British music culture today has two big prongs: indie dance clubs and giant, sprawling music festivals. The most successful bands from the country tend to be part of one scene or another. While some bands launch from the country’s underground discos into greatness, Bastille are a band firmly devoted to the spirit of playing to thousands of bouncing souls at an outdoor festival.
They have mastered the sweeping style of writing songs that play well in arenas, a very specific kind of song that David Byrne would explain is quite different from writing for CBGB’s (or, the Old Blue Last in London). It’s also easy to spot the lines of influence from great, beloved British indie bands, like Echo & The Bunnymen their dark videos mixed with a very specific seaside British imagery and The Smiths via the particular influence of Morrissey. Like him, the members of Bastille seem to constantly reference their preferred cultural touchstones in lyrics and the imagery they use to portray themselves. Oh yes, and there is also the considerable matter of singer Dan Smith’s Morrissey-esque pompadour.
“I think [my hair] has always been a bit ridiculous,” Smith said in an interview with Radio.com. “My massive afro.”
“It got to a point where it was bigger than the rest of your body,” continued bassist/keyboardist Will Farquarson.
A hairdo that started out with a relationship closer to that of Robert Smith of The Cure’s has morphed into a more controlled and pomaded look recalling Moz. But even in the moodiest and most cinematic of music videos, the largest and most sprawling of music festivals — Smith’s trademark hair can garner attention entirely of its own.
“I did it in a slight nod to Eraserhead and David Lynch,” Smith said of shaving the sides off of his wild mane.
“My sister, she’s a hairdresser back home,” said drummer Chris Wood. “She’s been getting a lot more requests now from teenage lads asking for the Dan from Bastille haircut.”
“I love that, you’ve become a haircut,” joked Farquarson.