Bloc Party Added a Badass Female Drummer to Their Lineup

Last month, Bloc Party released their fifth studio album, HYMNS. For those of us raised in Catholic School, this might send a chill down your spine. But don’t fear—the English four-piece hasn’t turned to religious pedagogy in their latest feat, while the album does question and explore the idea of faith. Now comprised of Kele Okereke (vocals, guitar), Russell Lissack (guitar), Justin Harris (bass) and Luise Bartle (drums), the four-piece brought to life the music Okereke and Lissack (two of the band’s original members) began writing in 2014.

Loved for their unique brand of rock fringed with elements of electronica and house, the band has now sold over three million records and have been, in one form or another, keeping at it for sixteen years—probably meaning a majority of your life. We had a quick chat with the group about their musical evolution, changing their lineup, and discovering Luise Bartle on YouTube.

You decided to put four extra tracks on the vinyl for HYMNS. What tracks are they and why did you choose them?

“Paradiso,” “New Blood,” “Evening Song,” and “Eden.” They’re also on the deluxe version of the CD.  We recorded 15 songs altogether but we only wanted 11 for the main album so we selected them democratically. We still wanted people to hear these songs and this felt like the best way of releasing them.

How is this record sonically different than the previous ones?

I think every record we have made is sonically different to the last. This record is certainly our most spacious.

You guys have been a band for sixteen years. What have been some of the most substantial changes you’ve undergone?

I think part of being a musician is to be constantly changing… evolving. The music we made 16 years ago is very different than what we make today but that makes sense… as we are different people now. It all feels like part of the journey.

What is it like to be in a group where your fellow band mates come and go?

That’s not how I see it. We’ve had a recent lineup change after around 10 years of stability but it doesn’t feel like things will be changing again.

Can you talk a bit about discovering your current drummer, Louise Bartle?

Sure. We discovered her after seeing videos of her drumming on YouTube. We were impressed and invited her to the studio to find out what kind of person she was and if we had a musical chemistry. Fortunately, she was great on both fronts.

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