Monday, March 28, 2011

Interview with Russell Lissack of Bloc Party: Part 1

You turned 30 recently, congratulations! How was your birthday?

Great thanks. I went to Alton Towers (a big theme park in the UK like 6 flags), i love rollercoasters and haven't been there since i was about 14.

You've been busy since Bloc Party's hiatus, recording an album with Milena for Pin Me Down, touring with Ash, and you mentioned that you've written some songs. Can you go into more detail on what these are for and how they're sounding?

I've been writing songs for various things.I wrote a couple with Heavenstamp, a Japanese band from Tokyo who i'm working with at the moment. I've also been writing with a producer friend for a new project.
And i've written maybe 7 or 8 songs intended for Bloc Party, but they're at such an early stage there's not much point in describing them, as things tend to change a lot.

You haven't been the only one busy though, Kele's doing his solo thing, Gordy's in Young Legionaire, and Matt's working on solo material as well. How do you feel about your other bandmates' work?

To be honest i've not heard much of the other guys work, i was on tour for about 9 months of last year. I did see Gordon's first gig with Young Legionnaire, it was good to catch up.

While on the subject of other musicians' work, you're a Radiohead fan, what's your opinion on "The King of Limbs"?

I am indeed, but so far i think it's one of their worst albums. Hail to the Thief actually turned out to be probably my favourite Radiohead album. Its not very often a band puts out such high quality material so far into their career, which makes that album all the more impressive. King of Limbs i've found to be unlistenable. Perhaps it will grow on me, but i don't currently have a desire to put it on again for a long time.
I could find positives with it at a stretch, but there's no point forcing yourself to like something.
I do love that video though!

Who or what inspired you to pick up a guitar and start playing?

The very first thing that inspired me was watching Michael J Fox perform Johnny b Goode in the film Back to the Future. At the time, i thought it was the coolest thing ever and wanted to be able to do that.
Coincidentally i saw it again last night, it's still pretty damn cool.

When writing a song, how do you approach it? How does the writing process usually occur for you?

It can be different all the time, depending on who you're working with. But i usually just hear melodies or ideas in my head when i'm doing other things, and hope that i can remember them in time to get to an instrument.
I've never really been one to sit around jamming and working on ideas, it either happens straight away or it's not happening.
Its similar if i'm working on someone elses idea. I think instinctively, i know what to do immediately, the spontaneity is what makes the music.

You seem to be a big fan of the Japanese culture, if I remember correctly you're quite the fan of Final Fantasy and you mentioned that you're producing a band in Japan. Mind giving some details about this band and how it might be different for you to being a producer instead of a musician?

Yep, as i said their name is Heavenstamp. They're a new band in Japan, i worked on an EP with them, and shortly i'm going to help them work on their album (though with current events this could be postponed).
I was nervous about taking a producer role, its not something i've had much experience in, but it turned out really well. I managed to get my friend Jamie Ellis on board (he's a young producer who's worked with Chapel Club and Paul Epworth amongst others), and with him taking on the more technical producer duties, i was free to take on more of a creative role. I definitely felt more at home working on musical ideas and sounds than arranging drum mic's and programming, its been a great relationship so far.

Ok, i have to go out now, will get back to you!!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...
    I'm looking forward to the new album but I'm hoping Kele will sit back a bit and let Gordy, Matt and Russ make some of the key decisions about the style. I'm not too big a fan of Intimacy because it simply doesn't sound like Bloc Party. AWITC and Silent Alarm were great but Intimacy, no. It's a bit too much like some of the stuff that is always in the charts. Eugh.