Interpol talk NME through their ‘Firsts’

The band talk us through their musical first times, from the first artists they fell in love with, to the first thing they do when they get off stage

For the past 20 years, Interpol have been one of the most distinctive rock groups around – selling an estimated 60 million records worldwide and leading the way for the post-punk revival. However, it wasn’t all commendation and acclaim when they started out. “The first couple of shows were pretty train wreckage,” guitarist Daniel Kessler reminisces of Interpol’s early gigs in the latest instalment of NME Firsts. “Also, we kept changing our name for the first eight shows which was helpful in some ways because we were so bad!”

Thankfully they settled on Interpol, and six albums later, are now gearing up to release new LP ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’. The latest glimpse of the record is new single ‘Fables’, a triumph of a track that sees frontman Paul Banks’ vocals spun over Kessler’s twisting guitar arrangements, the song gradually rising to a beautiful crescendo.


Ahead of the album dropping, the band sat down with NME to discuss their musical first times, including the first ever band shirts they owned. Frontman Paul Banks explains that he was an early adopter of the “Nirvana super-fan, yellow smiley face tee,” adding: “It’s still ubiquitous, which speaks to the quality of the design and the enduring legacy of Nirvana, and I had the original version.”

As for the first artists they fell in love with, Kessler recalls fond memories of seeing Ska icons The Specials when he was growing up. “I think it was less to do with understanding or even remembering hearing their music, but more just seeing them and thinking that’s the coolest band I’ve ever seen. It had a big impact on me.”

Preparing for the ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’ to drop, the band also discussed their plans for after the album is released on July 15. “I imagine we’ll be playing some shows, so it’ll be fun to play those songs live; or we’ll be on a beach somewhere,” says Kessler.

For the latest NME Firsts, Interpol also discuss their first tattoos, the first time they heard one of their songs on the radio and the first thing they do when they get off stage. Watch the video in full above.