|London based Bloc Party are undoubtedly the band of the moment. A few weeks ago they signed to Wichita, before that they had amassed plays on MTV2 and evening Radio 1 and mentions in newspapers and style magazines, all of it as an unsigned band.
Bluntly, Bloc Party are clever punk funk with glorious pop sensibilities, they are forever getting compared to Gang of Four, The Cure and, in terms of today’s music, The Rapture and the current Kings of Indie, Franz Ferdinand.
The band deserve success. A huge buzz follows them, yet they don’t make outrageous comments about excessive drug consumption or any such other buffoonery which can be quoted at ease. Instead they are an articulate and intelligent lot who are clearly aware of what they have before them. I asked bassist Gordon a few questions about life in the calm before the storm…
SXP: Your debut single is currently being sold online for upwards of £40, how does it make you feel?
G: I'm basically really puzzled about it, and faintly embarrassed, especially as so far we've had so little out already. It's the kind of thing you think goes with the territory of being around for ages, and having your early stuff made available. With us, there is no 'early stuff’; it's all current! We never planned it, at the time it came out we weren't sure if they'd sell at all. But hopefully it will right itself in due course. I think Ebay totally distorts the way music is consumed... but then if people are prepared to pay that kind of money, more fool them.
SXP: Who are your all-time heroes…
G: Thurston Moore, John Peel, Richey Edwards, Ian Curtis I s'pose.
SXP: …And which contemporary bands do you most admire?
G: At the moment I've got a lot of time for Kill Kenada, Ivory Springer, Sammo Hung and Jarcrew.
SXP: Because of all this anticipation do you feel a great deal of pressure to maintain the standard you've set for yourselves?
G: Not really. Pressure is an external thing, something that people invent, not something we feel between us. It's still a novelty to see ourselves in the music press and hear our songs on the radio. It's not like we've been thrown unwieldy amounts of money to make our music or made great statements about what we intend do, unlike some bands. We are quietly confident we'll be making some pretty good records and keeping people interested.
SXP: What festivals, if any, are you playing this summer? Any plans to venture abroad?
G: Reading/Leeds is confirmed I think, and there are lots of possibilities for playing festivals around Europe too. We're definitely going to be playing Summersonic in Japan in August.
SXP: What attracted you to Wichita and what's the deal with them?
G: We talked to a lot of labels and probably could have made records with a number of them. In the end we wanted to be working with people day in and day out that we just fell are seeing everything in the same way we are and not wanting to stamp their own agenda on it. Wichita are such nice people and are so enthusiastic about our songs, that nothing feels forced. It feels right.
SXP: When and how was Bloc Party as we know it formed?
G: As we know it, Bloc Party came together in November of 2002, although at that point it was called 'Union'. Kele, Russell and I have been playing music together for the best part of four years... but it was when Matt joined we could say we were a band.
SXP: How did the band's name come about?
G: We just kind of stumbled on 'Bloc Party' after we spent some time chucking names around without much success. It was really a pun on 'Block Party', with a twist that made it sound like something to do with the Eastern Bloc rather than New York. And that ambiguity suited us so we stuck with it.
SXP: When and how did you begin to realise that things were going well and you had something that was really working very well?
G: Between the four of us I think the first practice was a pretty good sign. After two or three gigs in this line-up we knew that people were paying attention, but it wasn't really until Lamacq played our song on the radio that I personally had a real feeling that people were sitting up and taking notice.
SXP: Are you comfortable with the term 'art-pop' or 'art-rock' to describe your music?
G: I don't lose sleep over it. People will insist on having a handle on things. The NME only this week said "art-rock seems too limited a word" to describe us, which is encouraging. Shows that people have an understanding of it.
SXP: Would you go so far as to play cd:uk if asked?
G: Wouldn't rule anything out!
Bloc Party are touring nationwide throughout June and more information can be found at www.blocparty.com