"We formed bands at 15. We're not normal."
-- Gavin Friday, on himself and best friend Bono
Column: off the record..., vol. 14-629
July 27, 2014
We all love U2. They're the reason why we set up savings accounts for concerts. They're the reason we're chomping at the bit for any details about a new album (September? November? THIS YEAR??). U2 are also the reason we love music because they have shown us the power of lyric and melody, which is why I am so thankful to them for introducing me to a band that I am so lucky to bless my ears with.
The first time I heard of Interpol was in 2010 when I saw them open for U2 during the European leg of 360. I was at the show in Seville, Spain, and really wasn't paying them any attention, which is unfortunate now that I look back. My mind was racing with thoughts of seeing U2 alone in a foreign country and whether my awful Spanish-speaking skills would help me get a cab back to my hotel after the show.
Luckily, I redeemed myself the next year, during the final North American leg of the tour. Out of the 10 360 shows I saw that summer, I got to see Interpol open for U2 seven times. I didn't totally dismiss them, but again, I didn't know them well enough to be into their set. A friend of mine adores them and I remember taking pictures/videos for her to enjoy, while I was merely saving myself for U2. I forgot about them once the tour ended.
Last summer, I was making new playlists for my iPod and looking for some songs to add. I randomly remembered Interpol and decided to research their setlists from 360 and put those songs on my iPod. Their set was the same throughout the whole tour, which made downloading the songs easy. Once I pressed play, everything changed.
Interpol, made up of lead singer/guitarist Paul Banks, guitarist Daniel Kessler and drummer Sam Fogarino (bassist Carlos Dengler left in 2010), hail from New York City, which is maybe why I latched onto their music so easily. All their songs have this slickness and aura of enchantment, much like the city they come from. I hadn't felt this way about a band in a long time. And you know that feeling when you discover new music? You think, "Where have you been all my life?"
I think what I love the most about Interpol is Banks' brilliant songwriting. It's great when the lyrics are open to interpretation because they sound so poetic. Banks, like Bono and The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers (another favorite of mine), taps into this part of your brain with these outstanding words. Combine those lines with insane beats, and it's the most magical combination. I sometimes sit down with Interpol songs playing in the background and just start crying because they've touched so many emotions.
One song I immediately gravitated toward last summer was "Narc" from the album Antics (my favorite Interpol album). It reminded me a lot of a relationship I was in at the time and the guy I was with. The song, like a lot of Interpol's songs, has these wildly erotic undertones. That quality is another reason I just find them so different from any other band right now. Their songs ooze doses of sensuality. I had this on repeat all last summer.
"'Cause it's just you, me and this wire, alright / Let's tend to the engine tonight"
I also think it's fitting that I'm completely enamored with them right now, as I recently moved to NYC. I play them often when I'm on the subway commuting to work and their city sound is undeniable. My favorite song to walk to is "Barricade" from their self-titled album. I like to try to match my steps to Fogarino's drumming.
"I would not just leave you without a kiss / But I guess there must come a time, when there's no more tears to cry"
While "Narc" will always be my favorite, the Interpol song that is currently vying to take that title is "Pace Is The Trick" from Our Love To Admire. I can't find the proper words to describe how my heart feels when I hear it. Again, we can add my experience with guys to why I relate to the song so much. These lyrics are etched into my soul. To me, it's about seeking love but not being so tense about it or rushing into it. It's absolutely incredible.
"You can't hold it too tight / These matters of security / You don't have to be wound so tight / Smoking on the balcony"
Their 2002 debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, is pretty much essential and completely stunning. It's hard to pick a favorite song. There are "Obstacle 1" and "Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down," to name a few. But this is for all of us dreamers with that city skyline in the distance:
"It's up to me now, turn on the bright lights"
I don't like to push music on people. If you don't like U2, it's fine. If you don't like Lady Gaga, I can handle it. But I just think that Interpol are so special and their music deserves a listen. They have a new album, El Pintor, coming out on Sept. 9. I recently saw them again for the first time since 360 at the Governor's Ball festival in NYC and it made me feel like I should have felt when I saw them open for U2 -- just so full of life. This week, my friends and I are flying to Chicago to see them at Lollapalooza, as well as a few dates on their tour this fall. I'm beyond excited.
I often say the one thing I would never forgive U2 for was choosing the Black Eyed Peas to open for them during that first run of 360 back in 2009, as I can't stand them and it annoyed me so much that they even set foot on a U2 stage. And then that next year, they had Interpol on their lineup. To Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry -- all is forgiven. Thank you for bringing Interpol into my heart and mind.
(c) @U2, 2014.