The first verse of the first song on Interpol’s second effort Antics begins with the line “We ain’t goin’ to the town/we’re going to the city.”
As the indie rock band from New York slowly evolves into bigger and better things, they decided to make a stop in Champaign-Urbana.
We sat down with drummer Sam Fogarino to discuss the band’s highly acclaimed past, their promising future and the places in between.
buzz: Assembly Hall is a big place, and for a lot of people it might seem strange to see a band with such indie roots to be playing these large venues. Has your music always been more suited for large spaces?
sam fogarino: Well, on one hand it seems like things happened really quickly for Interpol, but when you are involved in it, it doesn’t seem like that at all. I think it’s been a natural transition to this point. We still do both, we go to the far
corners of Europe and play smaller venues, but we have improved live. A band can rehearse forever, but there’s nothing like performing every night.
buzz: In terms of improvement, what are the things that you think you do differently on Antics compared with Turn on the Bright Lights?
sf: On Antics, I wanted to be a little more straightforward in a way, a little more pronounced. The one thing that was kind of talked about was really beefing up the rhythm section. The difference is I think things are a little more deliberate in that way.
buzz: Antics is varied where Turn on the Bright Lights, whether it was intentional or not, was a very powerful cohesive statement of desolation. With the new album there is a lot more going on and a lot of great songs, but it seems like there is an effort to explore different moods and tones.
sf: We had a little more confidence, it had a lot to do with us being a band for much longer. It brings on some comfort, although it can be risky. You never know what can happen.
Bright Lights was a product of a band documenting everything up to that point, Antics was written in a shorter amount of time.
buzz: So the next obvious question is, which album do you like better?
sf: Well, they’re just documents of points in time. There is a naivetÇ that I will always like about the first album and for the exact opposite reasons I like the second album.
buzz: You said Antics was written in a much shorter amount of time. What exactly is the songwriting process like for Interpol?
sf: It’s highly collaborative. Ninety-nine percent of the time, stuff is brought in by Dan [Daniel Kessler], like the initial ideas.
It’s interesting how he is able to come up with something that isn’t totally defined, and then we go from there. Rumor has it that Daniel has been conjuring up some ideas, so we’re gonna finish up this last leg and then take a break before going back into the booth.
buzz: Does the band ever clash on ideas or musical tastes, and does anyone really listen to Joy Division?
sf: I can’t even keep track of myself, let alone what they are
listening to. It’s very varied. There is a lot of that music I do like (Joy Division-like music), but it’s never the bands mentioned.
buzz: So are you guys a bunch of bleak depressed people, or is that just an image that I have in my head?
sf: Ha, well I wouldn’t say that, that’s another thing people expect. We have the opportunity to fully express ourselves that is in a way safe. But I think if all of us where these chronically depressed people we couldn’t be a band.
buzz: Recently you where featured on the Six Feet Under
soundtrack. Was that in some way fitting for Interpol?
sf: Of all the things we’ve done for television, I’m most proud of what we did for Six Feet Under. We are all big film fans and the show is made in a filmic style. It’s very cinematic and I kind of fancy Interpol’s music is similar in that way, in how it can apply to film.
buzz: So, I wasn’t going to bring it up, but rumor has it that a few years back you guys made a stop at the Courtyard CafÇ and
during an infamous interview mocked the culture of Urbana a bit. How true is that?
sf: Ha, truthfully I don’t remember. You have to look at things from the perspective of a band; a lot of places can feel boring when you are holed up in a van for months at a time. Thankfully we’ve got a bus now.
Interpol will play at Assembly Hall on Sept. 24 with special guest electronic-jazz guest Boom Bip. Tickets are on sale for $10 at the Assembly Hall Box Office.