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Interpol

In the city that never sleeps, unless it’s knocked out cold, four men are making their gloriously gloomy racket fashionable while indulging in fine dining, goth cuties, and trips to the tailor. Welcome to the fabulous, decadent world of Interpol.

If, by some improbable twist of fate, you ever get the chance to join Interpol, it might seriously be worth considering. The hours may be a bit harsh–it’s a reverse 9 to 5, not including band meetings and tailor appointments–but there’s probably no better gig going at the moment: The wine is free and free-flowing, the girlfriends are beautiful, and there’s a good chance Robert Smith will play poker with you in the back of your tour bus (he’ll win, but it’s only a $20 buy-in).

Plus, there are endless little dishes of gelato. It is only a few hours after Interpol’s performance of “Evil” (from their sophomore album, Antics) on The Late Show With David Letterman, and to celebrate, their label, Matador, has shuttled them to the schmancy downtown Manhattan restaurant Otto. Seated at a long table, three-fourths of Interpol–singer/guitarist Paul Banks, guitarist Daniel Kessler, and drummer Sam Fogarino–and several friends and family members are sampling delicately presented scoops of Italian ice cream; notably absent is bassist Carlos D., who is home, cleaning his bathroom.

It’s like a corporate-carded, indie-rock Last Supper, and yet Banks, sitting at the center, is frowning, a glass of red and a glass of white both within his grasp. Though his band just played to millions of people, he is bummed, convinced his vocals were off-key (they were at the beginning, but he picked up by the chorus). It appears that none of the Interpolers are having the same sort of night: Sam seems jubilant, but Daniel looks as though he’s been ready to leave since he sat down. You get the sense that if it weren’t for the common goal of turning Interpol from indie-rock contenders into mainstream conquerors, it would be hard to imagine them sharing a cab ride home, much less a band.

Such is the modus operandi of Interpol. Fogarino describes the four’s symbiosis as “same book, different pages,” and, though he’s referring to their famously sharp fashion sense, he could very well have been referring to their personalities, which, in reductive thumbnails, go something like this: introvert (Kessler), stoic (Banks), sage (Fogarino), and hedonist (Carlos D.). “Democracy,” Banks says, “is the only way to keep the four of us in a room.”

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