Interpol’s Sam Fogarino explains the group’s mutual love with the Latin community
Good conversations are hard to come by these days, but Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino is a good conversationalist. Interpol, which kicks off its Dallas tour at The Factory on April 25 with special guests TYCHO and Matthew Dear, is gearing up to release its first record in four years, The other side of pretending on July 15 via Matador Records.
For the record, the band brought in producers Flood and Alan Moulder, who collectively helmed releases by U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, The Killers and others.
“We had worked with Alan before; he mixed some records of ours,” says Fogarino. “Everyone was really into the idea. I always thought he would be a great fit because his CV is very diverse. He’s like a Phil Spector of this broad genre of music. He’s like a guru. When management came up to me and said, “What do you think of Flood? I said ‘What do I think of Flood?? It’s all smiles, man!'”
While the latest Interpol record Marauder was produced by famed Buffalo producer Dave Fridmann (Baroness, MGMT, The Flaming Lips), Fogarino says the band’s shift to a collaborative style helped spur the need for a different producer.
“I thought we could easily come back with Dave and maybe we will. There is certainly nothing that Fridmann lacked,” he says. “It was a completely different approach, and that’s what made me personally realize that we had to work with Flood. It’s another phase, we made records the same way our whole career, then we worked with Fridmann, and now we’re doing the same thing: working with an author producer but another, one who will pay a whole another light on the group.
This different light may reveal different colors at the root of New York’s icy, steel-gray post-punk sound, as the writing methods were different this time around due to COVID. The band spent the first year of the pandemic collaborating remotely from three countries: Fogarino was in Athens, Georgia, vocalist/guitarist Paul Banks in Scotland and guitarist Daniel Kessler in Spain. The trio communicated primarily via email, sending each other files and ideas before finally starting rehearsals at a remote Catskills studio more than a year into the pandemic.
“If it was up to me, we’d just tour Mexico and the South [America],” he says. “On the selfish side of being a musician, all would be met – nothing but adoration – and no posturing.” -Sam Fogarino
“The difference turned out to be positive,” says Fogarino. “Although you lack that immediacy, Daniel, his energy is quite contagious when he writes down an idea he is comfortable with. It’s now ‘How can I make this part better or more convincing.’
Fogarino says that instead of chopping up ideas live like a loud, organic jam, the fact that the parts were composed separately allows for an abundance of subtlety and experimental freedom.
“Basically, I get the core of a fully-arranged song, and now I have all the time in the world to completely refine what I’m doing,” he says. “I’ve just recorded and played the thing over 30 times, come up with what I’m going to pitch to them, and now it’s honed. It’s done in privacy, so I can get as ugly as I want to. And I can go to extremes to get to the middle ground without scaring anyone. Now [Paul] can approach the vocal style or melody at a different amplitude. Now he’s tapping into something he hadn’t tapped into before because of the ease.
Dallas’ next show is set to be the band’s first live performance since the end of the Marauder toured in Lima, Peru, in front of more than 40,000 festival-goers. Like fellow post-punk and gloom-rock icons Morrissey and The Cure, Interpol has a huge following in Latin America.
“It crosses my mind all the time,” Fogarino says of the band’s fervent Latin music. “At first, I didn’t know that the pan-Latin culture would be interested in this music. My astonishment was in such a good way.
Fogarino says the culture shock that accompanied the Latin community joining Interpol, and the band’s subsequent embrace of that fan base, not only helped broaden his appreciation of those cultures, but also shatter the vision previously static of the race inflicted upon him growing up. in West Philadelphia.
“What is rooted in culture has all of these attributes,” he says. “The importance of relationships with family and friends really means something. That there is automatically a springboard for emotion, feelings and expression. The negative stereotype turns on itself. The so-called “hothead” turns into a passion for something they love.
Fogarino and Interpol’s love for Latin America is so strong that you may have to attend a show there in the future.
“If it was up to me, we’d just tour Mexico and the South [America],” he says. “On the selfish side of being a musician, everything would be met – nothing but worship – and without any posturing! Do not stand with your arms crossed. It’s about being here. Without forgetting that contemporary art from Latin America is great art, Mexico like New York but without the elitism. People just need to open their eyes.