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Bastille storm the US and aim for Grammy glory ahead of performance at RedFestDxB

The British band are nominated for best song award at the Grammys – then headed to Dubai for RedFestDxB.
Kyle Simmons, left, and Dan Smith of Bastille perform at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in September in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia / AFP
Kyle Simmons, left, and Dan Smith of Bastille perform at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in September in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia / AFP

The British synth poppers and RedFestDxb headliners Bastille continue to ride high on the back of their debut album Bad Blood.

The 2013 release has been a growing juggernaut for the four-piece outfit, with the singles Pompeii and Overjoyed proving to be big hits in Europe, Australia and, more recently, the United States.

The icing on the cake would be success tonight at the Grammy Awards, where they are nominated for Best New Artist and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for Pompeii.

The band’s multi-instrumentalist Kyle Simmons spoke to The National on Saturday, February 6 from Los Angeles, where the group had just arrived to attend the ceremony at the Staples Center.

Congratulations on the Grammy nominations. Not bad for a band whose songs started out as bedroom recordings.

I know. It is kind of crazy to be here because this is something we never thought we would be a part of. The whole thing has spiralled out of control and we have just been chasing this around the world.

This thing you are referring to is your debut album Bad Blood. After conquering Europe, it was only last year that it began registering in America. Did it feel weird going over there as an unknown band?

It did have a pretty good run in the UK. What helped us, I guess, is that it was first released in the UK and then the songs started to kick off in the US. Because of that, we then went up to America and released it there. So the album never had one worldwide release date and instead it was all scattered. It was also good for us to go play in the US, because we started from the bottom and played these small clubs. It reminded us that we always have to start again and earn our stripes.

What is it about Bad Blood that got people so excited?

I think because the songs are so varied. You can’t pin the album down to one genre. You have songs that are minimal electro and you also have some big cinematic strings going on in songs such as Laura Palmer. We genre-hop a lot and, because of that, we were able to reach audiences with varied tastes. Finally, our singer Dan is an incredible songwriter and that permeates through the whole album.

You guys have also started work on a new album. Judging by the new tracks such as Blame and Campus that you dropped in your shows recently, would you say you are aiming for a new, rockier sound?

In the first album we had no guitars and now we do for the new one. But I wouldn’t say they are driving the album, we are just introducing them to our sound. There are some rocky songs in there but, equally, there are some R&B and garage styles.

You are coming to Dubai this weekend to perform at RedFestDxb. You have fans here who have heard the record dozens of times by now – how does the live experience compare to the album?

I can say our live show is definitely much better than the album. It is a bigger and fuller sound and I think the songs have a bit more attitude.

I am very proud of our live shows and I think because we toured this album for the past few years it is all we know. We have got to a stage that when we are live, we pretty much know what we are doing.

Bastille will perform on Friday, February 13, day two of RedFestDxb, at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Tickets for the two-day festival, from Dh350, are available at www.redfestdxb.com. For the latest on the Grammy Awards, visit www.grammy.com

sasaeed@thenational.ae

Updated: February 7, 2015 04:00 AM

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