Don't ask Paul Banks if success has tempered his sadness.
When we inquired, the Interpol frontman barked, "I wasn't down in the dumps because I didn't have a hit record."
So to answer our own question, no, success hasn't lightened Banks' heavy heart. Interpol sounds as melancholy as ever on "Antics," the band's second album and its follow-up to 2002's sleeper hit "Turn on the Bright Lights." Banks' world-weary monotone still sings a sad song of desperation, and the rest of the band sounds like it's updating the new wave leanings of Psychedelic Furs and Joy Division.
(Though, for the record, when when we spoke to Banks, he was sunning himself on the rooftop deck at the Sunset Strip's Hyatt, so forgive for not asking him if he was going to be OK.)
With the whole sadness thing out of the way, we moved on to another unpopular topic with Banks.
What will it take for journalists to stop mentioning what a fashionable band Interpol is?
I have no idea. I'm hoping it'll eventually be eclipsed by comments about the music. It's just one of those things we should have never talked about because if you answer the question, it seems like you really do care.
You're talking about it now!
I know, I know.
You certainly make a point of looking good.
Yeah, but everyone is aware of what they wear, whether they're being casual or formal. The only people who aren't--regardless of what style they choose to dress in--are kind of crazy.
Are designers begging you to wear their clothes?
I wear vintage stuff, so I'm not very hip to designers. I've just always gone to thrift stores and bought what I like. Though we did meet Agnes B.--she's a cool lady. I got a shirt or two from her. But I'm not that good of a mover and a shaker. I need to get it together and start pulling in some free stuff.
The guys in Interpol have a bit of a party-boy reputation. Got a favorite drink?
I'm seasonal with my drinks. In the fall I usually switch over to scotch.
You know, I'm pretty easy with scotch. I like scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, anything but Jim Beam--I can't touch bourbon. Johnny Walker is probably my favorite. In the summer months I usually go a little fruity. Theses days it's vodka with fruit juice or a vodka martini.
Shaken or stirred?
Should fans expect to see Interpol making the scene in Chicago?
I'm not sure, though last time we were in town Matt Sweeney from Chavez [and Zwan] took us to Rainbo [1150 N. Damen Ave.]. Maybe it was just the good company, but I really liked that place. Also, they have a pool table, and I love pool.
I hear you and [bassist] Carlos D. are pool sharks. Who's the reigning champ?
I am. Carlos is real good. And I'm not necessarily a better player, but I tend to beat him.
Matt McGuire is the metromix music producer.Originally published Oct. 13, 2004.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times