Despite its album title, Interpol doesn’t take too kindly to the light. Fortunately, the band is avoiding what will surely be a muggy afternoon April 27th at dusty Coachella and instead headlining the second stage at 10:30 p.m. The trick now is to see if it can avoid afternoon slots at this summer’s radio shows.

Interpol is compared ad nauseam to Joy Division because of its heavy, guitar-laden sound, featured on the critically acclaimed Turn On The Bright Lights album. It’s the kind of music that the vampire Lestat probably has plugged into his car stereo. And when it comes to afternoon concerts, the four guys in Interpol (plus a keyboard player) just plain look like they’d melt in the sun.

However, the band’s spiffy taste in wardrobe hasn’t hurt its press. From Vanity Fair to Stuff, Interpol’s Dolce & Gabbana suits are on display as much as their music. Interview recently featured the bandmates and their clothing. It was a full-circle homecoming for singer/lyricist Paul Banks, who was a former freelancer for the mag.

Sure, all the emphasis on clothing and subtle lighting makes the band seem like it’s hiding more than Blanche Dubois during a drinking binge, but that’s not the case. Interpol recently sold out two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco, then filled the 1,800-capacity Avalon in Boston, then returned to its hometown of New York City two nights later to sell out Irving Plaza.

The band was formed in 1998 by guitarist Daniel Kessler when he, Banks and bassist Carlos D. met as students. Drummer Sam Fogarino joined in 2000.

They landed support slots for …And You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead and Mogwai, then started headlining at the Bowery Ballroom, still unsigned.

Interpol started talking with Matador in August 2001 and signed last spring.

“We always had a vision and we’ve always been very patient with things we’ve done,” Kessler told POLLSTAR. “We’re definitely a band that doesn’t need to be led. We’ve always had an idea about who we wanted to be working with and where we wanted to go.”

He continued, “Since the record’s been out, it’s been very speedy for sure, but we’ve been a band since 1998 so, in some ways, we’ve definitely paid our dues. We’ve been very patient on that front. We definitely waited for a label like Matador that we respected and would do the job.”

The band has been traveling in a 15-passenger van and in January sold out Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club on a weekend night. Kessler, who grew up in the city, knew the significance of drawing a crowd in that “conservative town.”


“Obviously, the label always wants you to go on the road,” he said. “As much as the music industry may change and the Internet may affect things, it’s a surefire thing to do. I don’t think that will ever change, which is kind of nice.”

Interpol is ready to launch its second single, “Obstacle 1,” with video. Meanwhile, it is currently in the POLLSTAR Top 50 tours list, averaging nearly $16,000 a night. And it had two songs in the lead episode of the current season’s “Six Feet Under” on HBO.

Band manager Brandon Schmidt said the years of groundwork have finally paid off. He recently quit his day job at where he had worked for seven years. Prior to that, he played in a band that tried to make it and was also the owner of Repo Records in Philadelphia.

Interpol is the first and only band he manages, although he said he is looking at others.

Interpol was on his list of bands he wanted to take a look at; he never knew it was in NYC, just like him.

“I went and saw them play a show very early in 2001 and walked out the door realizing that I had to be involved somehow. I approached the band a couple days later and just started to sit down and talk with them. I explained that even though I had never managed a band before, I thought I could, and I had ideas I thought I could bring to the table.”

He admitted that it’s been a job of instinct. There are no schools for band managers. He had just finished looking at health insurance for the band.

“Somebody said, ‘It’s good to know what you know, but it’s better to know what you don’t know.’ I think managers need to be good at everything but know who the experts are: the right lawyer, the right agent, the right label and the right business manager.

“You’ve got a solid network of people and that allows you to trust their instincts, their experience and their judgments, and it really helps you make an informed decision.”