Interpol's Sam Fogarino on El Pintor, Recording at Electric Lady Studios, and "Spontaneity"
Interpol's Sam Fogarino (top right), Daniel Kessler (bottom right), and Paul Banks.
Photo by Eliot Lee Hazel
For over a decade, Interpol has been one of the premier outfits flying the ever-vague flag of indie rock.
In 2002, when the group's debut full-length, Turn on the Bright Lights, dropped, it showcased a band that was mostly without peer in its ability to pump new life into post-punk sounds that were, at the time, just becoming "classic."
And now, considering the current proliferation of bands aping the Ian Curtis and Berlin-era Bowie vibes that Interpol's been reinventing since those early 2000s, the group's heavy influence on the style of indie-rock millennials is virtually inarguable.
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Though Interpol has never left the bright lights for too long, it did take a year's hiatus, from 2011 to 2012, before returning with a new album, El Pintor, which is undoubtedly the band's most satisfying showing in years, and also its first without any contribution from iconic founding bassist, Carlos Dengler.
Singer and guitarist Paul Banks stepped up to the bass plate for the recording of El Pintor. However, Brad Truax (who's played with Tampa band Home, Gang Gang Dance, and Animal Collective) is now handling bass on the road.
When Crossfade recently spoke with Interpol's drummer, Sam Fogarino, a favorite son of Miami (and ex-Holy Terrors member), on the subject of whether or not the bassist's departure relieved tension within the band, he said: "You know, that's what it was. I mean, it came down to three people that had nothing against the band or the type of music we play, whatever that is. Paul would always joke around and say 'our brand of rock 'n' roll' -- which is totally tongue in cheek -- but we had nothing against it. When someone who can really bring down a room with his mere presence splits, the opposite happens, you know? The room opens up and the ceiling's gone."
Fogarino is also an educated audio engineer and he spoke about the thrill of minting El Pintor at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York.
"The place is amazing," he marveled. "Aside from the history of it -- you know, connecting with Hendrix and all that -- they just know how to treat people. And it sounds great and the gear is fantastic and it's very well maintained."
Touching on the tradition of incredible albums to have been made at Electric Lady, the drummer exclaimed: "Totally! I think of like, [the Clash's] Sandinista! or Combat Rock, or countless Bowie records, you know? The list goes on forever."
Contemplating El Pintor's place in the rock cannon, Fogarino said his favorite track from the new album "changes all the time."
But he admits to being "really partial to 'Tidal Wave.'"
"It was the last song written on the record," he says.
"And there's a lot of spontaneity to it, and I think it speaks through in the best way when I hear that. And Paul's lyric and vocals. And his bass line, it's my favorite thing that he's done on the record."
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Interpol. With Hundred Waters. Saturday, November 8. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $32.50 plus fees via livenation.com. All ages. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.
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