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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
Four years after the release of their last album Intimacy, the four fertile brains behind Bloc Party have reunited to create their punky and ragged fourth album, the appropriately-titled Four.
Granted, their biography currently resembles a scene from Sesame Street, but Messrs. Okereke, Lissack, Moakes, and Tong are nothing if not thorough. In the case of their minimal album title, they do know that Beyoncé got there first, right?
“I mean if anything, that was a reason to call the record Four!” laughs Kele Okereke in his hotel room in Honolulu. “That wasn’t the sole reason, but I’m probably the biggest Beyoncé fan in Bloc Party so I don’t think that thought was going through anybody else’s head other than mine!”
For Bloc Party fans, it’s been an agonising wait, not least because Okereke has been purposefully leading the press astray at every given opportunity.
A string of recent rock reunions, particularly that of Manc indie legends The Stone Roses, have been met with a rather senseless sort of cynicism, from the throwaway (“Another group of has-beens gunning for an easy pay cheque…”) to the ludicrous (“Shouldn’t they live out their final years in a dank, cavernous pit so the fans can remember them at their productive, youthful best?”) Have Bloc Party come up against any such hostility?
“Not really, because we never announced that we were splitting up,” Okereke reasons. “I think it would be different if we’d been away for ten years and we weren’t making a record and we were just touring. We got together again because we wanted to make a record, there was something that we wanted to be created, there was something that we felt that we needed to say.”
The backstage cameras at German festival Melt recently captured Okereke & Co. having a little pre-show cuddle. Can we assume that it’s also rather nice just having the old gang back together again?
“Yeah, it is, you know,” he says. “Russell (Lissack) right now is the person I’ve known the longest in my life. I met him when I was in secondary school, we’ve been on this journey together and we’ve seen so much together and it is comforting to have them all back in my life. We’ve been through so much together and it’s nice to know that we’re going on another journey again.”