A few winters ago Chris Wood found himself going door-to-door in London, distributing flyers to offer his services as a drum teacher. It was, as he describes, a chance at getting out of a career of working at a factory. But fate dealt him a kinder hand, as one of the people who saw his flyer was singer Dan Smith.
“So it happened that he was around that time thinking he should get a band together, and it happened to be that same week that I popped up with the flyer,” recounts Wood. “Basically, he rang me up, expecting me to be this 60-year-old man with a beard and he was asking if I had any drum students that would be good, and I was like, ‘Nah, dude, I’ve only got two.'”
And so it goes that Wood — who is affectionately known as Woody — offered his own services and became the drummer for Bastille. Though the band’s success in the States has seemed rapid, there were years of struggle in their home country.
“In America, we were very fortunate in that we skipped some steps that most bands have to go through, like the stage where you are playing for 10 people at this bar, and then you drive 20 hours to play for 10 people at this other bar,” he says, noting that by the time they had come to the U.S., their debut, “Bad Blood” was already a No. 1 in England. “In the U.K. though we’ve seen it go from the very basic level where we were playing in pubs to where we are now.”
Where they are now is actually in the studio. When we speak with Wood, he’s literally in the kitchen of a recording studio, where the members of Bastille have just completed seven days of recording on their followup to 2013’s smash, “Bad Blood.”
But just because they found success the first time around doesn’t mean the four-piece won’t tinker with the formula.
“We’re using guitars for the very first time,” says Wood.
The way that the band members write has also changed. They’re now hammering out ideas together for the songs.
“I say songs, but it’s really kind of just ideas right now. There are seven or eight at the moment at varying stages of completion,” says Wood. “We’d love to play these songs live, but people would be like, ‘Why are you playing this half-finished mess?'”
But the process is still new and exciting for Bastille. Wood recalls that the early Bastille compositions were not as inclusive.
“In the beginning the songs were all actually written in Dan’s bedroom and then we’d go in and rehearse and sort of learn the songs. We’d be working all day and then go to the rehearsal space at about 10 at night and play until three in the morning and then get up at seven the next morning to go back to work . … It was obvious we all believed in it early on and we all stuck with it.”