Interview with Kele Okereke on Bloc Party Tapes
Recently, elektro got the chance to chat with Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke to discuss his work on the newly released Bloc Party Tapes. The 15-track compilation, as a whole, is a window into the mind of a musician who has conquered numerous genres of music with ease. Kele gave us a behind the scenes look into the making of Bloc Party Tapes, and what role electronic music plays in his life.
What made you decide to create a mix?
Kele: I was approached to curate a mix when I was just finishing up touring with Bloc Party, and I jumped at the chance. I thought it would be interesting because I haven’t really done much of that sort of thing before. I wanted to create a mix that would tell a story.
Based on the electronic influences in the music of Bloc Party and your solo project, is the electronic influences in Bloc Party just you?
Kele: It’s not all me. We are all influencing it in our own way. When we first started we would all go out to clubs together. Electronic music has always been a huge part of our life. We always saw the power, and respected club culture. It was something that influenced us as much in the beginning as anything else. It was something we all partook in.
Is pursuing a career as a producer and/or DJ in the future something that interests you?
Kele: Yeah, I’ve been DJing for the past 3 or 4 years. It’s something that I started just doing after shows and in my own spare time. For someone like me it had a great appeal, because you get to play the music you’re really excited about and that’s sort of nice. It’s quite selfish, but you get to experience a performance situation and entertain a room of people. It’s not about being on stage; it’s about conducting an energy. It’s something I really do enjoy. As far as producing, it’s something that would make sense for me to explore as someone who makes music. I wouldn’t be relying on other people so much to make the kind of music I want to make. I think having an interest in the technical aspects of producing is important. I’ve been doing this for 10 years so I’ve spent tons of time in the studio with producers, so I think the next step is exploring it for myself.
What kind of electronic music do you want to make?
Kele: Well at the moment I’m making house music, which has been fun for me. It’s not at all like what I do as a musician, so it’s fun to put on a different thinking cap and work with other musicians and singers.
Bloc Party tracks are notorious for being a great base for a remix. Out of all the remixes of you’re songs that you have heard, which is your favorite?
Kele: I think the M83 remix of “Pioneer.” There are so many, but that is the first one that comes to mind. The scope of the track is just like standing on the edge of the world. It’s very dramatic.
When you are making tracks, whether it be house music on your own, or your music with Bloc Party, are remixes something you consciously think about?
Kele: No, because you don’t have any control over how someone interprets your work. I think your job as someone that writes music is to make it the best that you can. It’s about making something that stands on its own.
In terms of your own musical taste, what producers are you listening to?
Kele: At the moment, I’m into Jacques Greene. This French guy Bambounou who is a part of the ClekClekBoom crew. This Australian group, What So Not, that Flume is apart of. There are a lot of people doing cool stuff right now, that’s the exciting thing about electronic music.
If you could work with any musician, who would it be?
Kele: I really like Cat Powers voice. I’ve been listening to her records a lot. I think whenever I hear her voice I feel like I could do so much with it. She has a very honest voice, and I really like that.