Interpol explain the origins and inspiration behind ‘The Rover’

Watch as the band tell us about the dangers of 'the cult of personality'

Interpol have discussed how ‘the cult of personality’ came to inspire their huge new single ‘The Rover‘.

Watch our ‘Song Stories’ interview with Paul Banks above

Taken from their upcoming sixth album ‘Marauder‘, NME described their comeback single as “a rush of dark rock n’ roll from returning masters – never living slowly and still as devious as ever”.


Ahead of their huge UK show playing with The Cure at British Summer Time in Hyde Park, we sat down with frontman Paul Banks to discuss the origins of the song.

“The lyric to that song may have actually just been inspired by the sound of the song, as opposed to me wanting to write a song about a cult figure ” Banks told NME. “I think something in his riff with that drone-y bass part was evoking the California west, or Arizona, Nevada.

  • Interpol’s ‘Number 10’ is on the NME Audio playlist. Click here for information on how to tune in to NME1 and NME2

“I just envisioned this kind of dusty landscape and this cult leader figure.”

Banks continued: “The idea of that song lyrically is that it’s this character ‘The Rover’ who is basically preaching a doomsday type message – but he’s also just a very charismatic and magnetic figure. Once I had envisioned that as the concept and this character that I wanted to describe, it became fun wavering back and forth between his doomsday prophesying and his manipulative word choice and how he’s basically trying to get people to follow him.

“I find that’s a very fascinating dynamic: the fact that there are one in a billion people who want to assume that role, and that people can react to the cult of personality like that. Just follow someone unhinged. That idea of the cult of personality and buying a line of BS to get people rallied up can happen small scale and strange in cults, but as history shows it can happen with great numbers of people.”

Interpol new video The Rover
Banks says the video is the “origin story of the character described in the song”


As for the ‘very ambitious project’ of the accompanying film, Banks revealed: “The story to the video became when we decided that we were going to shoot it in Mexico City where we did the press conference. There was going to be this kind of meta-art-happening during the press conference. The idea is that the character of ‘The Rover’ is with the band as get down to Mexico City. He’s kind of this hipster bro.”

Falling out, the ‘unhinged kid’ gets taken in by some local youths before having a ‘spiritual awakening’ with a shamen.

“The general idea is that it’s the prequel to the birth of the character that would then be showcased in the song,” he added. “This is what happens before the guy becomes a cult leader. This is the birth of ‘The Rover’.”

Interpol live at British Summer Time

Interpol release ‘Marauder’ on August 24. The band’s winter UK and European tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information.

14 – London, UK – Royal Albert Hall
15 – London, UK – Royal Albert Hall
16– Manchester, UK – O2 Apollo – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
18 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia Theatre – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
19 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia Theatre – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
23 – Hamburg, Germany – Mehr! Theater – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
24 – Copenhagen, Denmark – TAP1
25 – Berlin, Germany – Tempodrom – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
27 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli Vredenburg – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
28 – Brussels, Belgium – Forest National – w/ Nilüfer Yanya
29 – Paris, France – La Salle Pleyel