One major difference this time around is that the group is one core member down: Bassist Carlos Dengler - better-known by fans as the mustached, stylish Carlos D - amicably parted ways with the band following the recording of "Interpol."
"It wasn't a surprise or sudden decision," guitarist Daniel Kessler says of Dengler's departure. "Carlos had other ambitions he wanted to pursue outside of Interpol, or being in a rock band in general. But at the same time he really loved the music we were making. He's very much all over this record."
Dengler and Kessler began developing the new songs in the fall of 2008, with recording taking place in August 2009 at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Though in keeping with Interpol's angular, moody post-punk style, drummer Sam Fogarino describes the new effort as "far more realized and relaxed."
"The peaks and valleys are more apparent," he says. "Everything was more deliberate this time . . . there were no happy accidents."
The decision to return to Matador seemed like a natural fit for the band, as Fogarino says, "It felt like we never left . . . We left for one record. It's not like we saw our career take a right turn."
Beggars/Matador VP of marketing Adam Farrell says the campaign for "Interpol" is returning the focus to the group's roots and music, with a spotlight on indie retail. Mom-and-pop stores will receive exclusive CD and LP versions, and the band will also be doing its first in-store performances.
"Interpol was born out of indie retail," Lombardi adds. "We are going back to where they originally cut their teeth."
In addition to retail, the campaign is extending to higher-concept art projects similar to what the band did surrounding the "Antics" release, when it opened a gallery space. The group is working with ad agency Wieden + Kennedy to create something Farrell describes as a "visual accompaniment to the album [that will] be all outdoorsy, artsy and technologistic."
To whet fans' appetites, Interpol released the song "Lights" April 28 as a free download on its website, the video for which debuted July 22. First single "Barricade" went to radio Aug. 3 following a July 29 performance on "Late Show With David Letterman."
Extensive touring is also in the works, including a few smaller stops in the summer leading to bigger venues throughout the fall. For the live shows, the band is bringing onboard David Pajo (Slint, Tortoise) on bass and the Secret Machines' Brandon Curtis on keyboard.
While there aren't any solid plans to keep Pajo and Curtis on as permanent members, the band is excited about the revised lineup.
"It's almost like being a new band without really changing," Fogarino says. "It's a rare opportunity-to lose a key member and have a minor emotional setback and to continue on without scarring the integrity of the band. It's a rare thing, and I feel really lucky."