Interpol Come In Hot On Marauder

Interpol return with their best release to date.
Interpol return with their best release to date. Photo by James Medina

Four years between albums isn't the norm, though for New York's Interpol, it seems to be right on their schedule.

"I dunno if hiatus is the term, we put our last album out in 2014, toured it in 2015, and we needed time to tour properly, catching the entire globe. We got together at the end of 2016 and we toured the first record. We didn't get to record this new album until the end of 2017 because the studio was booked before then. Plus, with tour and travel, it's lengthy and we're dedicated to a good tour. We tour, return to life and after a while, you have some songs ready to take to the band," remarks guitarist Daniel Kessler.

Interpol, has been a band now for more than 20 years, starting in 1998, four years before they signed to indie label Matador. "We were together four or five years, we signed and the album came out in August of 2002, we started the band in 1998. When I look back, yeah it seems like that long but it feels recent in many ways. All of the changes in New York make it feel long, but in the moment this band still feels very fresh and new."

Kessler, a founding member of the band, was raised in Europe until his pre-teens. The seasoned guitarist seems to have plenty of knowledge about what he wants from sound and his use of hollow body guitars. "I bought my first hollow body in 2001, it was the sound I was looking for my whole life. It's hard to contextualize, but it felt like me and I had a connection to that sound. I write with a classical guitar, and transfer it to the hollow body to keep some of that intimacy. To me, I'm that guy and it feels like home."

Though the band resides at Matador Records, there was a time when they were courted by major labels, and released their third album Our Love To Admire on Capitol. Including a tour with U2, the band returned to Matador for their fourth and recent releases since. "Matador is our family, everyone here is a fan of music and we know they're coming from a great place. I don't know what we'd be looking for to be anywhere else. They're the best to work with and they're great to work for," Kessler says.

"Touring with U2 wasn't surreal, but it was definitely different. Going on at 7 p.m. in the daylight in front of people who didn't come to see you. From an experience point it was good and definitely different."

The band's latest album, Marauder is easily their strongest to date. Elements of post-punk and new wave make their way onto the recording, cultivating so much of what the band has become known for while breathing new life into them. "I think at this point as a band, we don't talk about music. I don't think of music when writing, I think about performance. It's not easy to find the same gear on the road, so it's about what will work live for me.

"It's what comes out of me, and as a trio now, it feels like a new band. It's exciting with a kinetic reaction to Paul playing bass. All of these songs had an energy and an urgency. Visually, we're all present and we wanted to push ourselves. We're not doing this for any other reason than that we believe in this band."

click to enlarge Interpol's latest release brings the band full circle. - ARTWORK COURTESY OF MATADOR RECORDS
Interpol's latest release brings the band full circle.
Artwork courtesy of Matador Records

While the band's previous release El Pintor was self-produced, they tapped Dave Fridmann to be at the helm for Marauder, something that was more about the music than the band. "I think we thought about betting on ourselves. We figured that it'd be a chance to make a better record in making it with someone else. What would an Interpol record with Dave Fridmann sound like? Letting go was tough at first, but we gave him his space. Working with him and his feedback was great. He's about the songs, not the band," Kessler says.

While Interpol is now a trio, in a live setting they're a five piece with touring members added.  "We got here by trusting in Dave (Fridmann) and getting an involved sense of communication," Kessler says. "Being fair and listening makes for a better band. It may seem obvious, but listening and communicating, and learning how to do that better make you stronger together."

You can stream the singles "The Rover" and "Number 10" from Marauder on all platforms. You can pre-order the record in multiple packages and formats directly from the band, or from Matador Records. Interpol's sixth album Marauder will be released on August 24. You can catch the band live and in person on the lawn at White Oak Music Hall on Saturday September 29. The all ages show will have an opening performance from Sunflower Bean. Gates at 7 p.m.; tickets $32.50.
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David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.