No one wants to live life under a microscope, and Interpol knows this better than most. The revered indierock trio rose to prominence following the 2002 release of its beloved “Turn on the Bright Lights,” and every move since has been scrutinized by anyone with a penchant for Joy Division and a keyboard with which to type.
“In this day and age, everyone has the means to express an opinion. What ends up happening … there’s oversaturation of opinions, and nothing is constructive,” drummer Sam Fogarino said. “People hide behind their computers and bash away.”
Ever since that debut, the band has never quit hearing how nothing they’ve done is as good as that first album, and maybe those people are right. Fogarino minds less than you might think.
“I keep it where it is,” he said.
“Thank God we’ve got a first album people love. I think it’s really cool to have a seminal debut record, and I have no qualms about it. I’ll never be over it, so to speak.”
Still, signs of struggle are apparent through the years, especially in the wake of the mixed reception with which Interpol’s major-label release, “Our Love to Admire,” was met. Last year, the guys stepped back, regrouped and released its better received eponymous release — album No. 4 — through its former label, Matador Records.
However, things weren’t exactly kittens and rainbows; bassist Carlos Dengler departed soon after recording, and Interpol recruited David Pajo (formerly of Slint) to pick up bass duties on tour. He left less than six months later.
“We’ve been lucky to not have too much turbulence between these departures,” Fogarino said. “Carlos leaving, theoretically, could have been a big blow to the band.”
It’s smoothed out since. Animal Collective’s Brad Truax has slid into the role with ease, and tours — including a few dates in support of U2 — have gone swimmingly. That’s how Fogarino likes it.
“A good live performance is becoming so much more important than an encapsulated moment for posterity,” he said. “That we are becoming a better live band each time we go out on the road, that’s become the measure of success to me.”
His hope is that connecting directly with the audience in a live setting — such as next Wednesday’s gig at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa — is far superior than via the vitriolic Internet, and while there will always be records, tours have become all the more rewarding.
“You grow by maintaining what is good at the base of it all, and that’s how I look at this. There’s a weird duality to maintaining what’s already there and the slight hope of expanding it, but you’ve got to keep your feet on the ground,” Fogarino said. “I don’t think any of us want to be the next U2, but you don’t want to impede that, either.”