Watch our video interview with guitarist Daniel Kessler above
NME caught up with guitarist Daniel Kessler at Glastonbury 2019 before the band headlined the John Peel tent last night (Friday June 28), where he fondly remembered their previous appearance back in 2014 – where the band had to cut their set short due to bad weather.
“When we arrived, we brought an electrical thunderstorm out,” Kessler told NME. “They stopped the festival, which was a very rare moment for Glastonbury because it was just too dangerous and they had to wait it out. There were all these storms and the sun came out. It was really beautiful.”
He continued: “This is our fourth time playing it. We’ve seen both sides – the really lovely sunny side and then the really biblical rain side. Both have this place here, and I loved the fact that everyone here, no matter what, they go with conditions. It’s part of what you’re getting into by coming here.”
The band’s Glastonbury 2019 set saw them showcase their new ‘A Fine Mess EP’ with the title track – a record that frontman Paul Banks described as “taking the party by the horns“.
“That sounds good to me!” said Kessler. “The song ‘Fine Mess’ kind of kicks it off and has got a pretty raw energy to it. It’s a good summertime EP, but it’s definitely an energetic release.
“There are songs that are veering more towards a kind of introverted album tracks with a slower pace, and then there’s some songs that are just pure rock n’ roll energy. We have the need to write both types of songs and I think they both have their setting within our discography.”
Is the frenetic energy across the EP a sign of things to come on their next album?
“I don’t know. We never really plan things out and we’ve been pretty much on the road all the time,” replied Kessler. “From day one we just realised that we work better if we don’t do ‘what if’ kind of scenarios. We’re doing this, we’ll play this, then we’ll take a little break, get back in the room and it’s just gonna be what it’s gonna be.
“I think it’s a good thing – meaning that whatever comes out then is what we’re ready to say versus planning it out and being too scripted. There’s things that are subconsciously probably happening now like ideas and so forth but they need time to cement and then come out on their own. It’s good to have a little separation and time between records and releases and writing periods.”
Later this year, the band are set to hit the road with Morrissey for a US tour in September. The singer has attracted much controversy of late, especially after an interview with his nephew posted on his own website, where he re-affirmed his support for far-right anti-Islam political party For Britain, claimed that Nigel Farage “would make a good prime minister”, and said that “everyone ultimately prefers their own race”.
Asked if they pay any mind to the controversy or agree with Nick Cave’s recent comments about separating the art from the artist and “challenging his views, but allowing his music to live on“, Kessler replied: “We think it’s gonna be a good show. We have a lot of fans in common that would be excited about seeing both artists on the same bill. We’ll just play that.”
Meanwhile, fans are also awaiting further news on the upcoming documentary based on Meet Me In The Bathroom – an oral history of the influential early ’00s New York music scene as told by the likes of The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Asked if the band were involved in the documentary, Kessler replied: “No, I don’t know anything about it. That’s exciting. I haven’t read the book, but Lizzy [Goodman, author] is a good friend and we’re really happy for her that people seem so interested in the book.
“It’s really amazing that we’ve been all the world, and even in Japan people have had their Japanese version and been asking questions about it. I didn’t think that there would be that much interest in this, I really didn’t, but it’s been astounding to see this and the excitement for that time period. But yeah, I have no idea.”
Reviewing Interpol’s Glastonbury 2019 set, NME wrote: “This is classy, understated showmanship. Between Kessler’s frenzied left foot, the dancing glitterball lights and the artful constant build of tension you can almost pierce, the current Interpol set is a good time, all the time.”
After a historic headline set from Stormzy last night along with Interpol topping the John Peel tent and Tame Impala stunning the Other Stage, Glastonbury 2019 continues as The Cure and The Killers head up a huge line-up that also includes the likes of Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson, Miley Cyrus and Vampire Weekend, to name but a few. See the full stage-by-stage breakdown here.