Interpol Summers Well: Touring with U2, Headlining Some Additional Shows

In a day and age where most music is over-processed and auto-tune runs rampant, it is refreshing to find a band that can translate in live performance what is heard on their albums. Rare, even. Perhaps that is one of the things most impressive about the band Interpol.

The first time I heard them, twelve hours were spent in the car to arrive at the nearest venue. What happened on that stage was nothing short of amazing. The band captured in live performance the dark, brooding tone of their music. Their cohesive nature was most impressive- the vibe between each player, the obvious connection that exists- and is what makes this band a must-see.

On Monday, July 18th, Interpol will be at the House of Blues in Cleveland. If you’re in the Cleveland area, get there. No excuses. This show will not disappoint. If you have to drive six hours, it’s worth it. Promise.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Daniel Kessler of Interpol to talk a little bit about the band’s current tour with U2, their new album, and beer? Cheers!

TVD: Daniel, you’re really the catalyst for this band. Can you tell me how you met the other guys and realized you wanted to play with them?

DK: I was at university for the most part, and I had already done a demo where I played all the instruments myself besides the drums, and from that experience I think it was rewarding, but I knew that I wanted to collaborate a bit more with people, and hear other people’s perspectives to the songs I had been working on and so forth and try to create something that you didn’t know what the final output would be from the beginning, so I think that put me on the search.

So, when I was towards the end of my university years I was a bit on the prowl and I kind of just came across everyone, or at least Paul and Carlos from classes and I just approached them and started conversation and it was a bit more kind of searching for people, it was more about their sensibility and less about how well they could play their instruments. You know, someone else could have an interesting approach to writing songs and forming a band…I met Sam a few years later, after we parted with our original drummer and we were friends already and when we had an opening and were in search he was the only person I called. And we had one rehearsal and he became Interpol’s drummer.

TVD: That’s pretty cool! And here you guys are now, touring with U2. How did you feel about that when the opportunity arose?

DK: You know, we didn’t overthink it. They asked us while we were still mixing our record and we didn’t have anything planned at that point in time. You know, we’ve played many, many shows at this point, so we thought, well, okay, why not? There’s nothing like playing to your own audience, and we have the best fans ever, but maybe something is good to go out and play in an entirely new environment, from a performer’s standpoint. You know something that is completely out of your comfort level, but not to make a big deal out of it. You know, we’ve played countless festivals at this point in time, and you’re playing to large numbers of people who are not necessarily there to see you, so it didn’t feel different than that anyhow. So it was just something a bit different to do.

TVD: What made you decide to add tour dates where you would be headlining?

DK: It just made sense, we had the time and the space with the way they organized their tour and we had the days and we just wanted to fill them.

TVD: How did you pick the bands who would join you on the tour?

DK: Through democracy! It is difficult on a tour like this one because it’s not our own tour, so we only have pockets of dates like you’re seeing, so it makes it difficult to find people. School of Seven Bells we’ve toured with on two complete North America tours. They’re a tremendous band and great friends of ours, so that was easy. And Soft Moon is a band that we all love.

TVD: Which has been your favorite venue that you’ve played on this tour so far?

DK: We just played Mexico, there’s really no place like playing Mexico for our band. We played Mexico City and that was probably our largest show to date and just really crazy and enthusiastic. The scene was really exciting and we have great, wonderful fans down there.

TVD: I remember reading somewhere that you’re a vegetarian. Any truth to that.

DK: There’s some truth to that.

TVD: Do you have any difficulty accommodating your lifestyle while touring?

DK: Well, I’ve had a good ten years of practice, so it’s pretty easy.

TVD: Let’s switch gears and talk a little bit about the albums. The latest you released was self-titled. Was this done as a way of reintroducing yourselves?

DK: I don’t think so. I think we were trying to just step forward and do something a bit different and not predictable. Usually people name their first record self-titled. It was just a conversation we had while writing the record and it was kind of like the most interesting thing we could do, we’ve already had really long titles, like Turn On The Bright Lights and Our Love to Admire, so it just felt like this album was a very full album, it kind of felt very much like an Interpol record, and the music should just speak for itself.

TVD: You recorded the record with Carlos and he’s left since to pursue other projects. You’ve been touring as a trio with a temp bassist. Is there any chance you are going to fill in that position or are you going to maintain the trio status?

DK: I don’t know right now. We’ve been playing with a great bass player and good friend of mine, Brad Truax ,he’s formidable. It’s just been a lot of fun. We’re also playing with Brandon Curtis who’s in the band the Secret Machines, a tremendous keyboardist and vocalist. I think we’re just having a good time playing these songs live right now and we’ll figure out how we plan the next phase once we get up the road, which is kind of the way we always do things.

TVD: Do you think your approach to playing guitar has changed throughout your discography?

DK: It’s hard to say. It’s hard for me to say, truthfully. I realize I’m not objective in this. I don’t try to do things with the full intention of “let’s do something different”, but I think as you progress in doing anything at the very least, like for your sake, you want to try to go new places and expand upon that. So I would say, probably, yes.

TVD: From where do you draw inspiration?

DK: I think I just have a deep need to write music and I really enjoy it. It’s something I try to do every day, I can’t do it every day, but I like to see if I have something, like an idea in the morning. And film, I use film sometimes as bit of a catalyst to get the process rolling.

TVD: How do you guys approach the writing process as a band?

DK: Usually the songs begin with me, and I’ll show them to the guys and if they’re into them we start expanding upon them and Paul will start singing while we’re writing the song, but really the last thing to get finalized while we’re writing would be the vocals.

TVD: So do you usually write the lyrics, too?

DK: No no no no! I usually just come up with the genesis of the idea, the basic sort of progression, if you will. Some of the changes. Paul writes all the vocals and lyrics.

TVD: What current music are you listening to?

DK: I really love the new Battles record, I think that’s great, I’m pretty much wearing that one out. I like a lot of the James Blake EPs quite a bit, too.

TVD: I see on your Twitter that there are a lot of tweets about great world beers. Are you planning on checking out Great Lakes Brewing Company while you’re here?

DK: If there’s time, I will definitely take that in, if you recommend that.

TVD: Yeah. Definitely! Best beer in the state.

DK: Okay, sweet. Definitely check that out then.

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