The Courier-Mail

Ready to Party

MUSIC Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke says two members had to leave or the band would have been no more, writes Cameron Adams


If you have a problem with Bloc Party continuing after replacing two original members, you may prefer it to the alternativ­e.

The UK band’s frontman Kele Okereke says it was either a new Bloc Party line-up or no more Bloc Party

“If things hadn’t changed we wouldn’t be making any more music,” Okereke says flatly.

He and guitarist Russell Lissack are the last men standing in what Okereke calls the “Bloc Party reboot”.

Drummer Matt Tong left the band after touring Bloc Party’s Four album in 2013. In March this year, bassist Gordon Noakes tweeted he’d also exited, concentrat­ing on his new band Young Legionnair­e.

Okereke admits touring Four saw tensions within the fourpiece come to a head — they went on a hiatus soonn after, and Okereke released his s second solo album last year.

“At the start of 2013, 13, when we were touringng Four, I had kinda had d enough of this vibe,” he says. “I felt like if things ngs didn’t change it was the point for me to step away and do something ing else with my life. But things did change, I feel better for it.”

Okereke says he and Lissack planned to keep Bloc Party going, with two new members making up the rhythm section.

“I knew at the end of us touring Four that I wanted to make another (Bloc Party) record, with Russell. It felt like finally this big weight had been lifted from us as a band, we needed to make a record.

“Obviously everyone is aware of the line-up situation, this stuff is just coming to light now but we dealt with this two years ago. We had our figh fights and our con conversati­ons two years ago ago. It was a mutual dec decision, to be honest. I kne knew two years ago this is wh where I wanted to be.”

T The singer is careful wh when asked if there were any battles to keep the Blo Bloc Party name.

““How do I say this

“If things hadn’t

changed we wouldn’t be making

any more music”

KELE OKEREKE ON TOUGH MEASURES tactfully? Russell and I are Bloc Party and always have been. We write all the music. I wasn’t anticipati­ng there was going to be an issue with the name, it’s kind of a fact.”

Okereke and Lissack are now finishing the fifth Bloc Party album.

“We recorded the album with some people, we’ve been rehearsing with other people. It’s been an ongoing process.”

While he’s tight-lipped about the new members, they’ll be revealed when they do their first shows with the new line-up in LA on August 22 and 23.

Okereke isn’t sure if the album will come out this year (“I’m not the most businessmi­nded person”) but says the new-look band have recorded 15 songs to choose from.

“It definitely feels like we’ve moved into a different place in terms of recording and arranging. It’s us but it feels like it’s us in a way that we haven’t ever been before. It’s been very interestin­g watching Russell play the guitar, he’s using his instrument in a way I’ve never seen anyone use it. I’m excited to get in front of people. When we go in and listen to the new songs they feel like they’re coming from a different place. That’s a good feeling to have.” SEE BLOC PARTY, FALLS FESTIVAL, BYRON BAY, BETWEEN DECEMBER 28 AND JANUARY 3. TICKET BALLOT CLOSES TOMORROW. ANY LEFTOVER TICKETS ON SALE AUGUST 26



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