Speculation about the imminent demise of New York essentials Interpol -- and there was some, in the wake of the departure three years ago of the band’s bassist and bon vivant Carlos Dengler -- was apparently greatly exaggerated. The band’s front man Paul Banks told Hive this week that not long ago, he, Daniel Kessler and Sam Fogarino got together “to jam” on several new Kessler songs. “It went really fast,” he said, “and I think we’re all really excited. Daniel’s writing all the time, and as you may know, he’s a poker-faced kind of dude. But what I’ve heard of his new songs, they’re excellent.”
It’s still very early days yet for a fifth Interpol record. Banks’ second solo album, titled Banks, is about to drop, and will keep the singer occupied for the foreseeable future, plus, he said that there is still a lot that Interpol “needs to figure out as a band”. “But”, he added, “I think it’s good to indicate to people that we are not breaking up. There will be more music, and I feel really good about it.” He also hinted at a change in sound, due in no small part to the absence of Dengler, who brought a keyboard orientation to the table on the band’s third album, 2007’s Our Love to Admire and fourth, self-titled 2010 release. “The keyboard stuff was always Carlos,” explained Banks. “And because Daniel was doing something real specific with his writing on our fourth record, and Carlos was doing something real specific with his contributions, to me, that record is really left field. I’m really proud of the fourth record, but I think it took time for people to get what was going on there. On both the third and fourth I think we went pretty experimental.”
As for “replacing” Dengler (touring bass duties in 2010 and 2011 were handled by David Pajo and later, Brad Truax), that too remains to be seen. “As far as the core songwriting team,” Banks said, “I just don’t know. I don’t think any of us do. You can’t get someone to do what Carlos did. I’m probably Carlos’ biggest fan, and of all people I know how huge an impact he had on our sound. So I don’t know that we would ever try to get someone to try and do anything like what he did. We would just have to find someone who speaks to us, who speaks to the songwriting we do as well.”
In the meantime, Banks is focused on Banks and this week, taking to heart the title of the first video from the album, “Young Again." “I had this idea for the video when I was recording it,” he explained. “Wouldn’t it be funny if you saw me with all these ten year-old kids, just like, going to school with them? So it’s a pretty literal depiction.” That means, we’ll see Banks sitting in class, doing his homework, even getting bullied. “Yeah, I get bullied,” he said. “But then I sort of have my revenge in dodge ball. We got such good kids. It was a really fun experience.”
Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights: 10th Anniversary Addition arrives November 19 and Banks' Banks arrives October 23, both on Matador. For a more in-depth conversation with Banks, check back with Hive in the next few weeks.