“Stop trying to be f**king poetic. Just say what you want to say”: Bastille’s Dan Smith on the pressure of making music following a hit single

Bastille broke through into the charts with their 2013 song, Pompeii.

Dan Smith of Bastille next to Marshmello on stage. Smith is singing into a microphone and Marshmello wears his signature white marshmallow helmet which has black crosses for eyes and a smiley face.

Image: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

Making new music after landing a hit single can be a challenge. Some may argue it’s a rather nice problem to have, but it can still be a tricky journey nonetheless.

Bastille knows this all too well. The band’s frontman, Dan Smith, has opened up on how they managed to bag another successful song after their 2013 track, Pompeii landed them at number two in the UK Singles Chart at its release.

Appearing on Nile Rodgers’ radio show on Apple Music 1, Deep Hidden Meaning, the artist and producer explained how they managed to reach the top of the charts once again with 2018’s Happier.

The track, which the band featured on alongside Marshmello, reached number two on both the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100. It’s the highest-charting single for Marshmello in both the UK and the US.

“It was interesting for me, I think it came at a time where, I guess, you slightly grapple in your head with will we ever have anything as successful as our first single?” he says. “Which I’m sure is a wonderful champagne problem to have because some people never have a song that does that.

“But I always like to think that it didn’t affect me, but I think it must’ve done on some level. The song just went and went and went and went and went,” he adds “And it was interesting, it was a really interesting lesson. It was like I always challenged myself to write about different things. And then with that song [Happier], maybe what resonated with people was it’s so on the nose.

“There’s some metaphor there, but it’s very much like, this is what I’m singing about. And it was fascinating to read [how] people react. People loved how direct it was. And that speaks to me. And as a songwriter, it was a fascinating lesson in sometimes stop trying to be fucking poetic. Just say what you want to say. Just fucking say it. Because it’s music to be enjoyed and to make you feel something. It’s not meant to be mental acrobatics all the time.”

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

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