Nov 07, 2022
By Celine Teo-Blockey
Photography by Wunmi Onibudo
Frontman of everyone’s favorite British post-punk rock revival band, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast.
Consider the hell-scape which has been the news cycle for the last five years and its cast of villains—Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, Boris Johnson—everywhere you looked it seemed people were trying to outdo or take each other down. Where money talks and people with means get away with murder. It was in this climate of chaos that Okereke wrote Bloc Party’s sixth album, Alpha Games.
On the podcast, Okereke discusses this coarsening of public discourse that he’s witnessed from the political class, which has trickled down and infected everybody. As a result, he refused to dress up the songs and the stories they tell—of predatory sexual behavior in “Traps,” of people who should received their comeuppance in “Callum is a Snake,” and of the nouveau riche and their hangers-on in “Rough Justice.”
Okereke also shares stories of his childhood growing up in an East London estate where a lot of time was whiled away with his sister in the local playground or with his mother at church. And he reveals that the first time he realized that music could really take him somewhere else was when he heard Suede’s second album, Dog Man Star.
Alpha Games is out now via Infectious/BMG.
Listen to the episode below.
Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.
Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).
Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams.