British band Bastille taken aback by mainstream success

Wed May 8, 2013 11:44am EDT
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By Rollo Ross

LONDON (Reuters) - The success of the alternative rock group Bastille which has stormed the British album and single charts this year has taken no one by surprise more than the band itself.

The four-piece that played its first gig two years ago has topped the UK album charts with "Bad Blood" while their single "Pompeii" has hit the top 10 in Britain, Ireland, Belgium and Italy while getting wide radio play in the United States.

Singer-songwriter Dan Smith, who wrote most of "Bad Blood" on a laptop in his bedroom, said he was stunned by their rapid rise to fame and the fact the band's recently announced UK tour sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale.

"We can't complain at all but because we didn't aim for this we didn't know what to expect," Smith, wearing a grey hoodie with his hair in its trademark backcombed style, told Reuters television in an interview in an old church hall in east London.

"We have the most varied job in the world, we do so many different things and go to so many different places but ... we all, in a lot of these situations, feel like competition winners who got the wrong ticket."

The band, signed to EMI Music, was founded by Smith and revolves around him, named after his July 14 birthday which is Bastille Day celebrated in France for the 1789 storming of the fortress in Paris that started the French Revolution.

Smith is the only band member to feature in their videos.

Asked whether the band was a democracy, keyboardist Kyle Simmons quipped: "It's not. It's not democratic."   Continued...