An den englischen Indie-Rockern von Bloc Party war insbesondere Mitte der 2000er kein Vorbeikommen. Songs wie „Banquet“ oder „Helicopter“ sind einem bis heute im Kopf und wurden seit Einführung von Streamingplattformen millionenfach abgespielt. Seit 2015 ist Louise Bartle Schlagzeugerin von Bloc Party und anlässlich des neuen Albums „Alpha Games“ haben wir sie virtuell zum Interview getroffen. Es ging um ihre Mitwirkung am neuen Album, ob sie früher die Musik der Band gehört hat und darüber, dass zu viele Gedanken das eigene Handeln blockieren können.
Frontstage Magazine: How are you?
Louise Bartle: I’m good. It’s sunny.
Louise dreht die Kamera zum Fenster.
Frontstage Magazine: Wow. Nice.
Louise Bartle: Once in England. So, I’m just trying to enjoy that. I’m good. How are you?
Frontstage Magazine: I’m fine. So, let’s start. How would you describe the new album “Alpha Games”? I read already that you described us as “angry”. How do you mean it? Because for me, it doesn’t feel so angry.
Louise Bartle: Interesting. What does it feel like to you if do you have like an emotion or anything?
Frontstage Magazine: It’s completely mixed up because it’s from every feeling a bit and so it feels like a soundtrack. For every emotion you have in your daily life, there is a bit what fit.
Louise Bartle: I see. Yeah, I agree. Actually, I think there’s elements of anger. That’s why I think it’s been said that it’s like quite angry because there are few angry songs. But yeah, I think there’s a mixture of different things and it’s a definitely a journey as well. Like it goes through a journey of anger and there’s a love song on there. Like, you know, if we get caught more like delicate and sweet and then “Peace Offering”, which is kind of like. I think the end of the journey of anger, it feels like. The journey that the album goes through when it gets to the last song. I think “Peace Offering” is a love song and it just feels like a more hopeful in a way song slightly. But I don’t know. Yeah, the album to me is just like it still is quite an angry album and it’s got a lot of attitudes. And yeah, just it’s the first record that I’ve been involved in with BLOC. It’s the first time I’ve played on an album, so it’s special in that way. It’s kind of nice to have done it finally, so I’m happy about that.
Frontstage Magazine:That was also part of one of my questions. This album is the first one you recorded and wrote with. You played with BLOC PARTY for several years now and did some tours. And this is it’s the first time you can hold something in your hands. So – how is it?
Louise Bartle: It’s it feels good. Like I’ve won. I’ve wanted to do it for a really long time and yeah, it’s happened. It’s taken like seven years, I think. I’ve been in the band for seven years, although let’s say two of them have been during a pandemic. So not much you could do. But yeah, I think it’s, it’s a really nice feeling because I’ve wanted it to happen for a really long time.
Frontstage Magazine: Do you feel now like you are “more part of the band”?
Louise Bartle: Yeah, I think so. I think we’re on the way to it because I think. Joining a band that has been around for – I don’t know – 15, 20 years with different people you’re not going to feel like part of the band straight away. You’re just not because, you know, there’s a legacy. There’s a way it’s been going and I’m new and it’s weird for everyone, but I do think I feel like this is the start of feeling like included creatively as well. And hopefully there’ll be more. Hopefully we can continue on that journey and just get closer through that because I think it doing it makes you feel a bit more yeah, as you say, involved but closer to the band as well because you’re actually part of something as opposed to just playing what’s already. Been done. You’re just like. Just, you know…
Frontstage Magazine: You mean the live drummer thing?
Louise Bartle: Yeah. Not just only the live drummer, but actually involved. And I’d like to. I think we could. I think we could. I think there’s even more in there. I think I hope so. But yeah, this is a great start.
Frontstage Magazine: Have you heard the music of BLOC Party when you were younger? Because the band started so long ago, you were nearly a kid when they started.
Louise Bartle: Yeah, I was 12, I think, when they put “Silent Alarm” out the first record. But what was the question? So, I know them.
Frontstage Magazine: Have you heard it? Have you been quite a fan or that the music “influenced” when you grew up?
Louise Bartle: So, I had never heard of BLOC Party one, which I know is like kind of crazy. But yeah, I’d never heard of the band, I think, because I was like 12 to 14 when they were at their like height, like 2005 to 2007/2008 was like the big kind of crazy time. And I think I just missed it. I mean, I was 12 to 14, 15 years old and I was sort of going through listening to, I don’t know, weird, I don’t know. I don’t think I’d gone into rock yet. I’d always listen to rock a bit, but I think I was still on boy bands and like, silly, you know what I mean?
Frontstage Magazine: Everyone had this phase.
Louise Bartle: Right, but it was right after that. But I got into Paramore and stuff. So, I just I feel I just missed them. But I think if I had known them. Then it would have been bad because I don’t think they would have wanted a fan in the band, you know, like “oh, my God, I love you. Oh, my God. Your music so good.” You know?
Frontstage Magazine: Yeah, and I know what you mean. When you see videos of that time today, would you like to have been part of that „big thing“? Because now it’s a little bit smaller than in the past.
