I almost peed in my pants when I first saw tweets regarding Bloc Party’s concert here in Manila! See, I haven’t been my usual music-lover self. Maybe it comes with age or something, I now prioritize rest/sleep and health over gigs or concerts. The last concert I saw was..hold your breath…NKOTBSB. LOL! That said, 2013 has been a good start with music-related activities especially with Stars(which BTW was an awesome concert!) and now..Bloc Party!
I was lucky enough to have been invited by Warner Music Philippines to be part of a conference call with Bloc Party’s drummer Matt Tong. The band was in the thick of touring in Dublin supporting their current album “Four”. This current release comes after quite a hiatus and is very much anticipated.
During the call, Matt and the motley crew of music press and bloggers talked about touring, BP’s writing and recording process, among other things and here’s a short excerpt:
Question:How did the long hiatus between “Intimacy” and “Four” influence your band/music?
Matt: It’s been very good for the band because we matured during those couple of years because we learned to value being in the band and playing together. Although the break, didn’t influence the way “Four” ended up sounding although that said, it turned out to be more of a “band-centric” record as opposed to “Intimacy” which was very much more studio and programming involved.
Q:What would be your writing and recording process for “Four”?
M: We probably spent a month writing songs. And then when we felt like we were ready to rehearse and record, we spent two weeks just playing the songs over and over again with our producer Alex Newport. This is where we discuss and debated over how each song should sound and Alex really made us think through what we really wanted from the whole album.
He would really sit us down and made us decide if certain parts were necessary or not. And that part of the process, pre-production was something we haven’t done before so by the time we were in the studio, we knew our roles which were pretty well defined on each song and it became very easy to get going once we started recording.
Q:Many people call your new album as your most honest record with “zero manipulation”, so how does it feel like being back to home base with just the four of you writing songs?
M: I think it was really liberating, we didn’t have a huge array of equipment to hide behind. There was also nothing to prevent us from asking questions and it made it easy for us to communicate what we were thinking.
Q:How do you prepare to record and to perform live especially with the amount of actual physical activity you do specifically in songs from “Silent Alarm” and “Intimacy”
M: While you’re on tour, it’s hard to be picky with what you eat but I try to eat a lot of Japanese food, a lot of fish. I try to stay away from carbohydrates particularly potatoes because they make you feel lethargic. In terms of exercise, I don’t particularly do a lot but I try to swim whenever I can. When I’m home, I try to practice the whole set list just to keep me sharp and maintain a level of performance. I don’t drink a lot either especially now I’m in my 30s but half an hour before the show, I drink a strong cup of coffee and do some stretches.
Q: If you had to make a mix tape to someone who doesn’t know anything about Bloc Party, what three songs would you put in first and why?
M: I think I’d put the first one as “Pioneers” from our first record since “Silent Arm”, whether we like it or not, is still considered as our defining album in our canon of recordings and it is still the one that people most refer to whenever I meet them. “Pioneers” sums up all the ideas in one song, and it represents that record and it represents us as a band.
I’d probably also include two extreme ends of our canon of songs- I’d put “Mercury” in there which is a song I’m most proud of. It used a lot of programming and is one of our less “indie rock” sounding songs. I still think it sounds interesting and it’s kind of a weird song. I’d also include a song from “Four” which represents our live performance like “Coliseum” and it also shows a more aggressive side of the band.
Bloc Party will head on over to our shores this March 22nd 8PM at the World Trade Center. Tickets are available at Ticketnet’s hotline 02-911-5555 or online.