For the record, the band brought in producers Flood and Alan Moulder, who have collectively helmed releases by U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, The Killers and others.
“We had already worked with Alan; he mixed a couple records of ours,” Fogarino says. “Everybody was really into the idea. I always thought that he would be a perfect fit because his CV is so diversified. He’s like a Phil Spector of this wide genre of music. He’s like a guru. When management came to me and said ‘What do you think of Flood?’ I said ‘What do I think of Flood?? It’s all smiles, man!’”
While Interpol’s last record Marauder was produced by renowned Buffalo producer Dave Fridmann (Baroness, MGMT, The Flaming Lips), Fogarino says the band’s shift into a collaborative style helped spur the need for a different producer.
“I thought we could easily go back with Dave and maybe we will. There’s definitely nothing that lacked from Fridmann at all,” he says. “It was a whole different approach, and that’s what made me personally realize we had to work with Flood. This is a different phase, we’ve done records the same way our whole career, then we worked with Fridmann, and now let’s do the same thing: work with an auteur producer but a different one, one that’s going to shed a whole different light on the band.”
That different light may reveal different colors at the root of the band’s trademark icy, New-York-steel-gray post-punk-rooted sound, as the songwriting methods were different this time around because of COVID. The band spent the first year of the pandemic collaborating remotely from three countries: Fogarino was in Athens, Georgia, singer/guitarist Paul Banks in Scotland and guitarist Daniel Kessler in Spain. The trio communicated mostly by email, sending files and ideas to one another before they finally commenced rehearsals in a secluded Catskills studio more than a year after the pandemic’s onset.
“If it was up to me, we would just tour Mexico and South [America],” he says. “On the egotistical side of being a musician, everything would be met — nothing but adoration — and with no posturing." –Sam Fogarino
“The difference has proved to be positive,” Fogarino says. “While you do miss out on that immediacy, Daniel, his energy is utterly infectious when he’s written an idea he’s comfortable with. It’s now ‘How can I make this part better or more convincing.’”
Fogarino says that as opposed to hashing out ideas live as 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 song fully arranged, and now I have all the time in the world to fully hone what I’m doing,” he says. “I just hit record and play the thing upwards of 30 times, arrive at what I’ll present to them, and now it’s honed. It’s done in privacy, so I can get as ugly as I want. And I can go to the extreme to get to the middle ground without freaking anybody out. Now [Paul] can approach the vocal style or melody at a different amplitude. Now he’s tapping into something he hasn’t tapped into before because of facility.”
The upcoming Dallas show is slated to be the band’s first live performance since they ended the Marauder tour in Lima, Peru in front of a 40,000+ festival audience. Like fellow post-punk and gloom-rock icons Morrissey and The Cure, Interpol has an enormous following in Latin America.
“It crosses my mind all the time,” Fogarino says regarding the band’s fervent Latin following. “Early on, I didn’t know that the pan-Latin culture would be interested in this music. My being taken aback was in such a good way.”
Fogarino says that the culture shock that came with the Latin community’s embrace of Interpol, and the band’s subsequent embrace of that fanbase, helped not only expand his appreciation for those cultures, but also break the previously static view of race inflicted on him while growing up in West Philadelphia.
“What’s embedded in the culture has all 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 around on itself. The so-called ‘hot-headed’ turns into a passion for something they love.”
Fogarino and Interpol’s love for Latin America is so strong that you might just have to catch a show down there in the future.
“If it was up to me, we would just tour Mexico and South [America],” he says. “On the egotistical side of being a musician, everything would be met — nothing but adoration — and with no posturing! No standing with their arms folded. It’s all about being right here. Not to mention contemporary art coming from Latin America is high art, Mexico City like New York City but without the elitism. People just need to open their eyes.”