London alternative rock quartet Bastille combined glossy '80s synth textures and arena-friendly choruses on early hit singles like "Pompeii," which helped them sell millions of their 2013 debut album, Bad Blood. The group began as the solo project of singer/songwriter Dan Smith -- whose birthday is July 14 (aka Bastille Day) -- but became a full-fledged band in 2010 with the addition of Chris Wood, William Farquarson, and Kyle Simmons. Bastille attracted an audience after putting a few tracks online, leading to support slots at major U.K. festivals like Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight. Eventually they secured a deal with indie label Young and Lost Club and released their debut 7" single, Flaws/Icarus, in July 2011. This was followed later that year by the Laura Palmer EP, named for the teenaged murder victim in David Lynch's cult '90s TV series Twin Peaks; the creepy accompanying video for the track "Overjoyed" was also heavily inspired by the series. "Overjoyed" also became the band's first single for EMI Records in April 2012, while "Bad Blood," which was released that August, peaked at number 90 in the U.K. charts. Bastille had greater success with "Flaws," their first single to debut in the Top 40 upon its release in October 2012.
The group's true breakthrough came with "Pompeii," which reached number two on the U.K. charts in February 2013. The following month, Bastille's first full-length arrived, debuting at the top of the U.K. albums chart. Bad Blood sold over two million copies and helped the band earn a 2014 Brit Award for Best Breakthrough Act, as well as nominations for British Album of the Year, British Single of the Year, and British Group. That November, All This Bad Blood, a deluxe version of the album featuring the new single "Of the Night," was released. In 2014, they released the third installment of their mixtape series, VS. (Other People's Heartache, Pt. III), which included collaborations with the likes of HAIM, MNEK, and Angel Haze. They were also nominated for Best New Artist at the 57th Grammy Awards, ultimately losing to Sam Smith. Bastille began work on their second album as they continued to tour, and debuted new material at their concerts. One of these songs, "Hangin'," was released as a single in September 2015. Two more songs, "The Currents" and "Good Grief," appeared in 2016. A few months later, Bastille released their sophomore effort, Wild World. It hit number one in the U.K., and debuted inside the Top Ten in a dozen countries around the world. The next year, the band made contributions to a pair of soundracks, first with a cover of Green Day's "Basket Case" for the television series The Tick, and then "World Gone Mad" for the Will Smith film Bright. ~ John D. Buchanan & Heather Phares
- London, England