By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | May 4, 2022
The English band Bastille has a way of writing dark songs wrapped in buoyant, joyous pop songs.
Keyboardist Kyle Simmons says that’s the charm behind Bastille.
“There are elements of hope in there, which is a bit of a Bastille standard,” Simmons says.
“There’s the negative and the pessimism, but there’s always a bit of hope somewhere. You just have to dig around for it.”
Case in point: “Happier,” which, vocalist Dan Smith sings to sprightly music, “I wanna raise your spirits/ I want to see you smile but / Know that means I’ll have to leave.”
Much like its music, Bastille’s live show will share that upbeat feeling. The band is playing the Mesa Amphitheatre on Tuesday, May 17.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been out and touring around the States because of all the obvious reasons,” Simmons says. “We love all those amphitheaters. We love the vibe. They’re always great.”
The tour is a promotional run for its latest album, “Give Me the Future,” which debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. official charts, the band’s third No. 1 album. Songs like “Thelma + Louise” and “Shut Off the Lights” will be accompanied by “amazing video content.”
“It’s a lot more of a show than it is a gig,” Simmons says. “There are a lot of interludes that help fans navigate inside of that space and then back out. It’s quite difficult to explain. It’s hugely visual. We’re so proud of it. We’re really happy with how it’s been received.
“It just meanders its way through.”
Simmons has a hard time narrowing down what makes Bastille successful. The reasons are many, according to critics and fans. He calls it “luck and hard work.”
“Our lyrics are sort of self-deprecating,” he says. “We deal with a lot of negative issues, but we frame them in quite happy, poppy music.
“I think the content that we sing about, too, is very interesting. It touches on different films and programs that we like, and history. That’s the kind of content we enjoy writing about and singing about. It’s a less-treaded path.”
Bastille — which also includes vocalist Dan Smith, bassist/guitarist Will Farquarson and drummer Chris “Woody” Wood — is filled with perfectionists. So, they’re proud of the music that is released.
“If I told you the number of choruses that Dan has thrown away and rewritten,” he says with a laugh. “I’ll tell him it’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard. He’ll say it’s not good enough. Again, it’s just hugely negative content but wrapped in a nice happy package. That is almost every Bastille song.”
Smith stretched his lyrical and musical wings on “Give Me the Future.” He cowrote songs with others for the first time. Simmons says now was the time because the first three albums were a trilogy.
“As soon as we finished that third album, we wanted to be different,” he adds. “It was the first time we could kind of build up the catalog of music and put it completely in its own space.
“The album is a lot more collaborative, and I think we’re definitely moving more into that space.”
“Give Me the Future” blurs genre lines but Smith’s vocals are so distinct that any music fits in well with Bastille’s catalog.
“We can happily jump around and change our sound as much as we want,” he says. “I’ve been listening to him for 12 years. The fact that he has that voice is just incredible. We’re really lucky all of that is paired inside that one person.”
Bastille w/Alice Merton
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17
WHERE: Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 N. Center Street, Mesa
COST: Tickets start at $40
INFO: 480-644-2560, mesaamp.com