Ahead of Boston date, Bastille drummer talks politics, fatherhood, and new album

The British electronic pop band will help close out summer with an outdoor show that offers escapism as empowerment.

Will Farquarson, Chris ‘Woody’ Wood, Dan Smith, and Kyle Simmons of Bastille. credit Piczo
Will Farquarson, Chris ‘Woody’ Wood, Dan Smith, and Kyle Simmons of Bastille. –Piczo

It’s a Friday night in late summer and Chris Wood is at home in Brighton. No, not the fun-loving neighborhood in Boston —  the lively, hip seaside town on England’s south coast for which Boston’s Brighton is named.

This might not be too unusual, this young man sat at home at a weekend, especially as he has a new baby to care for, but, as the drummer in the UK electronic pop band Bastille, the scenario paints a rather charming and far from raucous rock and roll picture.

“I am at home baby sitting while the missus is out for a few drinks with the girls,” Wood, whom everyone calls Woody, explained during our telephone interview. “As soon as I get off tour, it’s back to nappies now.”

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Though proper touring for the band’s June released third album, “Doom Days,” won’t begin for two weeks, and will see the band back in the US launching the first leg in Philadelphia before heading to Boston, Sept. 17, for its second show, the summer was busily spent playing festival dates, including a spot on the mighty Glastonbury Pyramid Stage.

“It was an amazing experience,” the chirpy Plymouth, Devon native recalled. “That was a highlight of our career so far, without question. It’s an experience that ticks every box.”

That pinnacle aside, the band, which is led by singer Dan Smith and includes multi-instrumentalists Kyle Simmons (keyboards, synths) and Will Farquarson (bass, guitar), is itching for more focused shows: “We will be playing to our own crowd this time,” he added of the upcoming headline touring. “We did a couple of low-key headline shows this summer, but mostly we’ve only played to festival crowds. This tour is when we really get into it.

“We built the spine of the show and have been fine tuning it over the summer,” he continued. “It does have a narrative arc; we are not just playing songs randomly and banging it all out. We’re really proud of this record.”

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“Doom Days” features anthemic, dance-y pop songs that trace a night out on the town, one where after-midnight experiences and emotions careen almost out of control in a pumping, but melodic electronic melee. A soothing comedown shows up in contemplative ballads built with acoustic elements and space.

“With this album we responded to two things: the state of play around the world and the mess; and also the way we’re dealing with it,” Wood said. “How are we going to deal with all that without driving yourself mad? The answer was in being a band together and looking at night life and escapism.”

Unlike previous albums and tours, Bastille might be avoiding direct political commentary this time. But Wood is clearly exasperated by the global political climate, particularly that in the British parliament.

“It’s pretty hard to avoid it all at the moment and, for want of a better description, it is an absolute f****** shambles,” he said tersely. “I have not experienced such a poor quality of politicians as we have now. The blatant lies and not being held accountable is unbelievable.”

Escapism, he said, isn’t necessarily sticking your head in the sand, it can be re-booting.

“Stepping back can give you a clarity of vision and some perspective on what’s a realistic solution,” Wood mused. “Escapism can be empowering.”

(Bastille: Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion, Boston; $25-55; all ages; with Joywave; tickets available here)

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