Bastille Billboard Music Awards Q&A: On Beyonce, Haim, Banks & More

Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Bastille perform for a Biz Session to promote their album 'Bad Blood' on February 26, 2013 in London, England.

With the 2014 Billboard Music Awards rapidly approaching, we caught up with BBMA finalist Dan Smith of Bastille to help recount the incredible high points, new discoveries and memorable moments that caught his ears during the past 12 months.

Bastille's notable 2013 was highlighted by the release of album, "Bad Blood" -- which helped the U.K. band earn a place as one of the Billboard Music Awards finalist for Top New Artist.

Watch the 2014 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, May 18 at 8|7c on ABC live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as host Ludacris welcomes the biggest names in music to the stage.

What was the highlight of the past year for you?

Bastille's Dan Smith: Being invited to hang out with David Lynch was something I never imagined would happen. We did a remix of one of the songs off his latest album and he invited me round for a coffee and a chat. It was pretty surreal, but he was such a nice guy — very funny, interesting and interested.

What song from the past year do you wish you wrote?

"My Song 5" by Haim. I love the Haim record but this song was the one that stood out the most for me. It doesn't sound like anything else and I love how the songwriting works with the production (by the awesome Ariel Rechtshaid).  

Was there a song you couldn't get out of your head (even if you tried)?

"Latch" by Disclosure. Sam Smith has a knack for writing brilliant hooks and I heard a stripped-back version of this song that made me listen to songwriting itself a lot more closely. But I love the Disclosure version and it gets lodged in my head on loop for weeks. The song was massive in the U.K. and I'm really happy to see it doing so well in the U.S.  

Who was your favorite new or emerging artist?

Banks. I discovered her music last year and have been patiently waiting for her to release more. Luckily there's been a steady drip-feed of singles and EPs. I love her vocals and her songwriting, and she works with some brilliant producers — like Sohn, Lil Silva, Shlohmo — so I can't wait for the album. We also were able to finally catch her live set at Coachella a few weeks ago, which I thought was great.

Who really knocked it out of the park with either a music or a business move?

Beyonce's surprise album release was a brilliant and exciting move.

Which artist that staged a comeback or finally get some overdue recognition really caught your attention?

I really love Damon Albarn's debut solo record. I don't know if that counts because he's not ever been someone who's unrecognized, but I love the fluidity with which he changes between really varying projects — yet it's nice to see him take the weight of an album release solely upon himself.

What was your favorite music-related meme or viral video?

Maybe the video of Pharrell being completely overwhelmed by the success of "Happy," when he was on "Oprah" and broke down in tears.

Was there a trend you were happy to see or hear?

It's nice to see British music having continued success all over the world. And it's great to see more and more people seeming to buy music on vinyl.

Any trend you were unhappy to see or hear?

The continued practice of giving writing credits to artists who didn't have any writing involvement in the song.

What are your favorite things to do in Vegas — high-roller or trashy (or both)?

We played a gig there [recently] and after our soundcheck we jumped off the 108th floor of The Stratosphere attached to a rope. That was pretty awesome.

Via Yahoo, this year's Billboard Music Awards red carpet show will be live streamed. For additional information on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards visit or the Billboard hub at


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.