I love records, and maybe we operate in an age where it’s more about the song or the mp3 as people say, but to me it’s always been about records: records that make you listen from start to finish and really enjoy everything in between.
story by David Wicik
Interpol is a band that needs no introduction. But for all those Martian cave-dwellers recently arrived to Earth, Interpol is a New York trio (having recently parted with long-time bassist Carlos Dengler) which came to prominence in the New York post-punk resurgence of the early 2000s. Their debut album, 2002’s Turn On The Bright Lights made the group a household name and snagged Pitchfork’s nod as “album of the year”. Their fourth studio album, Interpol, released last year on Matador, finds the group continuing to refine their craft without Carlos D on bass. Guitarist Daniel Kessler, who first brought Interpol together in 1997, took time out of his current tour to speak with Chicago Innerview.
Chicago Innerview: Interpol has often referred to itself in interviews as an ‘albums’ band. What does that mean to you?
Daniel Kessler: It’s not even that we’re known as that, it’s just what’s meaningful to me. I love records, and maybe we operate in an age where it’s more about the song or the mp3 as people say, but to me it’s always been about records: records that make you listen from start to finish and really enjoy everything in between. And if you go to one of our shows, chances are that the people there all have different songs that they want to hear. It’s not just, let’s say, the singles and so forth. That’s very meaningful to me.
Chicago Innerview: Why did you decide to make this, your fourth studio album, a self-titled album given that bands usually do this on their first, or even second album?
Daniel Kessler: We felt like in this record every single song says a lot and the whole album has a lot to say. It’s quite demanding on the listener in the sense that you have to really pay attention to all the details and we don’t really need to add more to it. So we felt that since this was a very completed record, it should just speak for itself.
CI: How have you moved in new directions on this album?
DK: On this record we went right from the songs originating on my guitar or a piano to working with orchestrations and keyboards before working with drums, bass or other guitars and vocals. On the first two records, keyboards and orchestration would always happen at the end, and they would always be more final touches and very small textures of the record. This time they actually became primary role-players in determining which way the songs would flesh out and how much room there would be for other instruments. And consequently, I think that informs us to not actually fill the songs. There are moments when the drums are very, very sparse on this record — they’re hardly doing anything at times. I think that it takes a bit of experience to get to that stage where you’re not trying to fill up the whole song by saying too much.
CI: I really loved the song ‘Lights.’ Could you tell me a little bit about its genesis?
DK: It originated with my guitar line. Carlos and I had gotten together at my apartment, I was living in a very lofty apartment with a great sense of sound atmosphere in it, really reverb-y, and I think that had a strong influence on the song’s direction. And I wanted to make it sound a little like film noir and a little, not spaghetti Western-ish, but a little desolate as far as the guitar tone, and then to build on that. It was one of the songs that came together quite organically once we came into the rehearsal space to work on it.
Interpol :: with School of Seven Bells :: Riviera :: February 12.