Bloc Party, the British indie-rock band that was rumored to be breaking up, released its fourth studio album this week, called, simply, "Four." "It's more of a live sounding guitar record," said bassist Gordon Moakes. "It's more of a guitar record than even our first record. Really. It has riffs."
We recently caught up with Moakes at the HARD Summer festival in Los Angeles. He assured us that Bloc Party was definitely supportive of frontman Kele Okereke’s solo efforts -- which sparked the break-up rumors. If anything, the hiatus gave the rest of the group the chance to work on projects of their own.
You’ve played some electronic dance music focused festivals lately. Did you feel out of place there as an indie-rock band?
Initially we did, but there was a big crowd and my assumption was that for the crowd, it was kind of a relief from incessant processed beats. The main problem we had was competing with the sheer volume of some of the DJs.
Our sound, ultimately, is a pretty organic one -- it's us playing instruments. Live, we're not really bolstered by much in the way of electronics, so we had to rely on that instead of gridded, pulverizing Ableton backing tracks.
Do you guys listen to any electronic music these days?
Between us, we listen to varying amounts of that stuff. Kele's more of an aficionado of that stuff than me, but I like quite minimal things like Sandwell District, Blanck Mass (a spin-off from Fuck Buttons) and I suppose more melodic stuff like Burial and DJ Shadow.
What was the reason for the band’s 2009-2011 hiatus? We’ve read that there were tantrums, breakdowns, and someone was hospitalized…
We were all just badly in need of a break. There's always going to be short tempers when you're tired and in a touring environment. (Drummer Matt Tong) had a relapse of his collapsed lung, which first struck in 2007, but he's fine now.
"Apparently -- although I didn't see it with my own eyes -- at a festival we played in Bogota, somebody crowd-surfed in a wheelchair."
Let’s talk about the break up rumors. Was there any bitterness towards Kele for working on a solo project or did the band embrace it?
No. We all did stuff outside the band in the last couple of years.
Kele aimed to have a year without music after releasing his solo album in 2010. Did he pull it off?
You'd have to ask him! Knowing him I'd be surprised, but it's an honorable idea. I can't imagine what it would be like. It's impossible to get away from music, right? It's everywhere.
What’s the most intense thing that’s ever happened at a Bloc Party show?
Apparently -- although I didn't see it with my own eyes -- at a festival we played in Bogota, somebody crowd-surfed in a wheelchair.
If the world really ends in 2012, what’s something you’d like to accomplish beforehand?
I'd really like to get home and cuddle my kids before that happens.
Follow Nicole Pajer on Twitter @NicolePajer for more news and updates.
- PHOTO GALLERY: Bloc Party Rocks HARD Festival in L.A.
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