remember these guys? Neither do we. That’s because the boys from Interpol have been on tour for a very long time. Stylus writer Ben Wilson caught up with bassist/keyboardist Carlos D. for a short conversation as the band prepares to embark on their second Australian tour, and their first since the release of Antics.

You’ve recently finished touring Europe with Spoon. Was there a noticeable difference in crowd reaction from what you normally get in the States?

It’s pretty similar. I mean, like, for instance, we played in Madrid and the crowd was absolutely totally bonkers, but then we also played in LA and the crowd went totally bonkers, so it’s kind of hit or miss; it’s not always easy to predict when the crowd’s going to go absolutely insane. Although, judging from the last time we were in Australia, we anticipate that when we enter that region of the globe that there will be some pretty huge reactions.

Are there any plans to remix a Britt Daniel song after he tinkered with “Slow Hands?”

Yeah, I really like that remix but, sad to say, there haven’t been any plans for that sort of thing. Maybe we should have thought about that; it sounds like a good idea, actually.

Do you prefer playing concerts or festivals now? I remember seeing you at the Zoo in Brisbane a few years ago and I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting contrast to when you play Splendour in the Grass in July.

Yeah, I’m not that big on festivals.

Yeah, I much prefer seeing a band in a smaller setting; that Zoo gig was awesome.

It’s always better that way, in my opinion.

If we can move onto Antics, I think the band really took another step forward in developing its own sound and we don’t hear, you know, “they sound like Joy Division” so much anymore; instead there’s talk of other bands sounding like Interpol. Regarding the Joy Division comparisons, were they something that plagued the band in the early days or were they relatively unimportant?

No, it was a plague. It was like the bubonic plague.

I’ll admit that the first few times I listened to Turn on the Bright Lights, I did think that Paul’s voice did sound a little like Ian Curtis’s, but after some repeated listening, the resemblance really dissipated, for me, into nothing more than a couple of similarities in delivery.

I would agree.

I’m of the opinion that, in general, Antics is a lot less restrained than Turn on the Bright Lights: there’s no real “NYC” or “Hands Away” on the album. Was it a conscious decision on the band’s behalf to produce a punchier follow up?

Yeah… no… I don’t know if I would use the word “punchy.” I see what you are trying to say, though. I think we were looking more for a more solid, kind of brighter sound and also something where we would be able to alter our production techniques according to whatever song was at hand at that moment. On Turn on the Bright Lights we kind of just used the same sort of EQ setups, equipment, and amps for every single song and that gives it a very murky, unified sound and Antics, I feel, has much more of a dynamic flow to it because of that.

Are there any bands that you are excited about at the moment?

To be honest, I went through a really long phase of not listening to music, actually, because I felt really saturated with music because I was constantly playing it, and also because my life became so hectic, you know, I was always on the road so I couldn’t really keep up with my CD collection and I would always be getting all these CDs that would just end up in a pile at my home because my player was stacked away because my life suddenly turned into chaos. It’s only been recently that I discovered iTunes and now it’s, like, bringing music back to me, actually. So basically all I’m doing is dumping all my old CDs onto iTunes, so I’m not really listening to anything new I’m just consolidating my existing collection.

I think quite a few people are going through that at the moment. You’ve toured with Bloc Party fairly recently. What do you make of all the hype surrounding them?

You know, a lot of bands get hyped up a lot and sometimes it gets out of hand: sometimes the hype escapes the actual ability of the band, or what the band is about, the integrity of the music, and, I’d say with Bloc Party, they’re one of the examples (and I felt this way about Franz Ferdinand as well) that actually deserves the hype, in a way; they’re such a solid, talented group. They’ve got they’re own message, they’re own type of sound; nobody really sounds like them and I’m really happy that they’re as popular as they are because a band like that definitely deserves that kind attention, in my opinion.

And are you still a Doves fan? They’re playing at Splendour in the Grass as well.

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that. I have to admit, though, I haven’t heard the new album yet.

Neither have I, actually. Now, your new song, “Direction,” off the upcoming Six Feet Under soundtrack—could you tell me a little about that? When was it written?

Back in the day, when we were rehearsing before Antics was released, we would just kind of walk in and start playing and sometimes we would record those sessions. There happened to be this one session that we were really, really, really interested in, and so we always referenced it and always made sure that we had copies of it and we’d listen to it again and again and we’d be, like, wow, that was a really good jam session; but we’d never have the time to actually do anything with it. So this Six Feet Under soundtrack opportunity came along and we said to ourselves, well, hey, here’s a perfect opportunity to turn that little jam session into a song, which is exactly what we did.

Incidentally, were there ever any plans to include “Song Seven” on Antics? I might be wrong here, but it was written around the same time as “A Time to Be So Small,” wasn’t it? It’s just that I think it’s one of your strongest B-sides.

Well, it was recorded during the same time and during the same session that all the other songs on Antics were recorded, so it was definitely in the game, it was in the running for being placed on the album, and it was just for logistical, sequential reasons that it didn’t make it one there.

Okay. If we could just touch on Paul’s lyrics for a moment: does the rest of the band have any input into what he writes or is that strictly his domain?

The only input that we have is saying yea or nay, and we have yet to ever say nay. We have yet to ever have any problems with Paul’s vocals; I think his lyrics are fantastic and, as far as I’m concerned, he’s a poet. I’m very, very proud to have him as our lyricist.

What are the band’s plans for after the Summer Sonic shows in Japan? When could you see Interpol returning to the studio?

That’s not really going to happen for a while. I mean, maybe there’ll be one-off, little things like the Six Feet Under soundtrack that will bring us back together, but, you know, we’ve been on a whirlwind, kind of fever pitch pace ever since Turn on the Bright Lights came out, because even after that was over it was really right back into the studio to record Antics. The rat race never really ended for us and we’re kind of spent, I would say, for lack of a better term.

It has been a rather extensive tour.

Yeah, so once everything is said and done for Antics it will be time for us to sit back, regroup, and reassess. I think what that will do is give us space to write a really fantastic third record.


By: Ben Wilson
Published on: 2005-06-27
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