Mariecar Mendoza

Bloc Party doesn’t need no education, yet the thoroughly schooled Essex rockers are still changing the face of modern art-rock. “Silent Alarm,” their 2005 debut, was voted by NME as the album of the year and broke through stateside as a cult favorite on underground radio. (And their remix album didn’t fare too badly either.) With an album of new material on the horizon, watch for the next wave of their British invasion soon.

The Art Beat met up with the band at Coachella, just before their blistering Outdoor Stage set. Though members, Gordon Moakes (bass) and Matt Tong (drums) were melting in the California heat, they warmed to a discussion on zombies, naughty words and the death of God. Bookworms never sounded so good.

Art Beat: How often do you guys tour?

Matt Tong: We spent about three months in the states last year and it went great. It got better and better, actually. It was hard work though, and a bit of a culture shock.

AB: How are you liking Coachella this year? You played last year too, right?

Gordon Moakes: Yeah. It’s great, but I wish it was indoors. It’s way too hot for us, again.

AB: Have you ever seen “28 Days Later,” that horror movie?

GM: Yeah, yeah.

AB: You look exactly like him.

GM: Really? What, the main guy?

AB: Yeah, the live one.

MT: I think he looks like one of the zombies.

GM: I didn’t like that movie. Thought it was overrated.

MT: Your work in it was pretty good, though.

GM: The paycheck was fine.

AB: So who are you here to see?

GM: I’m here to see that Bloc Party, I guess.

AB: I hear they’re OK. Do you guys have any new material coming out?

MT: We’re going to start working on the new record when we get back from this show. We fly back after here and go on tour in England for a month, and then we’re gonna record it and see what happens. It’ll probably be out next year.

AB: Any idea on how it will be different from the old album? I work at a college radio station and your album and remixes are really popular to play.

GM: I think we’ll be retaining the college-friendly elements, so let them know. And adding some extra spice.

MT: We’ll do songs like if you play them backwards, there’s answers to complex mathematical equations. And history essays, for some of those students.

AB: I love that!

GM: No man, you can’t play CDs backwards. You can wind it, but that’s never been an easy thing to do. It was easier in the old days.

AB: What are some other upcoming plans for you guys?

GM: I think we’re really about recording, ready for the next two months of us being creative in studio time. That’s going to occupy the near future.

MT: And we’re doing a little bit of touring this year, as prep work for the records. We’re coming over in August to the states again, for a couple of weeks this time.

AB: So what’s the creative dynamic like in Bloc Party? How do you write your songs?

MT: Normally we start with the bass and the drums. That’s why the singer isn’t doing any interviews, because he doesn’t really work.

(GM snorts)

AB: What’s your favorite British swear word?

GM: Swear word, really?

AB: Yeah, I enjoy them.

GM: OK – um, “tits.” I like that.

AB: That’s a swear word over there?

GM: It’s an epithet.

MT: I came up with a retro one the other day, and really liked it. What was it? “Twat.” That’s good. And “bollocks.” “Wanker” is a good one. What else? “Bottom” is a good one.

AB: That’s dirty.

MT: Yes, it’s very low-down.

AB: Is there anything you want to say to a bunch of college students?

GM: Um, bollocks. (laughs)

MT: Make sure you do all your course work. Go to bed early and eat well. That’s important for concentration in class.

GM: I would like to contradict that entirely and say that education is overrated.

AB: Did you guys go to college?

GM: Yeah, I’ve got a degree. (laughs) I finished my degree, as did Matt.

MT: I’ve got two and a half degrees.

GM: Matt’s super-boffy.

AB: What are your degrees in?

GM: Mine was in art, which was kind of easy.

MT: Mine were sociology and philosophy, also kind of easy. (laughs)

GM: Philosophy sounds quite tricky. What grades did you get? You have to know your stuff.

AB: I just took philosophy of religion. It was awesome.

GM: Yeah? Exactly, like that kind of stuff.

AB: So what do you believe in philosophically? Where did you fall?

MT: Nothing I studied sat too well with me, so I don’t know. Waste of money, it seems.

GM: I believe that children are our future.

MT: I guess I was pretty Nietzschian by the end of it. I thought it was all quite pointless.

GM: That’s not Nietzsche, is it? It’s more –

AB: Sounds nihilist to me.

GM: Yeah, I thought he was all about triumph of the will. No, uh, will to power.

MT: Well yeah, but you can’t do things which you weren’t meant to do, if there is no God.

GM: Killing God, then, that’s the thing, right? That’s quite a touchy subject, I imagine, over here in the (United) States.

AB: Nah, not at all.

MT: Killing God? Maybe I should call you a twat.

GM: But Nietzsche got rid of God, so that was his coming-out.

MT: I think we should bring God back, at a more appropriate temporary time.

AB: Maybe Bloc Party is God.

GM: Maybe!

MT: Oh, I don’t know. Let’s not go there.

Stacey Anderson is a journalism and music senior and KCPR DJ. She asks all you wankers to rock out at KCPR’s Garden Party music festival May 20. For details, go to Boo Boo Records, visit www.kcpr.org or e-mail her at standers@calpoly.edu.

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