Louise Bartle: No, I think that I don’t. It’s difficult to answer that in in one way. Like that looks really fun and stuff but also, I think that I don’t know if I would have been the right fit back then. I mean, obviously I would have been a 12-year-old. But like, if I if I was if I was me now and I could go back in time, I don’t know. I think the way it was, was really good. I think there’s nothing but respect. I feel nothing but respect for the previous members and the music they wrote together in the original set up. Like, I think it’s really strong and really good and I don’t think that I, I don’t think, oh, I wish I’d did it because that takes away from who actually did come up with those drumbeats and those guitar bits and the vocal like it is. It was a moment and it’s their moment. It’s not my moment, you know, like I’ll make my moment as well. I feel I have enough motivation to create my own moment, whatever it’s like in BLOC Party, which I hope it is, or it’s like putting out my own music, you know, we all have our own voice, and we all have our own opportunities, if that makes sense. So, I don’t need yeah, I don’t feel that way, but I’m, I’m happy that it was big and really good because it means that I can be part of it now. So, I just look at the positives that I have now. I think that was a really long answer.
Frontstage Magazine: I don’t mind long answer.
Louise Bartle: So, I had to think about it as I was answering. I was like, “How do I feel about this?” But actually, yeah, I that’s, that is definitely what I feel.
Frontstage Magazine: Do you have a favorite song? Because there were a lot of songs you played. You were not involved. And now there are some you were involved. And are there any differences between the songs you like to listen to and like to play?
Louise Bartle: On the new album?
Frontstage Magazine: New album and a bloc party in general.
Louise Bartle: Okay. I really like “In Situ”. I don’t know how much you have heard the album or anything?
Frontstage Magazine:I have heard the new album.
Louise Bartle: Okay. There’s a song called “In Situ”. There’s a song called “Rough Justice”. There’s a song called “By Any Means Necessary”, and they’re all songs that I like listening to and playing. And I also like “If We Get Caught” and “Traps”. Those are like all my favorite songs on the new album. And from the old material I think listening to at the moment actually “Banquet” and “Helicopter”. I’m really, really enjoying “Helicopter” in a way that I hadn’t always enjoyed it to the level that I am now. Like, I don’t know – I think it’s because we’ve come back from a pandemic. There’s been nothing. It’s been weird. And yeah playing “Helicopter”, there’s this energy, you know? No, I’m just like: “Here we go. Now we’re here. Let’s go.” So, there’s an energy that I’m enjoying about “Helicopter” right now and “Banquet”. Recently I just think “Banquet” is such a perfectly created song. Like every element in the song “Banquet” is just special. And I just think, wow, like that’s one that I wish that I’d been part of. But I think what Matt did was, is amazing. So, you know, I mean, but I just wish that I could have been somehow involved because it’s such an amazing song.
Frontstage Magazine: The first parts of the new album were already written in 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic. So, had the pandemic any kind of influence in the process or creation?
Louise Bartle: I don’t think. Massively not. No. I think actually the only thing was that we were all wanting to put it out, but we had to wait. But the songs were pretty much finished. But we got to record it and I can’t remember when we recorded it, but I remember feeling, like, really desperate to, like, do it and. Yeah. Nothing’s massively changed apart from I want to write more music. Like, I’m excited to just, I want to keep doing things because not being able to do things makes you realize like, wow, I need to live my life and I need to do music and I need to just do it and I’m not going to complain again. Like, I just want to do this because I haven’t been able to.
Frontstage Magazine: So yeah, on the weekend I was on my first real concert for two years. We had some I was on concerts which was in, in the car cinema. So, we all were in cars. It was kind of fun, but it felt a little bit wrong. And I notice how much I missed it. Yeah, the real feeling.
Louise Bartle: So, I felt that we’ve done three gigs back from the pandemic in BLOC Party and on the first gig I felt like usually with every gig I’ve done with BLOC Party, I feel nervous a bit, a bit in my head, a bit like “oh, I got to play everything 100% right. Don’t make a mistake!” But that gig, I actually just enjoyed it the first time ever in seven years because we haven’t done it, we haven’t been allowed to do it. And it just felt like special. It felt like, oh, I love doing this. You know, you…
Frontstage Magazine: Stopped thinking and just felt it?
Louise Bartle:I just felt it. It was it was amazing. Then we did the second gig, and I was in my head again.
Frontstage Magazine: It’s kind of a “mind fuck” like I had in the beginning of the interview.
Louise Bartle: That thing. Yeah. And it’s like, you know, just like, nervous. Nervous, but actually I was able to just enjoy that gig and I will never forget it because it was just like I had fun for once.
Frontstage Magazine: So, I hope you will have more fun gigs. Time is nearly over. It was a pleasure to meet you.
Louise Bartle: You too. And how was how was the interview for you? How are you feeling?
Frontstage Magazine: Good, because I had the fear that I get a complete blackout and just still don’t know how to talk anymore.
Louise Bartle: No, you were amazing. Honestly, I hope that. I hope you felt okay because you seemed amazing. Like, it’s all in our head. It’s like, no, I mean, it’s the voices. Just like they’re wrong. Amazing. Thank you for the questions. I really like the questions were really good.
Frontstage Magazine: Thank you. Have a nice day.
Fotocredit: Wunmi Onibudo