With a busy touring schedule that resumed Sunday in suburban Detroit after a holiday break, Bastille is taking a catch-as-catch-can approach to its sophomore album.
The group actually spent some time in the studio before coming across the pond, the group’s Will Farquarson tells Billboard. “We just have some ideas, so while we’re all back in London we’re demoing some things, and they’re quite promising,” Farquarson reports. “We like to try and stay busy, and when you’re touring as much as we are we don’t want to let the creativity become muted. We all love recording. Dan (Smith) loves to write and we love to get in the studio and do some stuff. So I think it’s good whenever we’re back in London to make sure we’re busy writing new stuff to keep the creative muscles exercised.”
Farquarson adds that Bastille’s process has also changed in recent sessions. “It’s becoming more collaborative,” he says. “Initially Dan did it all and we’d kind of go in and do our parts. Now the basis is still Dan’s songwriting, but we’re all in there from the get-go, just sticking our two cents in there. And a lot of the songs are taking shape in sound check as well. So we’re coming from alive perspective because Dan will bring us the songs and we’ll jam them and go from there and embellish it as we can.”
Bastille’s 70-minute, 16-song show Sunday before a capacity crowd of 1,700 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre included the as-yet-unreleased “Blame,” a thumping, big-beat rocker featuring Farquarson on guitar, amidst 11 songs from the group’s 2013 debut “Bad Blood” (everything but “Oblivion”), a cover of City High’s “What Would You Do?” and a few selections from the “All that Bad Blood” expanded album, including “The Draw,” “Of the Night,” a mash-up of Corono’s “The Rhythm of the Night” and Snap!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer” which equalled the show-closing “Pompeii’s” No. 2 showing on the U.K. charts.
“That’s a strange one,” Farquarson says of the track, which is also Bastille’s latest single in the U.S. “It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing that we did that kind of got out of hand. It started off because Dan got really ill when we first got signed, and so to ease his way back into vocal recording we decided to do some mixtapes using old songs that we listened to growing up. These were interesting songs you wouldn’t expect us to cover and try to reinvent in a more current kind of way, and then it became one of our biggest songs. Then we started doing it live just because it was a cool song and was fun to play, and audiences started to really kind of dig it. And it all started off like a little experiment.”
After shows in Boston on Monday and New York City on Wednesday, Bastille — which is nominated for four BRIT Awards this year — returns overseas for a European tour, with a more extensive North American tour kicking off March 31 in Chicago and including appearances April 11 and 18 the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Australia, meanwhile, looms during June. “This summer is going to be packed with a lot ot of festival dates,” Farquarson says, “and I think we’re coming back to America a few times this year. We like America. So the next six months, at least, is constantly touring, and then the festivals in the summer, and we hope to get some recording time in between. We just know it’s going to be very busy.”