THEY spent last year touring classic 2002 debut album Turn On The Bright Lights – but Interpol have all eyes on the future.
The New York trio are about to release their sixth studio record, and frontman Paul Banks says: “I would thoroughly recommend any band making new music to go out and tour an old album.
“Interrupting the writing of new music to go out and play songs you’ve already released and interact with your fans is a real energiser.
“It gets you back in sync with the juju that exists with live performance and you bring that back to new music you are working on.
“It really invigorates what you are working on. It was great.”
And Marauder, their first album since 2014’s El Pintor, is the sound of a revitalised band — with frantic and fuzzy guitars creating that classic Interpol sound.
First single The Rover came about fast, says Banks.
“The music informed the lyric, in a literal and direct way. The Rover is definitely something I viewed in cinematic form. I viewed the character in the song in Fifties Venice Beach, California, as a cult figure guy.”
And album opener If You Really Love Nothing is a favourite of guitarist Daniel Kessler.
“That song felt good from the start and we nailed it in the rehearsal room,” he says.
Drummer Sam Fogarino adds Flight of Fancy is the track that stands out for him: “There’s something in the chord progression and melancholic aspect that sounds right to me.”
Kessler adds: “We were pretty far along with the songwriting at the point when we went on tour and it felt cool to leave those songs, park them and go and flip gears entirely and really concentrate on playing Bright Lights and do it justice.
“And so, when we picked up the new songs a few months later, they all felt really good.”
Fogarino agrees: “I couldn’t wait to get back to the studio to start work on Marauder again.
“Touring Bright Lights was fun. I love all of those songs — Stella, PDA, Roland — they are cool, but I was thinking about this album.”
The sharpest-dressed band in music are in West London to promote their new album, and our interviews take place in two parts in the bar of the St Martins Lane Hotel.
First, the more serious talk with Banks, 40. Then a more laid-back chat with Kessler, 43, and Fogarino, 49, together.
The band spent last year touring classic 2002 debut album Turn On The Bright Lights[/caption]
The “marauder” that the album is named after is “the person that gets me into trouble, but also gives me some of the most memorable experiences,” says Banks, who recently split up with supermodel Helena Christensen after ten years.
He says: “I think a lot of this record is looking back at those times. Stay In Touch is one bittersweet song about times like that when this Marauder character can really do some damage.
“There are certain things that time doesn’t heal and you change the course of things by some action that you made.
“There are things that are no longer part of your life any more because you f****d up.”
Writing about his darker side has been like therapy, says Banks.
“The last lyric of that song is something about a reckoning. I like the idea of this character who has learned greatly from mistakes and maybe has tuned out by the end of the movie, where the moral comes across.
“I am still that guy and just as I am about to hit on whatever it was I was supposed to learn, I am already on to the next thing.
“I think that is in the theme there, too. Learn from some mistakes, but don’t change altogether.”
On Interpol’s last album, the band were adapting to the departure of original bassist Carlos Dengler, who quit in 2010 after recording their fourth, self-titled album.
Banks stepped in to play bass (in the studio, with Brad Truax playing on tour) to finish the record.
And they have stuck to that arrangement for Marauder.
Banks says: “It was a case of we’ve done this before together so let’s pick up where we’ve left off.
“I think the last album was the test to see if we could do it. And we felt really satisfied with it. And so this was a continuation and evolution and I am still having a lot of fun playing bass.”
Banks recently split up with supermodel Helena Christensen after ten years of dating[/caption]
Kessler says: “I think Marauder is a record that stands on its own without any nods to our past configuration.
“We were very good in that way of not being bound to this old way of what are we going to do without this person’s contribution.
“Any personal feelings towards the situation are irrelevant, we’ve just got to move on.”
The split was far from amicable. Talking last year about making Interpol’s debut album, Dengler said: “Though I was one of its composers, I now feel more like a confused participant, or a survivor of PTSD.”
Banks, however, will not be drawn into any bad-mouthing. He says: “Carlos is amazing as a bass player and as a writer.
“Going back to playing Bright Lights reminded us of that but I think there is an ease within the rapport of Sam and I that maybe there wasn’t in the past.”
On Marauder, the trio teamed up with The Flaming Lips, MGMT and Tame Impala producer Dave Fridmann — the first time they’ve worked with an outside producer since 2007’s Our Love to Admire.
“We used Fridmann which is a ew quantity,” says Banks. “We were writing when we went to see Fridmann, and he had the idea of recording on tape because he sensed we could really play these songs.
“He’s very intelligent and very calm, even-tempered. He does what he does and is very good at it.
“Like anyone in that position, it’s not just his ability with the gear, it’s his interpersonal skills — his ability to speak to musicians who can have weird inflammatory dynamics.
“Anyone that can seamlessly put themselves into that dynamic with success, I think it is Jedi-level interpersonal dynamics. He has all of that.”
Kessler adds: “We knew the record we wanted to make but were open to new possibilities.
In November the band are back in the UK to play shows in London and Manchester[/caption]
“When we started discussing people to produce, and Dave Fridmann came up, Sam and I were really interested as we are both fans of his work.”
Banks says he is the first to admit he is now more open to outsiders coming in to Interpol’s tight circle.
Having two separate albums under his belt — one under the name Julian Plenti and last year as Banks & Steelz, his collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA — Banks says: “For me personally, I’m game for whatever at this point. I’ve done enough variations on collaborations now that I’ve been in the room with RZA.”
Marauder’s album cover is a Garry Winogrand photo of Elliot Richardson. He was the attorney general famous for resigning after US President Richard Nixon ordered him to fire Archibald Cox, the first special prosecutor named in the Watergate investigation in the Seventies — a scandal that was to bring Nixon down.
Fogarino says: “Garry is one of my favourite photographers. I’ve really loved his work but it’s hard to obtain permission to use one of his images.
“What Elliot Richardson did in Watergate was pretty noble and with Trump and what’s troubling the world now, there are similarities.”
Fifteen years on the band are still as passionate as ever[/caption]
Last month the band played with Goldfrapp, Editors and The Cure at BST Festival in Hyde Park, and in November they are back in the UK to play shows in London, Manchester and Dublin.
After 15 years, why do Interpol feel as relevant as when they started?
“This album has ignited something in us,” says Kessler. “It was great to make it and it’s infectious. When we start writing songs, it’s like a drug.
“When that is happening it’s something familiar and that energy is palpable and you just want to do it.”
Fogarino adds: “You settle back into it. It’s almost like animals that migrate back to a spot. I feel Marauder holds its own more than anything we’ve done before.
“I think we are ready to go to the next chapter. It’s not about what we’ve done in the past. I’m really into what is happening right here, right now.”
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And Banks adds: “We have been really lucky.
“We found the right careers and we have been in it to win it from day one.
“A lot of people aren’t cut out for this kind of lifestyle for this long but we are and that’s why Interpol are still here.”
- Marauder is out on August 24
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