Kele Okereke reflects on revisiting Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’ – and thoughts of touring ‘A Weekend In The City’

"A lot of the themes from that record have come full circle"

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke has spoken of the impact of touring to celebrate their seminal debut ‘Silent Alarm‘, and how they may yet do the same for their second record ‘A Weekend In The City‘.

Their debut album came out back in February 2005. Having had a change of heart after previously calling anniversary tours “cynical” and “cringey“, the band played special shows in the UK and Europe back in October in honour of the record. Now ahead of more UK shows in 2019 following his new musical ‘Leave To Remain‘, Okereke has told NME of how he find it an “enjoyable experience” to breathe new life into the songs.

“I didn’t really compute what it was going to take physically or emotionally,” Okereke told NME. “I didn’t really want to think about that. It was only when we started rehearsing that I started to inhabit the songs and go back to the place that we were when we made the music.”

He continued: “I feel like I have been quite candid over the years on my perspective on looking forwards, not looking backwards. For the people around us, our crew and our manager who have seen us perform over the years, everyone agreed the way we performed the music was the best that ever have. That was reassuring for me, on a personal level – that 13 years after releasing that music, we were still able to bring it to life.”

Okereke added: “I don’t want to speak disparagingly about our either of our two former members, but I do feel that the way we play now is definitely a lot more confident. I’m just excited to see now what we can do as a band in our own right.”

Asked if Bloc Party would ever celebrate any of their other albums by performing them in full, Okereke said he “wouldn’t say no” – calling out a renewed political relevance for their second album.

“It’s funny, I was talking to a journalist that interviewed me around the time that ‘A Weekend in the City’ came out.” he told NME.  “It was interesting speaking to him a few days ago because a lot of the themes from that record have come full circle and are very much apparent in public discourse right now. That record feels, to me, very prescient.

“I don’t know, I’m definitely open to it.”

However, the format that these shows might take could be more of joining the dots between their back catalogue.

“A friend of mine was talking to me about something that The Cure used to do, or still do,” said Okereke. “Rather than just revisit records on their own, they would play shows from records that they felt were connected to each other. I think that might be an interesting thing to do because I can already see connections now between some of the music that we’ve made and some of the places that we’ve visited. I think that’s interesting: to draw parallels, at least, between the works that you’ve made.”

Okereke also told NME that while he has just finished another solo record, Bloc Party would be reconvening soon “just to shoot the shit” as to their next album.

“I feel what is going to be what most prescient thing is really capturing the energy of the band as it is,” Okereke said of where he hopes to take Bloc Party’s sound from here. “I have all these other outlets to make different types of music and I think when we get together it’s really going to be about just seeing what we do instinctively; not thinking too much about the process and just enjoying it.”

“Right now it still kinda feels like we are a new band because of our two new members. It feels a little bit like we still have to make a record all together. I’m excited now to get back into the studio with everyone.”

Kele Okereke’s ‘Leave To Remain’ soundtrack is out now. Read the NME review here.

‘Leave To Remain’ will run at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre until 16 February 2019, with tickets available here.

Bloc Party’s upcoming ‘Silent Alarm’ celebration tour dates are below.

June
28 – Bristol Sounds, Canon’s Marsh Ampitheatre
29 – Brighton Centre

July
5 – Manchester Castlefield Bowl

August
9 – Glasgow Kelvingrove Park Bandstand