The track Happier by Bastille and featuring American electronic music producer and DJ Marshmello has been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify.

It has hit cumulative streams exceeding 3.5 billion. It is certified 5x platinum in the US and has sold more than 15 million units in the rest of the world.

The tearjerking video of the song has had more than 430 million hits.

It tells the story of a bullied schoolgirl whose best friend is her old dog and the dog dies.

Unlike most of its viewers, Will Farquarson didn’t cry when he saw the video, though it is spookily close to his own tragedy with his pet dog.

He explains: “When I was three years old, my mum brought a rescue dog home and it died on the day of my English A level exam.

“I woke up and the dog was dead in her basket. She was 16. My mum was more upset that I wasn’t traumatised but I had to go and sit my exam.”

The first he heard about it was when people started to message him, saying they had been reduced to tears by it.

“Normally, we are very hands-on with our video and artwork, but because that was a collaboration, we weren’t involved,” explains the Bastille bass player.

“Then I started to get tweets saying ‘Why have you done this to me?’ because they were so upset.

“I didn’t cry when I saw it, I was expecting something more devastating.”

Well spoken and with considered sentences, he’s thoughtful about his answers.

He finds the numbers involved in the band’s worldwide popularity hard to fathom.

“With streaming and Youtube hits, the numbers become incomprehensible,” he says. “With a record, it gets listened to and the numbers are comprehensible. A billion is a seventh of the world’s population. I can’t conceive how many people have listened to that.”

With songs of misery and heartache, whether about a couple forever entombed in the ashes of Pompeii, the awfulness of politics, the last night on earth, or realising that the only way of making your lover truly happy is to leave them, all set against uplifting beats and jolly riffs, the band are like a modern-day Smiths.

Will is surprised by being likened to the influential Manchester miserablists of the Eighties, then says: “That is a really flattering comparison.

“I have no problem being compared to the Smiths.

“We do try and juxtapose the music with the lyrics.

“A lot of the music around is love songs or autobiographical about relationships and Dan (frontman Dan Smith) always wanted to avoid being too obvious about his lyrics and use metaphors and leave them open to people’s interpretation.

“The first album, Bad Blood, was an angsty, coming of age album. When we met we were in our early 20s. When you are leaving university and moving into the real world, it’s not the most positive time.

“It is tough being young, especially nowadays.

“The second album, Wild World, was written in the run-up to Brexit and there was a lot happening around Trump. This is more about the human condition and a celebration of intimacy and love and seeing a way through the darkness and angst in human relations.

There is some positivity on there - Joy is about waking up with a hangover and being glad to hear from someone you care about.

“Creativity flourishes when there is some kind of angst. It is one thing people connect with - a shared experience of suffering and overcoming problems.”

Will still recalls the bad press the band received in their early days, even after the major success of Pompeii. He admits that they never read any reviews as a result.

The success of their breakthrough song still amazes him: “Now, looking back, I have moments of reflection and it is actually quite insane because the odds are stacked against you.

“It was pretty meteoric to go from pub gigs to playing the 02 Arena two years later.”

Reviewers say the band like to deal in concepts and that the first two albums were both based on particular themes, but Will says they “just happened that way” while Doom Days is the first time the band has actively set out to write about a particular subject.

That cheery subject being the end of the world....

Taking place over the course of a single night out – starting at 12.15am, as told through the hedonistic dance sound of the opening track Quarter Past Midnight, and ending on the kitchen floor at the break of dawn – Doom Days revels in escapism, embracing one last hurrah before the sun rises and reality beckons.

They have developed a specific stage show for the tour “in keeping with the house party vibe” of the album.

The album is played in its entirety with the set broken up into three acts and time-stamped like the album’s tracklist with apocalyptic scenes mirroring the record.

It comes to Carlisle at the weekend. Unsurprisingly, it sold out in minutes.

Will explains: “We try to create that world where you’re at a house party and there’s an apocalypse going on outside.

“Over the summer were doing collaborative stuff with a choir and a horn section and that brought a house party atmosphere. We have been calling it ‘the apocalyptic party album’. The idea is you are at a party and forgetting the apocalypse that is happening out there, whether that is a literal end of the world, or you just escaping your life.”

Will escapes the life of a worldwide pop star by taking pictures of churches on his travels and putting them on his instagram page.

“I met a model who chastised me for not taking enough selfies,” he admits. “I like buildings, particularly religious buildings. Europe is littered with great cathedrals and churches. My favourite is in Vienna, I don’t know its name or whether it is a church or a cathedral but it is a great, Gothic place.

I was lucky enough to visit Notre Dame just a couple of weeks before the fire.”

Obviously we told him about the glories of Carlisle cathedral. He says: “I will definitely visit it and I will Instagram it.”

  • Bastille, The Sands Centre, Carlisle, Saturday, November 30. Sold out.