever recorded crowd in the history of its John Peel Stage. “You can be told all these sales statistics but they’re all abstract,” says Smith. “It’s only when you play live that you feel it, seeing that reaction among our audience. Those are the proper markers of success. Glastonbury was truly incredible.”