“It’s my absolute dream”: Bastille’s Dan Smith on working with Hans Zimmer for new version of hit track Pompeii

The track appears on the score for BBC’s new natural history show, Planet Earth III.

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Dan Smith of Bastille (left) holding a microphone on a stand and smiling. Hans Zimmer (right) holding one hand with a mic in it to the air, with his other hand in his jean pocket. He is smiling and looking down.

Images: (Left) Steve Thorne and (right) Francesco Prandoni / Getty

Dan Smith of Bastille has revealed what it was like to work with iconic composer Hans Zimmer for the score of BBC’s Planet Earth III, which landed last week on 22 October.

For the soundtrack, Zimmer and Smith recorded a new version of the Bastille 2013 hit, Pompeii. Smith wrote and produced the original song, which was the fourth single from their debut album, Bad Blood.

Speaking to Nile Rodgers on his Apple Music 1 show, Deep Hidden Meaning, Smith recalled how the collaboration came about.

“I met him and his team and they asked me to help with the music. So I’m working with Hans and these two other incredible composers. For me, I’m such a huge fan of so many of the scores that he’s done,” he begins.

“And they’re iconic, from the Lion King through to True Romance. I love True Romance so much that we actually sample the score from True Romance on one of our mix tapes. So to have come full circle and get to work with him…

“I worked on the opening theme for Planet Earth III and have been doing choral scoring over a bunch of the scenes. So it’s just been really fun. In a room like this, where we are backstage, windowless, arena room to then put some headphones on and watch a clip of a snow leopard. And then just try and add all of this vocal work to that,” he explains.

Zimmer and his team told Smith they wanted to create a new take on Pompeii, which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart at its release. It is still seen as their “breakthrough” track, and was overtaken by Happier as their most successful single in 2018.

“He wanted to re-orchestrate it for the closing credits and for the trailer for the show,” Smith says. “So we’ve now got this collaborative version of Pompeii with Hans and this orchestra. And it’s so amazing. For me, it’s my absolute dream getting to work on a score and on a TV show like that.”

Listen to the full episode of Nile Rodgers’ Deep Hidden Meaning on Apple Music 1.


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