Dazed catches up with the singer alongside a new video for his latest single 'What Did I Do', from his upcoming EP
After releasing his critically acclaimed solo album 'The Boxer' last year, Kele Okereke's latest offering is a new EP, entitled 'The Hunter', which looks set to push the singer back into the limelight. The new single 'What Did I Do' features Kele's keyboardist, Lucy Taylor, on additional vocals and she also makes an appearance in the video, directed by Nova Dando. We spoke to Kele, who is currently in New York working on various creative projects about the new song and video and the release of the new EP.
Dazed Digital: How have things changed for you creatively over the last few months? And what brought this on, if so?
Kele Okereke: I'm in a good place right now, it feels good to be able to work quickly. I get bored very easily, that's why I am always putting music out there. Most of my ideas come when I am on the road but it can be hard to finish them off because of touring commitments. Since being on a break from Bloc Party it feels like I have been able to do everything that I want to do, at my own pace. This EP was made at the start of the year and its going to come out six months later. I like this kind of speed, it feels like anything is possible.
DD: Where did the influences come from your latest track?
Kele Okereke: Well this track was an old idea, something I've been working since the boxer, that for some reason I couldn't finish. It fell into place when I asked Lucy Taylor my keyboard player to sing on it. I love her voice, her tone is so haunting and so pure. Singing with her night after night has felt very special to me and I'm glad I got to make something that honoured that feeling.
DD: What was the main concept behind the new video?
Kele Okereke: There wasn't so much of a specific concept, we did not want to be too literal with the video but let the mood of the track dictate the feel, somewhat melancholic and dreamlike. The opposition of black and white is something that is resonating with me quite heavily at the moment. It can be so subtle yet arresting. I've never had the guts to make a video in black and white but this time if felt right. We were so lucky with Lucy's performance too, she is so expressive and that really shocked us all on the day of the shoot because she's never done anything like this before. I've never felt prouder of a video that I have made. I've always known that Lucy was a star and now the whole world is going to see.
DD: You're now based in NYC, is that a permanent move?
Kele Okereke: I'm in NY until the end of the year. I like it here, I like the speed of the city and the conversations that I have and I really like the food. I'm not sure if it is a permanent move yet. It's been a very hot summer here, which is great because I love wearing shorts but new york winters are always brutal, I'm thinking of maybe spending sometime winter on the west coast, or maybe even some time in Africa, that would be a dream come true.
DD: What other projects are you currently working on? Are they solely musical?
Kele Okereke: I'm trying to finish this book I've been writing, it's a collection of short stories and every time I think I've got it down I get the sudden desire to start all over again though. I don't mind though, it has because a strange sort of private ritual for me. I have learnt a lot about myself whilst writing it. I don't know if will ever see the light of day and if it doesn't that's OK, it will always be a document for me of this time I spent here in NY. Something to show the grand kids.
Director Nova Dando
D.O.P Sam Goldie
Producer Elliot Tagg
Editor James Wright
Stylist Nadine Artois
Dance Choreographer Aaron Sillius
Hair & Make-up Holly Sillius
Photography Cathal O'Brien
Special Thanks to Ten Three and Glassworks