“We’ve been doing this for some time,” Daniel Kessler chuckles. True to his words, Interpol are a band with a longstanding history. It’s been sixteen years since the group released their debut record. Five albums and a procession of world tour dates later, they remain a force to be reckoned with. Now, with album number six about to be released, Interpol’s acclaim is as strong as ever.
“The fact that people have stayed loyal with us over the years, and that there are people discovering us still, it’s really a very unique experience,” the guitarist enthuses. “It’s something that doesn’t happen all the time and something that probably means more to me now than it did back in the early days.” Fans old and new were invited into the world of the band’s latest record via a set of coordinates that led to Mexico City, where the group held a press conference to announce the new album.
“I really, really, really savour it,” Daniel comments of their audience’s interaction. “I know it’s a unique thing in this day and age. It’s hard for people to be that dedicated and thoughtful and loyal for this many years.” It might be uncommon, but such ardent admiration is something that’s surrounded Interpol for years. It’s a legacy the group are determined to do justice. When it comes to writing new music, their focus lies solely on what they’re working to create.
“We just enjoy writing music. We don’t over think it,” Daniel affirms. Getting together in a practice space in New York, the trio – completed by frontman Paul Banks and drummer Sam Fogarino – set about creating their rawest offering yet.
“When we’re getting together to write new music we just don’t think too much on anything besides what’s happening in that room,” Daniel portrays. “Fortunately, we’ve always had new things to write,” he continues, laughing. “We’ve never run into too many writing blocks. It always feels like we just keep our minds on what’s happening in the room, and not thinking on the exterior too much.”
Written in the rehearsal space they shared with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Marauder’ is Interpol at their rawest – a feat that made itself evident fairly early in the album making process, when the group were kicked out of their practice space for being too loud. “Unfortunately the cops had to come,” Daniel chuckled. “They warned us twice, and the second time we had to leave. It happens in New York sometimes.”
The decision to create a record louder and rawer than any they’ve worked to create before was one that seemed to be born naturally out of their creativity. “I think as songwriters we’re just always trying to push ourselves forwards without even trying to do it,” Daniel contemplates. The restless energy that birthed the songs on ‘Marauder’ saw the band enjoy some of their most energetic recording sessions yet.
“We always pretty much do everything as live. We play everything from start to finish,” Daniel details. “Those were very lively sessions.” Recording with Dave Fridmann in upstate New York, the group set about building up a brand new sound. “We all played live together and recorded the majority of it onto tape,” Daniel states. “It kept it very lively.”
“Tape sounds good,” the guitarist describes. “It has a rawness to it, and the songs have a rawness. It limited us maybe in a good way.” With the self-enforced limits of only having a few takes to choose from, the resulting record is as deliciously raw as the group hoped it would be. “I think it’s just a little bit of an evolution,” Daniel portrays of the album.
‘Marauder’ was helped shape, in no small part, by producer Dave Fridmann – marking the first time the group have worked with a producer on a record. “He was a great collaborator in this,” Daniel enthuses. “I think he understood the kind of record we were writing.”
Entering into a new recording environment proved to be the spark the group needed to create something new. “He had some very specific ideas about how to record, and we were very excited and incentivised by that,” Daniel comments. The decision to work with a producer was one that seemed a natural step in the group’s evolution. “We wanted to do something a bit different, to challenge ourselves, to be open to new possibilities, and to maybe make a new discovery or something,” Daniel details. “It was a great experience.”
“Just like most things in life, experience serves its purpose and makes you more comfortable, so you understand the situation a bit more, and hold the moment a little bit more,” he adds. “It was just a different time. Just like everything in life, you keep moving forward. For us, it’s hopefully that: moving forwards, making new discoveries, and becoming a better band, better at communicating with each other, and hopefully writing better songs too.”
A natural step in Interpol’s evolution, ‘Marauder’ is the sound of a band flourishing in their prime. “I had no reason to go beyond hoping to make a first record,” Daniel reflects. “Beyond that, I never really hoped further than where we were. It’s a trip that we’re still doing this after all these years.”
It’s a long established history the group have to live up to, and for the band, it’s one that there’s no intention to let run away from them any time soon. “It’s just the beginning for us,” the guitarist enthuses. “It’s an exciting time, developing how we’re going to live up to the release of the record. It’ll be great to just have it out there. I think we’re really looking forward to that.”
Living by their enduring ethos of “keep your chin up going forward, and don’t over think it,” this is Interpol at their rawest yet, ready and raring to take the world by storm once more.
Taken from the October issue of Dork. Interpol’s album ‘Marauder’ is out now.
Words: Jessica Goodman