On September 6--the eve of the U.S. release of their self-titled fourth album--Interpol celebrated with an intimate, invite-only L.A. performance hosted by local tastemaking radio station KCRW at renowned producer Bob Clearmountain's Berkeley Street Studio. The session, which was taped for KCRW and engineered by Clearmountain, was attended by a mere 150 lucky fans, including indie actress Catherine Keener and Matador Records founder Chris Lombardi.
During their eight-song set, Interpol appeared to be a band still somewhat in transition: They just returned to Matador after a short-lived stint on Capitol Records, and after the departure of iconic original bassist Carlos D, they've had to recruit two new bandmates, Dave Pajo of Slint/Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame on bass and Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines, to replace him. But the band was invigorated and in control on the four new songs they played ("Success," "Summer Well," "Try It On," and "Barricade"), and Paul Banks' famously frog-throated barritone was unmistakable and powerful as ever in the small, Christmas-lights-strewn space.
During a mid-show Q&A session with KCRW DJ/music director Jason Bentley, the band were quick to give props to their two new bandmates--"They're making it very easy for us," said drummer Sam Fogarino, while Banks enthusastically described Interpol's revised five-man lineup as "a whole new thing....it just all feels really right."
They also revealed that Carlos' exit was not a surprise: "It's like a relationship; there are always signs," said Banks.
Interpol are gearing up to go on tour with what Fogarino dubbed a "little Irish band" (um, that would be U2), so this was a rare chance to see Interpol go back to basics--quite fitting, since the band's new lineup and Matador release signify a new beginning for the group. If you couldn't be there, their Berkeley Street KCRW session will be available at www.kcrw.com/music/programs/mb/mb100903interpol starting September 9.
"Try It On"
All photos by Jeremiah Garcia