Club + Bars


New York band Interpol is a veteran presence on the indie-rock scene, having formed in 1997, though it took five years for its first record. The group was an immediate success, with its debut album “Turn on the Bright Lights” scoring high on NME mag’s list of the year’s top releases and drawing comparisons to the legendary Joy Division. Interpol hits the Fillmore Miami Beach Friday night on the strength of its latest album, which is untitled. Guitarist and backing vocalist Daniel Kessler talked to about the tour, the band’s evolution, and the joy of songwriting.


Interpol is often described as “post-punk.” What does that mean to you?

It doesn’t really mean much to me, truthfully. I don’t take offense or anything like that, but it was never something that we coined for ourselves – it’s just a category that we sometimes are placed into. “Post-punk” is what comes after punk at the end of the day, so …


Who are some of your major musical influences, and what would you like to accomplish most as a musician?

The ideal is always to try to write the best song you can write, simply put, to try to pick up a guitar or piano and come up with something that really moves you and grabs your attention and makes you want to develop it into something, and there’s no greater feeling. And when you have something that’s a little kernel of an idea that you want to blow up into something much grander, I think that’s always a really exciting moment for a songwriter, at least for me.


Musical influences for me have always been all over the place since I was a little kid. Since I was like 5, I had older brothers who were always into music, so for me I’ve always been on the path to discovery, not like “this is my musical influence” as much as going through different eras, different schools. It’s all about whatever moves you or grabs your attention in that moment.


What inspired the band’s name?

Probably a series of really bad names we went through before we got to that one. [Lead singer] Paul [Banks] was the one who suggested it, and right when he put it out there, we all kind of really liked it. It just spoke to us and made sense – it fit our description of what kind of band we were. It made as much sense as a name can make sense to a band.


How would you describe Interpol’s latest album?

I think it’s a pretty progressive record from our catalog, and I think it’s us trying to move in a new direction and incorporate new sounds. We tried not to settle on just doing drums, bass and guitars – there’s a lot of orchestration and new sounds that haven’t been on our prior records. And hopefully it sounds like a band that has a clear-cut idea of what we wanna say.


It’s also a record that’s not a first-listen record, necessarily. I think your third listen will be very different from your fifth listen. In this day and age, people don’t have the attention span they had 15 years ago, when you bought a record and you put it on and you’re not sure about it at first. And by the 10th listen, the track you didn’t love at first becomes your favorite track. I think we’ve evolved into that kind of band.


What can we expect from your show?

Well, it’s a pleasure to come back to Miami twice on the same record. The last time we were there was before the record came out, so it’s nice that we gave a little taste of what was to come from the forthcoming album. And we’ll get to play some songs that we haven’t played for a number of years, pulled out of the vaults. By the time we get to Miami, it’ll have been three quarters of a year we’ve been touring, so we’re pretty tight right now.