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What are you bringing to the party?

Bloc Party: Part Two

[Part 2 of 2] Read part 1 of the interview

 

[more:]Prefix Magazine: You’ve said that the name Bloc Party is not a political reference and that you aren’t a political band, but certainly “Helicopters” is a political song.

Bloc Party: Yeah, I think we’re finding it increasingly hard to deny. I think what we objected to initially was the idea that we had political ideas to preach, when really it was more about an awareness of things rather than to inform listeners or define ourselves by our ideas.

PM: What do you feel is a musician’s role in politics, if any?

Bloc Party: I think it can be inspired. But you just have to find a middle way and make sure you know that you’re a band and you’re not trying to change the world or anything. On the other hand, I think we despair of bands that have no sense of the world around them. What’s more political than being a part of this international structure that is the music industry? But we are trying to pace it all because a lot of songs are really personal. But on the other hand it’s important to be aware of the world around you.

PM: What is the general writing process for the band?

Bloc Party: Most things start with an idea, and a lot of them come from Kele. We just build things on top of that, you know, our own take on what it should sound like. It’s pretty open. We’re often working toward something that we can all kind of feel. We just need to find the right expression of it.

PM: I think the strength of the rhythm section really comes across on the album. What do you feel you bring to the band personally and why did you choose to play the bass?

Bloc Party: My brother played the bass so there was always one I could pick up and play around on. But I always heard the bass line of songs, and that always attracted me, so I would play along to songs. I really liked Joy Division, and they made a difference because a lot of their songs were about the bass guitar and the guitar parts were kind of texture. I found that quite interesting.

When I joined this band, I think we just sparked. They were looking for a bass player that could support what they did, but also had their own ability and vision. Playing in this band makes it quite fun to play the bass because the space is there for something distinctive but not overbearing. The bass shouldn’t be showy. It should be decisive but you should be able to spot it straight away. I think a lot of people play the bass out of necessity to balance the guitars, but I really do love it. It’s my favorite.

PM: You mentioned Joy Division, whom Bloc Party have been compared to often. Does it bother you when people compare you to past bands?

Bloc Party: It’s inevitable. But whoever it is, it’s bound to be either a small part of what we do or missing the point, you know. I don’t think we’ve ever specifically referenced other bands, so you can’t really get it right or get it wrong. People have their opinions based on what they’ve listened to or what they think we’ve listened to. But it’s a difference of opinion at the end of the day.

PM: You’ve also been compared to Franz Ferdinand. Do you feel part of the movement to move rock back to the dance floor?

Bloc Party: It’s not something we’re attempting to do; it’s just a natural expression to the music we play, based on the music we’ve grown up with. It’s not a studied idea as I find it can be with Franz, who are certainly saying they’re trying to get people to dance again. With us, we’d just as soon listen to, you know, Basement Jaxx or DJ Shadow or Daft Punk. It’s not something we’re trying to force into our music.

Bloc Party - What are you bringing to the party? Death from Above 1979 Jesse Keeler and Sebastian Grainger want to keep you dancing
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