British quartet Bastille may be named after a fallen French monument, but the rock band has been on the rise since their debut album release. And beside their apocalyptic hit “Pompeii,” the group is well known for their imaginative covers of popular music.
As an indie rock band, their tendency to cover pop songs is rather unexpected. But leading vocalist Dan Smith explained to MTV News that this trend is no coincidence. “I think pop music is quite nice and malleable, and it’s nice to take quite frivolous songs and make them really serious.”
Bastille undertook Miley Cyrus‘ “We Can’t Stop,” adding some of her dad’s “Achy Breaky Heart,” a bit of Eminem, and topped it off with riffs from “The Lion King.” Fans loved the Live Lounge BBC performance so much, the band joked that they needed to retire from covers.
Despite this success, the group admitted that they did not get into the business of covering songs exactly by choice.
“The first cover we ever did was ‘What Would You Do?’ by City High,” they said. “When we started out, we didn’t have enough songs to play a full set, so we had to throw that one in. We did it because it’s one of those songs that everyone knows, and everyone seems to know the chorus by heart, but no one knows who it’s by, and no one knows where they know it from.”
After “What Would You Do” did so well, the group made it one of their regulars, teasing that some of their fans even believe it’s a Bastille song. “Some of our younger fans think we wrote it. Some people are too young to remember it and are like ‘That song’s weird. When was Dan a stripper?’ ”
Bastille went on to make two mixtapes of obscure covers that they considered a “warm-up” for their studio album Bad Blood. The foursome is currently touring the U.K.