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Back To The Bloc
Between solo records, fooling the press and penning his first novel, it’s a wonder that Kele Okereke had the time to reform Bloc Party, who with their fourth album, have just cemented their status as one of Britain’s finest guitar bands. With the record in question riding high in the charts, the frontman opens up to Celina Murphy about splitting up, getting back together and everything in between.
Celina Murphy, 13 Sep 2012
And the new record is certainly that. Marking a return to the band’s post-punk roots, it’s an urgent, aggressive affair that contains as many metal-influenced riffs as indie pop hooks.
“We were conscious about not repeating ourselves,” Okereke acknowledges. “We were very conscious of avoiding typical Bloc Party traits because this is our fourth record in and it’s very easy when you’re musicians to relax into the groove of doing what comes naturally, but there has to be an element of upset…
“It kind of dawned on me as we were writing these songs, if we were going to make a more jam, rock-orientated record there would be no point sitting back on it. We’d have to take it as far as we could take it as musicians, so I thought that was kind of interesting, making Russell suddenly become this super kind of metal Guitar Hero guy, because that’s not really been him in the past.’
‘To be honest, this was our most painless recording process,” he adds. “I’d come up with a riff and Russell would add his part and then Gordon would add this part and it would all come together quite organically, rather than us going in and one of us having a song or a set of ideas written and putting it to the others. It was important that there was like a natural collective synthesis. It was important that everyone came together, because we wanted to capture the sound of the four of us.”
The final track, ‘We Are Not Good People’ is one of the most harsh and striking on the album, which makes sense when Kele explains how it came about.
“That idea came from a realisation I had that Jesus and the Devil might be the same person,” he confides, “that the ideas of good and evil are really about perspective. Everything in life is duality and I’m seeing this now, I’m seeing this in every aspect of my life. I guess it’s about embracing aspects of your personality or aspects of yourself that you’ve been told to deny. It’s not about good and evil being opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s about them being opposite sides of the same coin.”