Unlike other bands, we don’t struggle to make ideas.
story by Garin Pirnia
Every year, several bands (particularly of the British variety) emerge with the tired moniker of “next big thing” crudely slapped to their asses by certain members of the adoring music press. Most bands find it impossible to live up to the hype but, happily, precious few somehow manage to pull it off. Last year Franz Ferdinand and The Killers defied the odds and became two highly successful next big things. And with three months into the new year, the much talked-about U.K. band Bloc Party continues this tradition – and appears poised to make believers of us all.
Bloc Party formed a couple of years ago, consisting of four twenty-something guys: lead singer Kele Okereke, bassist Gordon Moakes, guitarist Russell Lissack and drummer Matt Tong. Last year the band released the EP Banquet to much acclaim and on March 22, they will see the U.S. release of their first full-length, Silent Alarm, which has already received quite a bit of positive buzz and excellent reviews.
It’s easy to see why. The infectious party tune “Banquet” showcases funky bass lines and screeching guitars that gives the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Gang of Four a run for their money. The album offers a mélange of high energy and intense post-punk rock songs with an array of instrumentation, contrasted against softer, love-driven tracks like the poetic “This Modern Love” and “Blue Light.” The rest of the tracks occasionally evoke early Blur and the moodiness of Interpol.
Chicago Innerview spoke with Matt Tong about the band’s impending introduction to the world and all the excitement surrounding them right now: “We try not to pay much attention to it because it distracts us and makes it hard to make music,” remarks the humble Tong. He says they read the things written about them up to a point, but once again find it distracting and pointless because it’s the music that really matters.
To show off their new status of hot indie band, they will play at the coveted South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas along with 100 other bands and artists – including everyone from Elvis Costello to Vanilla Ice the week of March 16 to 20. “A bunch of bands that we’ve made friends with will be there, so it’s kinda like a family reunion. We’re looking forward to seeing shows, seeing bands we’ve been exposed to, and to support each other,” says Tong.
The guys are in good company, since everyone in the band collaborates with one another to create their music. “Kele has the ideas and we play until something sounds right. It’s a structure of ideas.” As for the dynamic of the band, Tong states: “When you play in a band, you have something in common, a fascination in music. We all have different tastes and have different things we listen to.” But those differences work for the band because their music is composed from an amalgam of influences.
Bloc Party constantly writes songs, and has several new ones in various stages of completion that they’d like to release sometime next year. “Unlike other bands, we don’t struggle to make ideas. The more things we get down, the more we can find something that works.” Spring is right around the corner: a time for rejuvenation, flowers blossoming, and the Bloc Party explosion – a rare band that lives up to the hype.
Bloc Party :: with The Ponys :: Metro :: March 31.