Ever since Bastille broke through to mainstream popularity with 2013 single “Pompeii”, the Brit pop band has gone through several sonic transformations. From the emotional bombast of their earlier days to the deep and dirty darkness of new concept album Doom Days, the unbridled creativity they have shown knows no bounds. Frontman Dan Smith breaks down one of the album’s key tracks for Rolling Stone series “How I Wrote This.”
Watch: Bastille frontman Dan Smith chats to Rolling Stone
Doom Days, an album about how to have fun and find escapism during an apocalypse, largely hinges its greatest moments on single “Bad Decisions”. It’s a dark, brooding storm of a track with lyrics like, “If the world is ending, let’s stay up all night.” Smith said he “wanted to get at that sort of fuzzy, nihilistic feeling” that captures both the end of the world and the end of a relationship.
Although as Smith reveals in the interview, Brexit also played a major part in the song’s conception.
“We also wanted to look at the national and international bad decisions,” he says. “Especially when it comes to voting … Everybody has to live with the consequences of those decisions. In the U.K., we are years on from having voted to leave the E.U., which is something that I, or we, don’t think is remotely a good idea at all. It’s kind of a turbulent time, and I guess we’re dealing with that decision.”
As part of the video, Smith sits down in front of a piano to play a soulful, stripped back version of the song, nestled in the historic East Village venue La MaMa. “I got really sucked down the rabbit hole of production and detail because I fucking love it so much,” he says after the performance. “But it can be so nice to just play the song and enjoy the chords of it and what it’s saying and the lyrics.”