The New York-based post-punk quartet Interpol soared to success in 2002, dazzling critics, rockers and even fashionistas with their debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights. With sophisticated songwriting and singer Paul Bank's lugubrious lyrics, the band frequently (and lazily) has been compared to Joy Division. But over time, their commitment to songwriting has solidified them as anything but derivative.
The 2004 release of Antics showed a less somber side of the band, and was another critical and commercial success. Living up to -- and perhaps exceeding -- the hype expected for a sophomore record is quite an accomplishment, but these guys don't seem ready to settle into rock-star complacency yet. In fact, they are one of the most relentless touring bands around, and have been for years.
The quartet currently is promoting the re-issue of Antics, which includes remixes by each member of the band. (Drummer Sam Fogarino even got a little help from post-punk pioneer Bob Mould.) Daniel Kessler, the thoughtful, well-spoken guitarist, took a few minutes recently to speak with the Indy.
Indy: So what made you decide to do a remix album?
Kessler: It actually came up when we were mixing Antics. Every single decision Interpol makes is democratic, so we thought it might be cool to see if everybody took his own take on the songs. It was a real departure for us. I had some ideas about how each one would turn out. [Bassist] Carlos' is dancier. Paul's is a lot more minimalist. He makes the song really tender and intimate. Mine went pretty quickly. It only took me a day and a half.
Most remixes are really immediate. I think it's a little bit like painting. If you have an idea for a painting on one day, it might change completely in a few weeks.
Indy: That's an apt analogy. Plus, with a painting, you can paint over if you need to.
Kessler: [laughs] Right, we can paint over, change the texture of the song completely.
Indy: Can you elaborate on the democratic nature of the band?
Kessler: When I approached everyone to start the band, I had a bunch of songs, of course, but we had a fundamental democratic system in place. We wanted everyone [in the band] to participate in the whole creative experience, from songwriting to production.
We really just look for the song. It's about finding what works best for the song. The process is really interesting. This way everyone has ownership. It would go faster with just one person doing everything, but with all four of us involved, it gets better all the time. We've been doing this for a long time, and it works for us.
Indy: You're notorious for touring constantly. Does this democracy also work on the road?
Kessler: [Being on the road] is a challenging life. But, you know, we're lucky. We really have had no big band blowouts. Everyone is reasonable, but human, too. You have to have an extraordinary amount of patience, but we work it out.
Indy: So what's your favorite city to play?
Kessler: [deadpan] Denver. Definitely Denver.
-- Bettina Swigger
Interpol with The Double
Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver
Sunday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25; call 520-9090 or visit fillmoreauditorium.com.