World gone mad: What we learned from Bastille’s new song and Dan Smith’s Beats 1 interview

Frontman Dan Smith is finally living his dream of making music for films

It’s been just over a year since Bastille released their triumphant second album ‘Wild World‘, but they haven’t been resting on their laurels. Frequent updates have told us they’ve been hard at work on their third album and, today (November 9), shared a little treat with fans who’ve been patiently waiting to hear what they’ve been up to of late. Here’s what we learned from the new song and frontman Dan Smith’s interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe.

‘World Gone Mad’ speaks to the hopelessness and despair of 2017

On ‘Wild World‘, Dan turned his focus to the state of the world around him, examining the apparent unravelling of civil society and the rise of figures like Trump through emboldened, socially conscious pop songs that veered between defiantly euphoric, and emotional. ‘World Gone Mad’, the first piece of new music we’ve heard from the band since that record, falls in the latter camp – a sparse piece that slowly builds from acoustic guitar to incorporate strings and soft, shuffling beats, all carried by Dan’s gliding vocals.

It’s full of lyrical cues for anyone who’s felt helpless in the wake of another shooting, another missile test or another hate-filled tweet from the so-called leader of the free world. “You don’t wanna fuck with us,” Dan sings in a soft falsetto early on, harnessing that feeling of trying to cling on to your anger when the hits just keep on coming.

The chorus (“When it feels like the world’s gone mad/And there’s nothing you can do about it/No, there’s nothing can do about it“) speaks to the hopelessness and despair of the last 12 months, while you could interpret the line “Another man with a microphone trying to say something at all” as being about Dan’s position as a performer and entertainer, trying to spread a message of love and acceptance to Bastille’s fanbase in spite of all the hate in the world right now.

Working on a soundtrack was a dream situation for Dan

Dan’s love of films has been well documented over the years so working on a track for an actual movie soundtrack is something of a dream moment for him. ‘World Gone Mad’ features on the score for Bright, the new David Ayer (Suicide Squad, End Of Watch) film, starring Will Smith and Noomi Rapace. “The idea of doing film and music together is an absolute dream,” Dan confirmed to Beats 1’s Zane Lowe earlier today.

Sometimes dream projects can quickly turn into nightmares, but not with this track. Explaining that he co-opted an idea he’d already had for a song and transformed it for the movie, Dan said the process was as pain-free and satisfying as it could be. “Often when you hand something in or send something off there’s a delay, and as a creative person it can be crushing if you don’t hear something back even within a day,” he said. “And literally 10 minutes later, I got a call back and everyone was really into it and wanted it to be a single. It was one of the most satisfying experiences like that I’ve ever had.”

‘Other People’s Heartache’ part IV will be a “real mix of collaborations”

It’s been a few years since the latest instalment of the band’s mixtape series, ‘Other People’s Heartache’, was released. The fourth part is on its way, though, and Dan’s shared a little bit more information about it. Describing past editions as using “covers in other people’s songs as a starting point,” he explained this time around would be a “real mix of collaborations.” Who exactly will feature on it remains to be seen, but we’d wager it’ll be pretty impressive. It’s in the finishing stages so fingers crossed we’ll find out soon.

Bastille’s third album will acknowledge the anxiety of trying to have fun despite the current political climate

Dan previously told NME Bastille’s third album would be an “apocalyptic party record” and now he’s explained a little bit more about what exactly that means. They’ll still be acknowledging the world we live in, but the frontman says album three is more about “trying to have a fun time with your friends for a minute the context of that because I think that can be so overwhelming and anxiety-provoking.” Sounds like anyone who was present at Glastonbury 2016 and experienced trying to keep partying with Brexit hanging over them will be able to relate.

“Sometimes it’s necessary for your sanity to hone in on the things that you love and the people you enjoy hanging out with,” Dan added. Expect album three to be “much more intimate, probably slightly more inward looking, and fun.” We can’t wait.