BACKGROUND – early days
Bastille debuted in June 2010, with their 7"/45 rpm single, featuring the
two tracks, "Flaws" and "Icarus". Released through London-based
independent record label, 'Young & Lost Club', this was followed by the
release of the EP Laura Palmer later in 2011. After debuting further tracks
online through sites such as YouTube and MySpace, the band received a
great amount of media attention and fans. The group subsequently secured
a few support slots, and later performed at major UK festivals including
Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight and Blissfields.
BACKGROUND – hitting the big time
In December 2011, record label EMI Music announced that they had
offered Bastille a record contract with Virgin Records. Their debut
single, "Overjoyed" was released in April 2012. Their second single,
"Bad Blood" – which shares the same title as the band's first studio
album, followed in August 2012, and received moderate success in
the United Kingdom, charting at number ninety. The third track to be
taken from Bad Blood, titled, "Flaws", became the group's first to
enter the charts inside the Top 40, debuting at number twenty-one.
In February 2013, ahead of the release of their debut album, the
band's fourth single, Pompeii was released to huge demand, charting
at number two in the UK, and giving Bastille their first number-one
single in Scotland. Their first studio album, titled Bad Blood, was
released in March 2013, and debuted atop the UK Albums Chart
Social media links
reflect band’s younger
target audience and
Main image – looks random – taken from
latest music video. No images of band’s
faces – suggests an attitude of shying away
from limelight and/or band’s faces not being
central to their image.
Layout is basic, clean and simple. Homepage
dominated by main image promoting latest
music, not the
Latest music video starts
playing immediately when
you enter website.
serif, capitals –
Tabs along top edge – don’t detract from main image.
Other pages are very social media and new/live music-focused, with a simple, functional
design and mode of address, creating a sense that the Band are also music fans first and
foremost and that love of music is something they share with their fans. Also reflecting target
audience of young, media-savvy people and genuine music fans. No clear male/female
targeting. Branding/design is strong and consistent throughout site, as is presence of images
from latest video. Record co. influence evident especially in ‘Store’ section – merchandising
but otherwise efforts have been made to make the band appear ‘organic’ and with musical
There are no images of the band on the
front cover, suggesting that the band’s
‘brand’ is not dependent on, or even
linked to, their physical appearance. Also
follows conventions of rock artwork –
image is ambiguous, ‘arty’ and
juxtaposed with red text and name of
album has dark, sinister connotations.
Collage of black & white images of
the band in un-posed situations
allow fans to feel as though they
are looking ‘behind the scenes’.
This panel is within the booklet –
like a reward for buying the album.
Web-based and print promotion of the album
and associated tour is consistent with the front
cover of the album, cementing the image being
created and further enhancing audience’s
knowledge & understanding of the Bastille
‘brand’. Tour poster also advertises album
release date – cross-media promotion.
MUSIC VIDEO – Pompeii
The video – the
first taken from
the album – shows
lead singer Dan
Smith in a post-
running from an
leads to strange,
Directed by Jesse John Jenkins, released 2013.
There are lots of wide-
angle, long and very
long shots throughout
the video, giving it an
epic, cinematic feel and
connoting the enormity
of the city and the
within it. The setting –
a vast American city &
its outskirts, leading
finally to a mountain
top, also add to the
Close-ups of Smith are
relatively few – unusual
for an early video. The
rest of the band are not
in the video.
The lighting and colour palette are muted and
natural throughout, with much of the video
shot at night and the rest at dusk and dawn.
This adds to the cinematic feel and suggests
artistic integrity and commitment to the
video concept. This is further suggested by
the relatively minor performance element,
which although lip-synced direct to camera
still maintains the context of the narrative
and is subtle enough not to detract from the
verismilitude of the ‘film’.
The narrative follows Todorov
– the Equilibrium is Disrupted
by the appearance of the
black-eyed people, Smith runs
from them in an attempt to
Resolve and the final shot
(which mirrors one from the
start) shows that he has been
infected – Resolution.
The cinematic style and
narrative element are
looking – Smith
looking out of a
window and in a
Music & visuals –
pace of edits, cutting on
the beat and increase in
pace/frantic running &
camera movement as
Lyrics & visuals – ‘if you close your
eyes’ – links to black eyes; ‘walls
tumbling down in the city…’ –
links to city setting; video’s
narrative enhances song’s
Cross-media - Conclusion
The somewhat dark, sinister tone of
the video is consistent with the
band’s website and album cover.
Colour palette and visual style are
muted and naturalistic throughout,
with little in the way of images of the
band and no use of studio shots or
‘live’ staging of performances.
The image or ‘brand’ created throughout these various promotional elements is of
artistic and creative integrity, a desire not to be pigeon-holed (it is difficult to find
Genre characteristics across the branding) but a definite sense of quality through
high production values. We could suggest that the band’s reticence about being
‘famous’ is somewhat at odds with their mainstream label’s desire to make them a
big-money brand with mass appeal.
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