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I Stay Away
by Alice in Chains
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Interpol
May 2003

Post-punk powerhouse Interpol is in the Rock Express Spotlight this week with "Obstacle 1," from their albumdebut full-length on Matador, "Turn On the Bright Lights." The roots of New York's Interpol can be traced back to a partnership between Daniel Kessler (guitar, vocals) and a fellow New York University student named Greg Drudy (drums). Kessler struck up a friendship with another NYU student, Carlos Dengler, who had previously played guitar and felt like becoming involved with music for a second time.

He took up the bass and keyboard duties. And by sheer coincidence, Kessler later bumped into Paul Banks, a guitarist/vocalist he knew from time spent in France. With the lineup fleshed out, Interpol became a full-on band in 1998. After the band's first gigs in early 2000, Greg vacated his position and was replaced by Sam Fogarino, whom Daniel knew through the record store where Sam worked.

They started playing frequently, including regular appearances at clubs in and around New York like Brownies, Mercury Lounge, and The Bowery Ballroom. Throughout 2000 and 2001 they opened for bands like ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Arab Strap and the Delgados. Then came Interpol's first release at the end of 2000, in the form of the third installment of the FukdID EP series on Scottish label Chemikal Underground. Around the same time, the band also contributed an unreleased track, "Song Seven," to the Fierce Panda Records compilation "Clooney Tunes," and gained popularity abroad thanks to regular rotation on London's XFM.

In April 2001 Interpol toured the U.K., capping off their visit with a radio session for John Peel's BBC program, and later on in August and November they visited France with appearances at festivals in St. Malo and Paris. 2001 also saw a self-released EP from the band and another compilation appearance on Arena Rock's set of Brooklyn-area acts, "This Is Next Year."

Matador signed the band in 2002 and Interpol tucked themselves away in Connecticut at Tarquin Studios to record their debut full-length with Pete Katis (Mercury Rev, Clem Snide) and Gareth Jones (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Clinic, Depeche Mode). Tarquin Studios occupies the top floor of a 150-year-old house, which once served, as a hospital for mentally impaired children.

"We hadn't had any contact with anyone but ourselves for a few weeks, so when someone went out to the store or for a walk, it was like they were venturing out into the wild," says Dan. "It was authentic cabin fever."

Interpol will also be featured on a new compilation album called "YES New York." They will join the Strokes, Radio 4, the Rapture, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on the disc, benefiting Musicians on Call. The band will play several shows on the festival circuit this summer, with stops throughout the U.S. and Europe and their first-ever dates in Japan, performing at Summersonic 2003 in Tokyo and Osaka. For details on tour dates and to watch the Floria Sigismonid-directed video for "Obstacle 1," visit Interpol's official site, www.interpolny.com.



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