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Interview:
Hit-making Bastille storms the charts
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

» See more SOUND CHECK



Bastille has been busy storming the charts in both its native U.K. and in the U.S. But don't bother to ask the four band members the secret to their success.

"A lot of people are suddenly interested in, like, what the key was, and I think we're as baffled as anyone else," says bassist-keyboardist Will Farquarson. "We're no more qualified to answer that question than anyone else, I guess.

"It's just fortunate enough that people have connected with what we're doing."

That's an understatement. Bastille -- formed during 2010 in London after frontman Dan Smith started out as a solo act -- delivered a strong calling card with "Pompeii," which hit No. 2 in Britain and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's debut album, "Bad Blood," topped the British charts last March and went platinum there, while a two-disc set called "All That Bad Blood," compiling B-sides, mixtape tracks and some new material, came out in September.

Bastille is also up for four Brit Awards -- the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys -- including Best British Group and British Album of the years.

"I think songs are the key to (Bastille's success)," says Farquarson, who at 30 is Bastille's oldest member. "I think Dan's a really great songwriter, and I think we always start with a complete song. We never get together and jam; we always start wtih a foundation, which will be a finished song, and I think concentrating so much on songwriting as the core is very important."

Farquarson says Bastille is continue to focus on songwriting as time allows in an extensive touring schedule. The group was recently in the studio working on some new ideas -- "We want to make sure the creativity doesn't become muted while we're on the road," he explains -- and playing live is making an impact on the way Bastille is approaching things now.

"I think it's becoming more collaborative," Farquarson says. "The basis is still Dan's songwriting, but a lot of the songs are taking shape in sound checks, which lets the rest of us contribute to them more. So the sound for the new stuff has come a lot more influenced by the live side of things, which I guess is just inevitable if you're playing every day. But it's all sounding quite promising."

Bastille and Grizfolk perform Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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