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Russell Lissack is an unlikely guitar hero. He grew up in Chingford, a small town on the outskirts of London, and was always regarded as a shy, introverted individual. Russell developed an early adoration for Prince. which led him to his first concert. The experience, while slightly debauched for his young age, showed Russell that music was both a calling and a release for him. At 15, he acquired his first guitar and set about practising for hours to unlock the techniques behind his favourite songs. He took a few lessons but quickly abandoned them; his mentality was (and still is) that free experimentation would lead to the most original and interesting guitar parts.

Though Russell and Kele bonded soon after secondary school, the two young men still pursued their separate degrees. Russell studied sociology at South Bank University, but his dedication to the music he was creating with Kele was unwavering. When the time came to commit to the band fully, Russell withdrew from university just one semester before he was due to graduate. However, he did not mind this too much because he'd been dreading his final dissertation and the amount of time engaging with strangers it would have entailed. Ironically, Russell now has a job in which he meets new people on a daily basis.


As a musician, Russell does not employ the typical, stale 'rock moves' practised by many of his peers. Instead, one's eyes are drawn to his hands and their flight across his guitar strings. His performance is the embodiment of music: not flashy showmanship but rather a showcase of skill and craft. Russell's distinctive hairstyle, once the topic of sharp·tongued critique from his classmates, is now copied worldwide by those eager to sport a 'Bloc-head'. Having such a recognisable style could easily inflate a musician's ego, but Russell remains a quiet vegetarian who will eagerly wax poetic about Suede, Radiohead or The Smiths if given the opportunity.

Russell's guitar magic extends beyond Bloc Party, lending his skills to record with bands like Mew and Oyasumi Hologram, and even tour with Ash. His side projects include the duo Pin Me Down, which Russell created with the vocalist Milena Mépris and released an album in 2010; and more recently the band Novacub, which was born out of the combined talents of Mr Lissack himself and the new highly skilled drummer of Bloc Party, Louise Bartle, who ditched the drums to become Novacub's frontwoman and vocalist.

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