15 years since their debut, Interpol are focused on the future

Words by Paul Waxman.

Interpol, an iconic powerhouse of the early 2000’s New York post-punk revival scene spearheaded by the likes of The Strokes, and LCD Soundsystem, constantly evolve from record to record.

2014’s El Pintor (a fancy anagram of “Interpol”) saw the band expertly adapt to becoming a trio after their bassist, Carlos D, departed the group. Now four years later the band will present Marauder, a brand new full-length that the group’s lifelong guitarist Daniel Kessler says is his favourite of the six albums Interpol has made in their 20-year career. 

“Artistically, I think you should always feel like the last thing you did is the thing that you feel the closest to,” says Kessler. “It represents you. It’s a good document of where I’m at right now and where I’ve been for the past few years.”

“I feel really good about that record. I think, honestly, it holds its own against anything we’ve done to date for sure.” 

Kessler’s love and passion for the new album was clear, and his words are surprising due to the amount of popular hits within the band’s discography. Especially since their celebrated debut album, Turn On the Bright Lights, is said to have started a fascination with post-punk that went on to inspire big acts like The Killers. Interpol took time out recently to celebrate this past, taking their debut on tour around the US and Mexico in 2017, performing the whole album in full for its 15th anniversary. 

“It was just fun and we didn’t overthink it. When we started thinking about maybe doing this, we said ‘Ahh that’s…yeah cool!’ It was great that it wasn’t a big conversation,” says Kessler on the original thought process behind the monumental tour.

Being such a critically and fanatically adored album, its spread of influence is wide which Kessler noticed in the diverse spread of fans attending the anniversary tour. 

“I was very touched by the fact that there were a lot of fans who were very young or barely born when that record first came out who were teenagers in the audience, and there was people there who might have been there the first time around.” 

According to Kessler, 95% of Marauder was written and ready before the anniversary tour in August, 2017. After the tour was finished, it was just a matter of recording and finalising the songs, but the tour may have helped in boosting Interpol’s morale and confidence. 

“It made us a tighter band. It was really fun to go play those shows and play that record. That prepared us pretty well to just record in a recording studio. We were really comfortable playing together.”

With recording commencing shortly after the end of massive tour in December, 2017, Kessler fondly reflected on the importance of the anniversary tour on the new album delving into how it was something completely different. 

“It was also a good thing to just write and leave the songs alone for four or five months. It was something I’ve never done before. It felt like a new experience for us. It was something where back in the day we probably would have said ‘no’ to probably work on new material.”

The main concept behind the album, which was developed by the band’s key songwriter and leadman Paul Banks, comes from a lyric in one of the album’s tracks ‘Stay In Touch’ where Banks simply sings “marauder.”

“It’s a character. The marauder on that song is a character he’s playing and has more of the qualities, not in a straight, historical definition of the word, more in an analogy in his actions.” A classical marauder is more like a thief or a looter, but to Banks it’s more of a self-destructive character or someone who takes personal relationships for granted. Although he wasn’t the principle writer behind the lyrics, Kessler still knew from the start it was a concept fit for a full-length album.

“That word itself, it just stuck out at me.”

Marauder is out now.