British pop-rock group Bastille quickly rose to fame in 2013, following the release of hit single “Pompeii” — one of the most streamed tracks that year. Since then, the band has lost none of its momentum, keeping its schedule full with performances, tours and frequent releases of music, most recently, its sophomore album, “Wild World.” The follow-up to Bastille’s debut studio album, “Bad Blood,” 2016’s “Wild World” explores new thematic and stylistic directions yet retains the band’s trademark upbeat sound and emphasis on thought-provoking lyricism. As the Grammy-nominated group prepares to kick of the North American leg of its “Wild, Wild World” tour on March 24 in Toronto, band member and keyboardist Kyle Simmons spoke to The Hoya in an exclusive interview to discuss Bastille’s latest music. Some of his responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
When you were in the studio producing “Wild World,” how was your thought process different than it was for “Bad Blood?” What new directions and themes were you inspired by?
“Bad Blood” was written in such a different environment. It was about, kind of, growing up and finding your place in the world as an adult, whereas “Wild World” is more, “Okay, I’m an adult now, and the world is pretty f- – -ed up.” It’s a pretty difficult place to live in sometimes, but you can find solace in relationships, and friendships and family. It’s basically just finding out that it’s a bit of a crazy place, hence the name “Wild World.” When the song “Warmth” was written, that’s when all the themes kind of linked, and so we took the lyrics “Wild World” from that song, and that’s what the album ended up being called.
So, would you say the current social and political landscape affected the direction of your music?
I think it’s pretty clear from a few of the songs. It was just, “Wow, there’s a lot s– -t going on,” and just kind of digesting it, and, sort of, responding to a lot of stuff that’s going on as well.
Did you have any new musical influences with this album that affected its style or genre?
Nothing directly, but, like indirectly, all of us listen to so much different music that there was just loads of stuff that we love about, like, Kendrick. On this album, it was less about having a similar sound, kind of, between songs. We were like, “If we want to write a big, massive guitar, kind of rock-y song, then we’ll do it. If we kind of want to write a chilled, electronic synth song, like “Four Walls,” then yeah, we’ll do that as well.” So, musically, it’s pretty sporadic, in terms of the genres.
Bastille is hitting so many cities and major venues on the upcoming “Wild, Wild World” Tour. What are you most looking forward to, and what can fans look forward to, with the upcoming concert series?
We are so excited to come back out to the States. The last time we were there, we did shows where we went back to the places where we first played, and, so, they were like really small venues, like 200, 300 [person] cap. Now we’ve got a lot more material to play, and we just hope people like what we’ve done with the show.
You are also returning to Coachella in April this year. What is most exciting about playing at that kind of unique festival style venue?
It’s always a good chance to meet up with loads of friends who are in other bands. Coachella, it’s such a staple, it’s such a big thing, and, you know, lots of people go to play, but loads of people go there just to hang out. And it’s such a nice environment, and the weather’s pretty much always nice. And also, we, as music fans, just love to go and see people playing, and the line-up is incredible.
“Good Grief,” the first track on the album, has become especially popular since the album’s release. What was the inspiration behind that track, in particular?
It’s that kind of classic combination, lyrically, quite dark content but framed in quite upbeat, kind of melodic, hook-y, kind of, pop music. The song is about death, basically, and about, kind of, grieving, and sort of the process and mindset during that time. It’s never really about a specific thing, we always leave it a little bit open to interpretation so people can kind of project, you know, whatever they think it’s about.
Do you have any personal favorite tracks on the new album that you in particular really liked to record or perform?
I really like “Fake It.” I just love when the chorus hits, and I remember: We were out, because the guy that mixed it, Manny, he’s from the States, showed it to us, and our chests were rumbling. And then live, as well, “Lethargy,” is one of the songs we really like to play. I think it’s kind of the most indie song that we have on our repertoire.
“Pompeii” was sort of Bastille’s breakout hit. Do you remember what it was like when that song really started to gain a lot of popularity?
We honestly, genuinely did not expect that to happen. It was just so weird that it managed to strike a chord with so many people in so many places, and that was that kind of moment that we were kind of opened up the world. “Pompeii” was kind of the doorway for us to do that, and the doorway for a lot of people into our music. Honestly, that’s kind of when our lives kind of changed. It was something that we’re so grateful for — our lives have never really been the same since.
Bastille will be performing at Eagle Bank Arena on March 28.