Photo: Jamie James Medina
Photo: Jamie James Medina

Interpol’s Indie Rock Ingenuity

Interpol is still finding ways to make their post punk-inspired, guitar-driven sound even better after nearly two decades of recording music together. The band saw some minor changes on their sixth studio album Marauder, released last August, with their raw, energetic sound captured by recording on tape. Most importantly, the band’s dynamic as a trio – Paul Banks (bass, guitar and vocals), Daniel Kessler (lead guitar) and Sam Fogarino (drums) – and individual contributions to the process were solidified, as they found a new sense of ingenuity as a group.

“It sounds like us,” Kessler says when we chat about Marauder. “It’s not a perfect record in the sense that there are mistakes there. Some are happy accidents and things that have charm and character that we could have fixed, but there’s something human about the fact that it’s just there in a very direct form.”

This record recalls the urgency of the band’s signature sound, first heard on their 2002 breakthrough album Turn On the Bright Lights. While the group has seen some members come and go and produced quality albums throughout their career, Marauder has ushered in a new, inventive era for Interpol. By allowing band members to take on new roles – including Banks recently adding bass to his repertoire – the band was able to “give the project a bit of a new spin,” according to Kessler.

“The way we write songs now is different,” the guitarist continues. “When we write songs as a three-piece, it feels like we’re just scratching the surface of that new process and dynamic. In the two records we’ve written as a three-piece, there hasn’t been a moment where we’re like, ‘Well, what do we do now?’ We’re not lacking for ideas, which is very fortunate. We’re still very inspired by one another.”

When speaking on his role in the band, Kessler offers a deeper look into his part of the writing and recording process. He notes that Banks added some “stellar guitar moments” to the record, but Kessler’s own guitar chops are also essential to the backbone of the trio’s renewed synergy.

“On songs like ‘If You Really Love Nothing,’ the origins of the song can be heard on my guitar. When I was writing its basic riff, I thought of a melancholy approach to things. But the moment that Paul started playing the bassline, he saw that the song had a bit of a swing to it and so it became a bit more upbeat.”

Kessler says that he and Banks react to each other during the collaborative process, even letting songs veer into completely new territory when inspired by their bandmates.

“That’s the kind of band I was really hoping to be in when we started out, but that’s a really tall order. We’re very lucky.”

See Interpol’s powerful new dynamic at play when they play The Anthem on Friday, February 15 with Sunflower Bean. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and tickets start at $40. For more on the band and Marauder, check out www.interpolnyc.com.

The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; 202-888-0020; www.theanthemdc.com

M.K. Koszycki

M.K.'s entire life revolves around music, whether it be scouring Twitter for the band of the moment or catching a live show at one of DC's many venues. When she's not at a gig, find her hanging out with her golden retriever, drinking beer with friends or re-watching Twin Peaks for the hundredth time.