In lieu of announcing a
permanent replacement for Dengler, the band’s remaining three members elected
to hire a temporary touring bassist. It only made sense that they would land on
one of indie-rock’s go-to free agents, David Pajo.
Since his days as a
co-founder of the seminal math-rock band Slint, Pajo has played with acts as
disparate as Tortoise, Stereolab, Early Man, Royal Trux, Dead Child and Will Oldham.
When Billy Corgan needed a bassist to lend credibility to his post-Smashing
Pumpkins group Zwan, he hired David Pajo.
Pajo came recommended to
Interpol through the band’s sound man, who had worked with Pajo when he was a
fill-in bassist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs during their 2009 tour.
“I’d met David a couple
times over the years, and we were all tremendous admirers of his work,
especially that Tortoise record he played on [1996’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die],” says Interpol guitarist
Daniel Kessler. “That was my favorite record of that year. It was really such a
turning point for independent music, this incredible bridge between so many
genres of music, including electronic, a rock album that had the sensibilities
of jazz. David’s played on so many great projects since; he’s just an amazing
So why doesn’t the group
make Pajo a member of the band so they can record with him?
“That notion is
certainly one we’re open to; I mean, how could we not be?” Kessler says. “But
it’s hard for any of us to go there yet. We’ve only played like 10 shows
together, so it’s early on, and right now we’re focused on playing our new
record live, which is a whole other beast. We’ve never been a band that mapped
everything out; we’ve never been a career-oriented band. We don’t look too far
down the road.”
Joining Pajo as a
temporary touring member of Interpol (with potential, perhaps, for something
more permanent) is keyboardist Brandon Curtis, of the space-rock band The
Secret Machines. His role is important, given the newfound prominence the new
Interpol album places on keys.
“For the last Interpol
albums, the orchestrations and pianos and keyboards were final touches,
something we incorporated after I had starting writing the songs,” Kessler
says. “But for this album, from the beginning we were open to the idea of using
instrumentation to provide melody and harmony, so piano really influenced where
we were going with these songs.”
Despite that approach,
the self-titled Interpol album, out Sept. 7, is a leaner, less-cluttered listen
than the band’s last effort, 2007’s Our
Love to Admire. That disc was Interpol’s most expansive, layering brass,
strings and other bells and whistles over the band’s signature post-punk.
Critics posited that its fuller sound resulted from the band’s move to the
major label Capitol, a suggestion the band denies.
“We never changed
anything to grow our audience,” Kessler says. “We did nothing different because
we were on Capitol; we just made the same record we would have made anyway. The
only difference was different people put it out and promoted it.”
Even with the
major-label support, Our Love to Admire
sold about the same as Interpol’s previous albums, and the band returned to
their original label, Matador Records, to release the new record, which Kessler
calls the group’s best yet.
“Artistically, it feels
like our most complete, cohesive record,” Kessler says. “We’re not the type of
band that writes 25 songs and only keeps 10 or 11. We really decide in advance
what kind of record we’re making, and make sure the songs say what we want them
to say. We want them all to have a cohesive feel and be like chapters of a
book. Making a record is definitely less of a traditional rock-band process for
us and more of an artistic one.”
Interpol plays the Rave on Friday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m. with opener Twin Tigers.