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Interview:
Break reinvigorated Bloc Party for latest album
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

After six solid years of touring and recording, Britain's Bloc [cq] Party "needed" a break, according to frontman Kele Okereke. But he was never worried that what became a two-year hiatus endangered the group's existence.

"I wasn't concerned; if we didn't get back together, then that would be that," says Okereke, 30, who released a solo album and EP and collaborated with electronic artists Tiesto and Martin Solveig during the interim. "It can be quite draining spending all your time living in each other's pockets and being in the studio or on the road relentlessly, so we needed that time away.

"And if we didn't come back together you'd have to accept that everything comes to an end and fully understand that. If it had been our time to end, so be it. But it's not our time to end."

Bloc Party released its imaginatively titled fourth album, "Four," last month and has returned to the road with plans to tour well into 2013. Okereke says the break refreshed he and his bandmates, while the experience of recording in New York City also made a significant impact on the album.

"We were very focused, like in a bunker or a cave, almost, but as a city I feel New YOrk influenced my mindset writing these songs," Okereke acknowledges. "It's a very pressurized city. Everyone is living on top of each other and competing for space. There's definitely a very manic, furious kind of ethic that people have. It seems like you go to New York to get things done.

"I think that definitely inspired me, working on the record. To me this record definitely feels somewhat neurotic and energetic and bristly, and that was definitely my mindset at the time."

Bloc Party and Ceremony perform Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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