“Quarter Past Midnight,” Bastille’s new single, is an escapist anthem with breakbeats and drum fills loosely inspired by ’90s dance music plus a euphoric hook that is an unmistakable signature of the UK band.
“We keep on running, running through a red light, like we’re trying to burn the night away,” sings frontman Dan Smith on the song’s vivid, cinematic chorus. He explains, “‘Quarter Past Midnight’ is about trying to capture that moment of a night out. Some people are gonna go home; for some this is just the beginning. It became about being in someone’s car, driving through the city. I wanted to try and capture that sense of excitement, and that rush.”
Recorded and self-produced in the band’s newly built studio – “an old porn studio that we turned into a place that could be ours” – which also houses Smith’s record label Best Laid Plans (Rag N’Bone Man, Rationale), the song’s nocturnal setting evokes the infinite possibilities that darkness brings.
“It’s way easier to escape in the night time,” says Smith. “Places that aren’t normally open are open to the world, and the places that you associate with reality and work are all shut down. There’s a parallel universe that exists, and this other set of people who are out and about.”
The five months Bastille spent in London recording new music was the longest they’ve stayed in one place since releasing their RIAA certified Platinum debut album, Bad Blood, five years ago. The four-piece – comprising frontman Smith (who is the sole songwriter and co-produces all the tracks alongside Mark Crew), keyboardist Kyle Simmons, bassist/guitarist Will Farquarson and drummer Chris Wood – has played over 500 shows across six continents, including their recent, critically acclaimed ReOrchestrated tour, which London’s Evening Standard praised as “brave, brilliant and a bit bonkers…the sound of a band breaking down barriers and pushing out of their comfort zone.”
Introduced stateside in 2013 with the single “Pompeii,” which is now 6x Platinum, Bastille has had five Top 5 hits at Alternative radio. Globally, the band has sold upwards of 15 million adjusted singles and six million adjusted albums. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “Brit pop’s new crown princes,” the band now has more than three billion streams across all platforms. Since winning British Breakthrough Act at the BRITs, Bastille earned GRAMMY®, AMA and MTV Europe Awards nominations. The band’s “World Gone Mad” was the lead single from the soundtrack for the 2017 Netflix film Bright. Starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, the film is one of the site’s most streamed programs ever. The official video for “World Gone Mad” has more than 10 million views.
It was only in stopping to take a breath that Smith was able to reflect on Bastille’s journey. “Our first album was pieced together over a period of time, and then we never stopped to make our second record, we just carried on going,” Smith recalls. “So it was really unusual and awesome to stop, properly focus on one thing and live a life in London for a while.”