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With over a year and a half under their belts in support of their fifth album, El Pintor (a fantastic anagram!), Interpol are bringing their live show to Echostage on July 28th. With early support being in the form of festivals and bigger venues, Fogarino agreed that it was both a deliberate but also coincidental decision to focus on clubs on this final leg of touring for the record. “There’s always a reason to play a festival,” Fogarino said with a bit of a laugh in his voice, “I just haven’t figured out what that is yet.” Still, with an album like El Pintor, with it’s sweeping vibrato and lush sonic landscape, one can’t help but notice that a venue like Echostage promises to be the perfect platform from which to endure their live show.
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It’s a funny thing… watching a band rise to success and navigate the waters thereafter. It’s no secret on BYT (or on this planet, really) that my love for Interpol is bone-deep and I’ve been fortunate enough to chronicle their journey as a band and as individual creators for over six years now. Yet regardless of the amount of time that’s passed, two things always stay the same: their commitment to the music and the genuine humbleness each band member brings to the table. After talking with drummer, Sam Fogarino (as he was on his way to Waffle House, the lucky duck!), it’s apparent that this threesome has no desire to change that as they move forward.
When questioned about the influence that Fogarino personally had going into the making and recording of El Pintor he shed some light on the process that Interpol went through. “Well it’s kind of just based off of what we were doing. There’s nothing from the outside that bled into the process for me personally. It’s always just kind of based on a direction of what the song is going in, in whatever is invoked in me… that inspiration. Our whole process is kind of insular. There’s not too much room for any outside influence. We still work out of a dingy basement. I mean, there’s no natural light… no windows… and I tent to kind of shut off everything. Maybe in a motivational sense, it could be something I’m reading or a movie. But otherwise, it’s the song that dictates the momentum.” A thought backed up by our otherwise lengthy discussion on the book House of Leaves, a book that influenced his solo project EmptyMansions back in 2013.
Many a critic as positively praised El Pintor as a return to the familiar Interpol sound that garnered them so much attention in the first place. When I asked Fogarino about whether or not this was a conscious decision, a question he’s gotten a million times I’m sure, he was more than kind to be honest. “You know, not that literally. The past couple of records were written with a computer in the room. With Carlos running all these sort of textural sequencing keyboard parts, which kept everything locked onto a grid, which could be interesting to work against. But that really kind of anchored the music and I had to adhere to these pieces rhythmically. But everyone in this band knows how to play their instruments. Back in the beginning, we didn’t have that element and it wasn’t going to hinder any type of experimentation. Things don’t have to start out in electronic world. And I always thought that a band like Interpol, should start that way. I have no problem with it, the electronic stuff, but it should just be textural. Interpol’s a guitar band. It’s about the dynamic between Daniel and Paul’s guitar playing.” Fogarino is quick to forget his own influence, a true note of his humble appreciation for being able to play with his band mates. But when that drop bass drum hits on a song like “Rest My Chemistry” you can’t help but agree with him – Interpol is a band propelled by it’s rhythm section and that much certainly holds true both on El Pintor and certainly live.
Most recently while stuck on their tour bus for 55 hours amidst a blizzard in Buffalo, the band used their time wisely to work on future projects. While you might think having six people trapped in a bus in 10 feet of snow might have been harrowing, Fogarino had a pretty positive outlook on the experience. “There were six people in total on the bus… and the situation was so real that you didn’t act petty and try to protect your little corner space or your stash of Doritos. The biggest thing was that so many people around you were in dire straits that there was no room to complain. We had it made compared to the people who lived in that area of Buffalo. They were really fucked. We had power and water… and Doritos… and lots of vodka.“ The one positive that came out of the situation, as a fan of the band, was seeing Interpol – a notably stoic set – embrace social media as a way to communicate what was going on. “Yeah, we’ve kind of lightened up a bit. That’s what growing up’s about… you stop taking things so seriously.” That certainly bodes well for Tuesday’s show.
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