What's the most inaccurate thing that's been said about Bloc Party?
Matt Tong: That we're miserable and overly serious. To an extent that can be true, because there are times that things become really tense and we'd much rather be at home by ourselves not doing anything at all to do with music. But I think the problem is that it's hard to reconcile ourselves with the level of success we've achieved, which is really limited in the grand scheme of things, but still far beyond anything we expected. With that obviously comes the whole influx of media and I don't think we're particularly comfortable people when a camera's put in front of us. It's got to the point where we can't really do interviews together as a whole band because it's just almost impossible to manage; we become so nervous and aware of treading on each other's toes it just seems pointless really. All you get is a five minute shot of some guys just staring at the floor, mumbling. So I think we never really come across as our true selves to that extent, and it was nothing we ever bargained for, really. We definitely goof around and joke quite a lot, and do some really stupid things sometimes, but nobody ever gets to see that.
Who came up with your name?
That was Gordon's idea. We had a succession of fairly forgettable band names-Angel Range; I think Kele wanted to call the band Diet at one point ... Anyway, we were calling ourselves Union for a while when we discovered there was another band with the same name. Somebody somewhere heard that they were getting a record deal so we felt it would be a good idea to change our name. And then the other band subsequently disappeared off the face of the earth. Nobody knows anyone who knew them or what they did. This band seemed to appear and then disappear again for the sole purpose of changing our name. Sometimes we feel like that was a real omen because changing the band name did sort of coincide with an upturn of fortune for us.
What was your motivation for starting the band?
We decided to try and make a viable alternative to the music that was around when we started playing together. We just felt that a lot of British bands were really lacking any sense of urgency or creative spark. We felt that we could do better and we didn't know how that would work out, but we felt we should at least give it a try. The four of us were so disappointed by bands who didn't know when to quit. We were interested really to see what actually happens to a band to make them lose whatever it is they have. And we always wondered if we'd be able to do that and kind of come out at the other end with our heads still held high. We still haven't set a time limit on this. If we last a couple more albums that would be great, and if we decide to call it a day after this year that would be sad, but maybe it would be for a good reason.
What sets your band apart from the others out there?
I think a lot of bands get caught up in the routine of touring, and promoting, and making videos, and prolonging the life-span of their record. When Silent Alarm came out, it had already been sitting around waiting to be released for six months. We were already looking to record some new material at that point, and we've got quite a lot of songs stored up now. We're a band that doesn't stop making music, even if we don't feel like it. You have to carry on, because there's always something worth retaining from a practice or a jam.
When you tour, do you get a chance to meet any locals on a personal level or is it hard now?
I met a lot of great people when we were in Austin. They took me out to a shooting range. Really down-to-earth people. Obviously, in some of the bigger cities you see some crazy kids. I mean they're all very nice, but I can't really deal with people bursting into tears and stuff.
Has that happened?
With increasing regularity, actually.
Do you think your music is for everyone?
No musician, or artist of any kind, should be that presumptuous ... Obviously we're a guitar band. You can't escape that because of the instruments we play and the kind of music we make. We'd like to think it could be for everybody, but we know we can't please everyone. We have just as many detractors as fans, that's for sure.
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|Date:||Nov 1, 2006|