Do you know this man? Good, he likes it that way

The Wharf - - Wharf - Andy Welch Bastille’s se­cond al­bum, Wild World, is out now. They play The O2 on Novem­ber 1-2. Go to theo2.co.uk

Sleeperbloke’ was an ac­cu­rate, if un­flat­ter­ing term coined in the mid-1990s.

It orig­i­nally re­ferred to any one of the three anony­mous men who stood be­hind singer Louise Wener in the band Sleeper, but has since come to be used to de­scribe the name­less mem­bers of any band. Bastille are es­sen­tially four Sleeperblokes.

Even Dan Smith, the main song­writer, founder and de facto face of the band isn’t in­stantly recog­nis­able.

They’re sit­ting around a ta­ble in the dress­ing room of a venue they’re due to per­form a se­cret show at later on, un­der a fake name.

“We’re listed as Chaos Planet,” says Smith. “The new al­bum is called Wild

World, so it’s a bit of a code.” There’s no deny­ing hard­core fans would recog­nise Smith, along with Kyle Sim­mons, Will Far­quar­son and Chris Wood, but it’s highly un­likely any van driv­ers would be beep­ing their horns on sight.

“I love it that way,” says gui­tarist Far­quar­son. “I was in a shop buy­ing a jacket only this morn­ing and there was a Bastille song play­ing. The per­son serv­ing me was singing along, but she had no idea who I was. That was a great mo­ment.

“I very rarely get stopped by some­one, and by the virtue of being al­most un­known, it means that the per­son stop­ping is a mas­sive fan of the band and only has nice things to say. Imag­ine being as fa­mous as some­one like Brit­ney Spears.”

Con­sid­er­ing their suc­cess, it’s stag­ger­ing they’ve man­aged to keep such a lid on things. Their de­but, Bad

Blood, was re­leased in 2013 and went on to be­come the big­gest-sell­ing dig­i­tal al­bum of the year.

Fol­low-up Wild World, re­leased on Septem­ber 9, went straight to No 1 in the UK and No 4 in the US.

Lon­don-born Smith said: “At any given point, we’ve tried to dodge the fame that comes with the suc­cess of what we do. We’ve man­aged to make it work, and we have to go to award shows and things oc­ca­sion­ally, but we don’t have much in­ter­est in that show­biz world.

“There have been a few things that have made it eas­ier to put my­self out there,” says the 30-year-old.

“The things that have made it re­ally easy for me are, and this is cheesy, that there are amaz­ing fans com­ing to our gigs.”

He winces, aware how he might sound, but there is noth­ing about Smith to sug­gest he’s not sin­cere. Bastille may not be an overly se­ri­ous bunch but they are gen­uine, and hugely like­able.

“Get­ting on a big stage is ter­ri­fy­ing, but as soon as ev­ery­one sings along, it’s not like a trial, it’s an amaz­ing thing and we’re all in it to­gether, peo­ple are on our side,” Smith con­tin­ues.

“We started off tour­ing in Woody’s car, where I’d be in the boot be­cause the in­stru­ments took up the seats. We’ve gone from that to where we are now, with an arena tour ahead of us, with the same crew from the be­gin­ning.

“We’ve nor­malised the most bizarre sit­u­a­tion.”

The tour in­cludes two dates at The O2 in North Green­wich and they agree hav­ing fa­mil­iar faces around them is a key to stay­ing grounded.

Lyri­cally, there’s more mys­tery. In an age where ex­pos­ing your soul is re­warded, Smith re­moves him­self from many of Bastille’s songs.

There are sto­ries, or cur­rent events used as leap­ing-off points, but not much can­dour.

“This time around, I wrote about how it feels to be watch­ing the news and be knocked sideways and over­whelmed. There’s plenty of that this year. How do you process the news at the mo­ment?” There’s a song on the al­bum, The

Cur­rents, which is aimed squarely at the likes of Don­ald Trump and Nigel Farage.

Another song,

Warped, is about that feel­ing of not know­ing how to re­act to hor­rific news events, feel­ing lost and look­ing for a per­son to be your crutch when you need sup­port ( “That is in it­self a per­sonal thing, just not with me at the cen­tre of it”), while The Stakes is about the temp­ta­tion to drink to es­cape the aw­ful things hap­pen­ing around us.

“We had some early feed­back on the al­bum from a jour­nal­ist in Ger­many, who said, ‘It’s so much more de­press­ing than the first al­bum’,” says Smith. “I didn’t think we could get more de­press­ing than the first, but there we are.

“I sup­pose I wanted to ground the al­bum in the con­fu­sion of the cur­rent time and it ob­vi­ously worked.”

From left Chris Wood, Will Far­quar­son, Dan Smith, Kyle Sim­mons

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