Rig tour: Interpol's guitars and gear revealed
Most bands who helped to define an era have typically struggled to maintain the momentum of their early career as trends have evolved. Not so for Interpol.
The well-cut New York dandies burst onto the indie scene with the sprawling, maudlin art-rock masterpieces Turn On The Bright Lights (2002) and Antics (2004), two all-consuming collections of icy, staccato riffing and lost-in-the-void melancholia, which inspired an explosion of indie-pop acts to take the band’s edgy aesthetic and dilute it into something more commercial.
Having long since outgrown the lazy Joy Division comparisons that were prevalent upon their breakthrough, Interpol have remained fiercely relevant. Last year’s El Pintor, their fifth album (and their best since Antics), ranked high on many end-of-year lists.
Although the overdriven, reverb-drenched guitar interplay of Daniel Kessler and vocalist Paul Banks has been intrinsic to their noirish atmospherics, El Pintor also saw the latter assume bass-writing duties following the departure of enigmatic four-stringer Carlos Dengler.
We embraced a rare opportunity with both maestros to detail the gear behind their distinctive, exquisite sounds, from tried and trusted Les Paul Customs to big, dirty reverbs...
PB: “I’ve not really changed my pedal rig over the years – delay and distortion are my main requisites.
"Luckily, my guitar tech is a nerd and he’ll often have something new for me to try out, and he’s had a lot of success with that.”
- MXR Micro Amp & Xotic EP Boost: “I like my bass tone to be a little bit juicier than the straight amp sound.”
- Big Ear Loaf: “This is a really clever distortion pedal.”
- MXR Carbon Copy, Boss DD-7 & Malekko Ekko 616 delays: “I use a bunch of delay pedals, mostly an MXR Analogue, an old Boss DD-7 that has a couple of settings I really like, and a small boutique delay pedal [the Malekko] that’s pissing me off!”
Fender Pro Reverb 115 combo & Hot Rod DeVille 212s
PB: “I've been using Fender amps ever sinceI started playing.
"But for live playing, we discovered that we had to disengage our amp reverb early on because it makes a fucking racket on shaky stages so we switched to reverb pedals instead. But there are plenty of good reverbs out there.”
Fender '65 TWIN Reissue
DK: “I’ve always liked reverb but with a slightly dirty, almost throwback 60s sound.
"Ideally, if I could tour with my old Fender Princeton 60s amp that I use for recording I would, but unfortunately it’s too fragile and not tour sturdy.”
Gibson Les Paul Custom
PB: “I’ve owned my Les Paul Custom ever since high school, all those years ago.
"It’s been my setup since day one and it’s all I pretty much use to this day.”
1960 Gretsch Anniversary
DK: “I played my 1960 Gretsch Anniversary on almost every song on the latest record and a good deal of the eponymous fourth record, too.
"But like most of the guitars I own, the Anniversary has a very weak signal. If I didn’t dress it up with effects in a certain way, it would sound very weak.
"But I’m also very lazy with effects. I use a couple of overdrives, a Boss DD-5 and an Eventide Space pedal, which is a new thing that I like. It’s better than any analogue.”
1967 Epiphone Casino
DK: “I have a 1967 Casino for some of our older songs. I’ve been using Casinos since Turn On The Bright Lights.
"That and my 1960 Anniversary are basically the only two guitars I’ve played throughout my entire tenure in Interpol.”
Daniel’s Gibson might look like an ES-335, but unlike that guitar the ES-330 is fully hollow and is a backup to his main squeezes.