By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Bastille drummer Chris Wood says fans have learned the breadth of the English band’s tastes, thanks to its latest album “Doom Days.”
Telling the story of a colorful night at a party that is emotionally chaotic yet euphoric, “Doom Days” blends gospel, house music, R&B, pop and rock. But just like the mélange of genres, there are numerous meanings for the tunes.
“A lot of those songs are open to interpretation,” Wood says via telephone from Toronto.
“We’re really conscious of telling a story. On the previous album, we addressed the state of the world head on and it occurred to us that people will go to a show and want to escape all of that. They don’t want to be constantly reminded, We’re their escape.”
Fans can escape when Bastille comes to the Comerica Theatre on Tuesday, October 15, with Joywave.
“We’re bringing the European festival tour to the States,” Wood says. “It’s trying to tell a little bit of a story. We’re doing new songs, the older stuff and the collaborations, which is a broad sort of mix.”
Included in the set is Bastille’s breakthrough, six-times-platinum hit “Pompeii.”
“People often ask, ‘Do you get bored of playing ‘Pompeii’? No. That song changed our lives. We are incredibly fortunate.
“The songs have evolved naturally live a little bit. It’s not intentional. We just add little things in here and there. We’re constantly evolving.”
Marshmello and Bastille’s hit “Happier” is in the setlist, too, after 2 billion cumulative streams.
“It was pretty quick and mad,” he says about the process. “We were tapping into that whole EDM/DJ world we had not peered into before. We’re obviously really pleased at how the song turned out, but we didn’t expect for it to blow up. We’re very, very happy for that.”
The success can be partially chalked up to the tearjerker video about a girl and her dog, without spoiling it.
“A lot of people were very upset about that,” he says. “We didn’t realize it would have such an effect. We had the song written a long time before, but we weren’t quite sure if we wanted to use it ourselves because it wasn’t very Bastille. We were looking for someone to do it. We kept it and recorded it with Marshmello.”
When Bastille embarked on its first U.S. tour, Wood admits to a bit of debauchery—but not in the way one thinks.
“When we first toured here, we ate all the junk food we could,” Wood says. “We got it out of our system. We’re really fortunate to have friends in different cities. Instead of touring, it’s like we’re traveling and catching up with old friends.
“We’ve been here enough that we’re not complete tourists. In L.A. we know certain bars and restaurants; same with some other cities.”
In the day of social media, Bastille hopes to encourage real human connections through its music. For example, the single, “Joy,” sees a hangover turned around by a simple phone call from someone special.
“Doom Days” was interesting—yet stressful—for Bastille to create. Its first album, “Bad Blood,” was made while the musicians had regular day jobs.
“Now, we have a studio in south London,” Wood says. “It took us six months to write and record every day. Our singer, Dan Smith, is a perfectionist. He’s never satisfied, and he continually improves things in his work. He would rarely bring a song to us unless it was halfway done—or more—in his mind. It’s worked pretty well so far. If it ain’t broke…
“He’s very hard on himself, though. He needs that for his work. He’s a workaholic.”
The pressure is mostly within Smith, with the band members letting very few outside pressures get to them.
“We have some from the label,” Wood says, “We’ve had a certain amount of commercial success. As cliché as that may sound, we just want to make music we’re proud of. Whether the song is the next single or an album track, we just try to do the best we can.”
Bastille w/Joywave, Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, comericatheatre.com, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, tickets start at $39.50.