Bastille releases the evocative animated video for new track “survivin’,” directed by London-based British/Iranian director, Reza Dolatabadi. The collaboration follows the video for their song, “WHAT YOU GONNA DO???,” which marked a seismic visual shift for the band.
The animation for “survivin’” draws on both Reza’s love of American realist artist, Edward Hopper and frontman Dan Smith’s admiration for surrealist film maker Federico Fellini. Dolatabadi’s passion for street photography also provides inspiration, creating an imaginative, atmospheric short that gently brings the falling away sentiment of the song to life.
Working remotely during lockdown alongside a team of animators from all over the world, the ambition for the piece was to create a compelling, cinematic dreamscape worthy of the big screen, “Overall, I wanted to give the video a grand feel, almost like it belongs on the big screen, and for that we had to build a city in 3D, lock all the camera angles and movements and then animate our characters over the 3D layouts,” Reza explains. “Animation is a teamwork. I have to say I’ve been so lucky to work with an incredible team of artists from all over the world on this project. Without their dedication and attention to details, there was no way I could have finished this ambitious piece.”
The video for “WHAT YOU GONNA DO???” was made in the same period using a similar combination of mixed media, illustration and photography, as well as live action to deliver a piece that’s winningly berserk.
“survivin’” has been described as “a tonic for these troubled times” by Clash. It’s a lyrically vital and sonically intrepid song about the version of ourselves we choose to give away to others. Against a captivating different sonic backdrop, Smith hits a new level of directness and honesty, as he reflects on anxiety, self-doubt and the sometimes overwhelmingness of modern life.
Dan began work on “survivin’” months before 2020 turned on its head, intending it to be a frank account of the highs and lows of Bastille’s seven years in existence. “There’d been times when I felt like I’d been in a washing machine and on a conveyor belt at the same time,” he says, “but when people asked me how I was doing, the answer was always the British cliché: ‘Yep, all good, fine.’”
“At the start of lockdown, I felt very self-conscious about having written a song that felt relevant when it wasn’t intended to be, but then I also think 2020 is the year we all stopped pretending everything’s fine.”
“survivin’” is infectiously sparse and packs in pop-cultural references alongside constantly surprising musical moments. From the opening drum loop and rolling baseline, to the sudden ensemble of flutes offset against moments of hard auto-tuned vocals, to the chorus that hits like a “warm enveloping hug from a gang of friends.” There’s also copious sax courtesy of Bastille’s touring member Rittipo“We wanted his sax lines to be obnoxiously loud, and we wanted them to make people smile,” Dan says.
“survivin’” showcases a new, groove-led sound for Bastille, and along with “WHAT YOU GONNA DO???,” is typical of Bastille’s new expect-the-unexpected sonic identity!