Contemporaries, if not quite close pals, of such New York City acts as the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the members of Interpol are known for their spare guitars and sunken vocals, both of which have drawn numerous comparisons to Joy Division (they are also known for not particularly enjoying such comparisons).
Guitarist Daniel Kessler and bassist Carlos Dengler (a.k.a. Carlos D) met while attending New York University in 1998; they eventually recruited singer Paul Banks and, after parting ways with their original drummer, hired Sam Fogarino, who had been playing with various Florida-based bands since the early Nineties. A series of limited-release EPs brought the band to the attention of Matador Records, which signed Interpol in 2002. The three-song Interpol EP (2002) introduced its brood-punk sound, creating a swell of interest for the band's debut full-length Turn on the Bright Lights (Number 158, 2002).
With propulsive numbers such as "Obstacle 1" (2003) and "PDA" (2003), Lights became a downtown-jukebox staple, and Interpol became a major draw on the international circuit, particularly in Europe, where the band members' tightly honed fashion sense (suits, shades, glares) made them stand out from the skinny-jean garage-revival circuit. Two more singles — "NYC" (2002) and "Say Hello to the Angels" (2003) — helped Lights approach gold status in the United States, where the group toured as part of the Curiosa festival in 2004.
Later that year, the band released its second album, Antics (Number 15). While not a stylistic leap, the band's songwriting had grown significantly, resulting in radio-play candidates "Slow Hands" (2004) and "Evil" (2005), the latter of which came close to being downright jaunty at times. A third single, "C'mere," was released in 2005, and the band set out on an international tour that lasted more than a year, including opening-slot sets for the Pixies and Coldplay.
Upon returning to New York in 2005, Interpol went on a brief hiatus before announcing in the fall of 2006 that they had signed a deal with Capitol Records. Our Love to Admire (Number Four, 2007) was released the following summer, incorporating more keyboards (and fewer hooks) than previous releases. As the band set out on another extended international tour, three singles — the breakup lament "The Heinrich Maneuver" (2007), "Mammoth" (2007) and "There's No I In Threesome" — were released, as was an indie-only EP, Live in Astoria
Lizzy Goodman on rounding up members of the Strokes, Interpol and other key bands of the early 2000s for her massive new oral history
The Strokes' guerilla promo tactics, the DFA's brush with Britney Spears and other juicy lore from Lizzy Goodman's massive new oral history