Bloc Party frontman blames band’s line-up changes on drugs and ‘deep-seated issues’

Kele Okereke tells NME about Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong's departure from the group

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke opens up about why two of the band’s founding members left prior to recording new album ‘Hymns’ as part of this week’s NME cover story.

The band spoke to NME for the exclusive cover feature in this week’s magazine (available free in the UK from Friday, November 6). They discussed their new music and the “deep seated issues” that led to bass player Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong leaving the band in 2013.

Asked what led to the departure of both members, Okereke said that it was not one major incident but rather a collection of smaller things. “I can tell you it was about someone doing cocaine and someone not being into it. That’s all I’m gonna say,” he said.


“People think bands breaking up is sexy but often it’s super mundane, like not flushing the toilet or washing up. It’s often not about the flashpoints but deep-seated issues.”

The band recently unveiled their new line-up at two shows in the US during August, with bassist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle joining the group in the place of the recently departed Moakes and Tong.

Okereke says he is wary of sounding like a tyrant, but insists the old incarnation of Bloc Party had reached an impasse: “It was [change] or stop. I love what I do, so they had to go.”

He concedes that the new line-up might initially feel wrong for “people who have known us to be a certain way for a long time… but those fans don’t own Bloc Party. I’ve always been adamant I know what’s good for the survival of the band.”

Read the full interview and see the brand-new photoshoot in the all-new free NME, available nationwide on November 6 and on Find out where you can get your copy from the full list of pick-up points.

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