Bastille talk politics, young voters, ‘Theresa May in drag’ and why they’d never play ‘The Tory Glastonbury’

'It's tragic that older generations are voting for a future that the younger generations don't want'

Bastille have spoken out to hail the engagement of young voters, while also revealing why they’d never play The Conservative Party’s suggested alternative to Glastonbury. Watch our video interview with the band above.

Speaking to NME backstage at Reading & Leeds 2017, the band discussed how their next album is likely to lean more towards escapism than the politicised nature of 2016’s ‘Wild World’.

“I think the last record was a conscious decision to acknowledge how complicated and messed up world events seem,” Bastille frontman Dan Smith told NME. “Not in a worthy way, but you switch on the TV or go on Twitter and you can’t help but see these sadly regular events that are so shocking. Maybe that’s just the nature and the narrative of the news or whatever, but it just seems particularly fraught and mad.

“For us, it was just trying to write songs that acknowledge these things are happening, and also how it’s quite complicated to figure out how you should react to them. Obviously there’s no right answer. We wanted to make a record that was conscious of the current times, but also we’re not looking to preach or push a political agenda.”

Smith added: “It’s just kind of unavoidable in our minds. We’ve come to this realisation that as much as there’s a responsibility to talk about things, people listen to music and come to festivals to not think about that as well. Going into the next phase of what we do, we’re not looking to extend that. We don’t want to be those guys at all.”

Bastille wowed Reading & Leeds this weekend with a live show loaded with political imagery – taking the time to bash both Donald Trump and Theresa May. Smith said that ‘the tour was intended a heightened version of things on the album’, aiming to be as ‘provocative and ‘interesting’ as possible.

“It’s the first time that we’ve had Theresa May in drag behind us for ‘Fake It’, we didn’t really clock it in our minds until we played that song,” said Smith. “Actually, he/she popped up for a minute during ‘Good Grief’ which is much earlier in the set and it was just quite fun hearing the crowd be like, ‘what?’ “

Meanwhile, Smith also said that he found the engagement of young voters ‘heartening’ following on from the last election, but that it was ‘tragic’ that older generations were voting for a future that they themselves would not inherit.

“That’s the really fascinating thing with the UK at the moment; looking at how many young people came out to vote and who they voted for,” Smith continued. “There’s such a huge generational divide of older right and younger left. It’s kind of tragic that this older generation is voting for the future of their children and their grandchildren, and it’s not the future that younger generations want.

“The fact that there was a campaign to phone your grandma and convince her to not vote Tory – that says so much.”

“I can’t believe we get to do this. Thank you for being here", Dan Smith told the Reading crowd.

“I can’t believe we get to do this. Thank you for being here”, Dan Smith told the Reading crowd.

Meanwhile with Reading & Leeds aside, The Conservative Party are organising a one-day festival after seeing the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s Glastonbury appearance at Glastonbury earlier this year. Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman is credited with the idea, the aim of which is said to be increasing the party’s grassroots support.

Would Bastille consider playing what many are dubbing as ‘The Tory Glastonbury?’

“That’s not a weekend that we’ll be rushing to in a hurry,” said Smith. “Corbyn got the biggest crowd I’ve seen at Glastonbury. In my nine years of going, that was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. Well, Corbyn and Craig David.”

Kyle Simmons on keys added: “Who would play it? I’m so interested. It would be career suicide. ‘Oh, shall we play this thing? Oh, that’s that last gig we ever did!’ I can’t believe that’s a real thing. They find anyone to do it.”

Talking to NME about ‘the Conservative Glastonbury, MP George Freeman said: “Contrary to media reports the inaugural ‘Big Tent’ Ideas Fest that I am organising is not a music festival, but a political Ideas Festival to explore fresh thinking for grassroots renewal of mainstream politics.  This year’s initial event is a gathering of c.200 leaders of grass-roots renewal to share ideas for a potentially bigger open event in 2018.  Watch this space.”

Watch the video above as Bastille also discuss the potential of headlining Reading & Leeds in future, their next album, and Green Day’s response to their cover of ‘Basket Case‘.