It’s my dream to stand in front of a burrito stand: Bastille front man Dan Smith

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Fans are eagerly awaiting Bastille’s appearance at festivals in the region this summer. And the band’s show at Portsmouth Guildhall in the autumn.

But they’re not their first shows round these parts.

Bastille front man Dan Smith

Bastille front man Dan Smith

In previous years Dan Smith and co have played the Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival, Blissfields near Winchester, Joiners in Southampton and even at Southsea Fest.

It’s just that they hadn’t hit the charts back then, so not many people knew about it.

It all began as a solo project for Londoner Dan Smith, named after the fact that his birthday is Bastille Day.

With a folk singer for a mum, music had always been a big part of his life, although he studied English literature and had no plans for a career in the record industry to begin with.

Then, in the autumn of 2010, he tentatively began putting his songs online.

A covers mixtape called Other People’s Heartache caught listeners’ attention and Dan began to play live with the help of a three-piece band.

Their debut album, Bad Blood, went in at No.1 in March and still sits at No.7 in the charts.

Latest single, Laura Palmer (named after the Twin Peaks film character) was released last week.

They’re doing well in Europe too. And previous single, Pompeii, has now had more than 19 million streams on Spotify digital music service.

Says Dan: ‘We’ve been touring pretty much non-stop this year, so we haven’t really had much time to take stock of it, which I think is probably a good thing.

‘It was such a weird surprise, and it continues to be one. But, having stopped and acknowledged that it was an awesome thing to have happened to us, it’s probably best to move on and get on with it.

‘The day that we found out we were No.1, we were playing a gig in Leeds, which is where Kyle [keyboards] and I both went to uni, so it felt like a bit of a homecoming gig, which was fun.

‘Then we had to get offstage, get on the tour bus and drive overnight back to London to jump on a plane and go to SXSW in America.

‘It was very humbling going from our gig in Leeds and our tour with our crew and the comfort of that straight to America, where we’d never played before and where no-one had any idea who we were.

‘Our gigs at SXSW were pretty ad hoc.

‘We borrowed gear and didn’t get sound checks and had to run on stage to play little gigs in pubs, which is exactly the way we started out a couple of years ago.’

From these small gigs in America, Bastille have gone on to play huge stadium shows with Muse and Dizzee Rascal.

Dan says he’s finding it all surreal.

‘We’re doing things that I never imagined we would do ever, particularly as I’m such a pessimist.

‘Just being in a stadium isn’t something people get to do that often, let alone standing on a stage and playing in one.

‘It was a really fun, weird, surreal, novelty experience.’

They’ve also gone from playing the Strongbow Tent at the Isle of Wight Festival two years ago to the Main Stage at the festival tomorrow night.

Remembers Dan: ‘We got lucky two years ago when we were just starting out, because it was pouring with rain so the tent was packed when we played.

‘It would have been totally empty without the rain, guaranteed.’

Bastille are no strangers to festivals round these parts.

‘Kyle is obsessed with Bestival, as am I actually, so that’s going to be really fun,’ says Dan.

‘I hope we get to stick around there.’

‘We’re also headlining Blissfields, which is such an awesome little festival that we’ve played at over the last couple of years.

‘They had us on when we just started as a band a few years ago and they put us on the main stage last year quite early on.

‘Now we’re headlining.

‘It’s really nice to be able to build relationships with people like that and have people who supported you right from the start help bring you through.

‘We’re so happy that Blissfields will be our first headline.

‘It’s a great festival and the people that run it are so lovely.’

Continues Dan: ‘We did some of our earliest gigs at Southsea Fest too, which is an awesome festival.’

As well as a whole lot of festivals and an autumn tour, Bastille are hoping to write and record another album.

They’d also like to find time to make another mixtape – Other People’s Heartache pt. 3.

‘We keep talking about it,’ says Dan. ‘And I would love to make one.

‘My ambition was to release one every Christmas, so that’s kind of what we’re working towards.

‘But, because we’re doing a little bit better this year, we might struggle to nick stuff quite so liberally.

‘We might have to go down the slightly more legal route of actually clearing quotes and covers and things like that!’

Bastille have also launched a side-project in the food industry.

Explains Dan: ‘As a band, we are all a bit obsessed with Mexican food, to the point where, when we’re on tour, as soon as we get to a new town, we generally seek out a burrito place straight away.

‘A big part of Mexican food is the hot sauces. And, eating at loads of Mexican places round the country, we’ve found loads of awesome novelty hot sauces.

‘With band merchandise, I think you can be as creative as you want.

‘Bastille Hot Sauce was one of those weird things that suddenly went from a joke to a reality.

‘Now it exists, which is completely nuts.

‘It was fun tasting all the different sauces and deciding how spicy we wanted it to be.

‘ We had to be reined in a little bit so we didn’t make it completely face-numbing.

‘I loved helping with the label design as well.

‘We just wanted to take the Mickey out of ourselves a bit.

‘Who knows? Maybe we’ll branch off into more flavours.

‘Our biggest dream for when/if the band falls apart, but even if it doesn’t, is to open Bastille’s Burritos.

‘It’s my dream to stand behind a burrito stand and make burritos all day for other people.’

Bastille play the Main Stage at the Isle of Wight Festival tomorrow, Blissfields on July 6, Reading Festival on August 23, Bestival on September 7 and Portsmouth Guildhall on October 9. See Bastillebastille.com