A Quick Chat with Interpol

“Our man sits down with the best dressed men in rock and roll to find out about their rock and roll Antics.”

“Our man sits down with the best dressed men in rock and roll to find out about their rock and roll Antics.”

There is a peaceful silence in the outer back garden of the Hotel Arena. Symmetrical tables are sparsely occupied by powerful business men who are discussing hard-line business strategies which will, no doubt, produce their company another two million dollars annually on their fiscal year profit. This, it must be said, is hardly the place one would think to find one of today’s most promising young bands. Then again, the four members of Interpol are fitting in quite nicely dressed, as always, in their signature black suits. It seems that they are the most proper bunch of civilized young men to come out of New York since, well, ever. Hardly befitting the stories of rock excess which seem to precede them where ever they go, they sit quietly reflecting on their expansive surroundings and recalling the trials and tribulations they’ve endured over the past two years to produce the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut Turn On The Bright Lights. It’s been a journey that has plucked the four lads from relative obscurity and pushed them into ‘the spotlight’ to be scrutinized, dissected, and tortured on the stage that is media life as one of the most promising and meaningful bands of the current millennium.

Scraping themselves together after a world tour that lasted well over two years, the band barricaded themselves inside a rehearsal space and got to work on, what they hoped would be, an album that would not only reflect the band as they were, but also the evolution that they’ve gone through to become who they are today.

“This new album is more definitively Interpol” Carlos Dengler, the vampire like bassist, exclaims while sitting deliberately out of the sun. “The first album was a ‘greatest hits’, we wrote it before all of our extensive touring. There was no precedent; we were pacing ourselves for everything. Now there are expectations. People are waiting for this album. However, we didn’t let it affect the way we approach songs. “

Sitting beside the bassist in quiet contemplation, drummer and last member to join, Sam Fogarino adds his unique view on the new album. “When I came into the fold four years ago it was apparent that there was no template to work with. However, since the album came out and we started being compared to other bands, it gave us some time to reflect and hone our ideas.”

Out of that honing came Antics, an album that, whilst maintaing the brooding darkness that covered it’s predecessor, paints a picture of a band that have had time to let some light in. The result is an album that clearly reflects the band’s progress both musically and emotionally.

“We never said ‘it must be dark’ cuz we don’t work on a gray scale. Paul or Daniel can come in with a song that’s more pop or more rock and it’s ok as long as it’s good.” Sam explains, leaning in to extenuate that this is a subject that they’ve discussed extensively. “We were deliberate in terms of what we put down for posterity. I knew people would view this album as less dark then the previous one, but we just realized, you can’t stay still.” 


Staying still they have not. Having been ripped away from their dreary urban lives and whisked through the media barrage of glossy magazines and high critical praise has forced them to explore themselves deeply, in the process transforming themselves from purveyors of dark and gloomy urban depression into a group that seem to be finding solace in the smaller things in life. This new direction, or new focus is easy to observe in Antics, its sonic landscape no longer filled with personal stories of urban moral decay, but rather a landscape of never-ending change and emotional uplifting. Gone are the show off, technical drumming patterns and brooding basslines, instead these new songs are more focused. Relying on the quality songwriting and melody rather than mood and pace. If the debut album was the sound of a band trying to make themselves heard, then this is an album where the band have decided to let the songs, and in particular the lyrics, do the talking. As Carlos explains, “We tried to hold back that thunderous quality of the first album. Instead we added more attack actually; the way it is is the way we wanted to be interpreted. It’s now about the song I’m given to play, not the references.”

If Turn on the bright lights signified a new darker side to the emerging resurgence of guitar rock, the dark yang to The Strokes’ ying, then Antics proves that Interpol is not simply a one trick dark horse, but rather a band that knows their capabilities and refuse to be pigeonholed by the mainstream media. They prove now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Interpol will continue to move forward and evolve in a manner that they see fit, not what’s expected of them and for that we should applaud them. As Sam puts it, “If you come out the same person as when you started, there’s something wrong!” 

Interpol’s second album Antics is out now.

Interview : Jon Dekel

Photographs : Bonno