Carlos: In Defense of Artistic Integrity

Something I love about Interpol is each member’s commitment to artistic integrity and the different ways they express it. In a recent interview (see July 6 entry), Sam stated that his is a commitment to the integrity of Interpol’s ability to reach the audience on a raw emotional level. Daniel often talks about the organic way in which Interpol write their songs and how the integrity of that process is never compromised, while Paul has consistently insisted that his lyrics are not necessarily autobiographical nor are their meanings necessarily fixed; that what’s important is the listener’s unique way of responding to the words. He has always defended the integrity of his intentional indirectness when writing the lyrics for Interpol’s songs.

Carlos also has his own take on artistic integrity, as expressed in this interview from Here we see Carlos dismiss the negative critical attention to Our Love to Admire. The qualifications contained in such attention, he asserts, are not pertinent to Interpol’s purpose, which is to work “from a place that is based on love and artistic integrity.” When this purpose is the focus of the song-writing process, questions of worth “become so shallow and so hollow.” For Carlos, it’s all about an honest portrayal of his artistic self.

Part of that artistic self is his professed admiration of classical and film music (the latter of which is often heavily inspired by the former). Carlos’ love of classical music found its way into his contributions to OLTA, a fact attested to by interviewer John Lucas’ use of phrases like “clean but layered,” and “carefully orchestrated” when describing OLTA’s sound.

Towards the end of the interview, when describing his attitude toward his much commented upon “look,” Carlos invokes the artist’s right to do whatever he likes with it without having “to account for it ever.” Exploiting the visual bias built into the music industry is part of his “artistic process,” and in no way allies him with the commodification of humans and music alike that he believes drives that industry.

Artistic integrity in itself is a slippery concept, and most likely if I were to ask two like-minded people to define it, a debate of some sort would spring up. Nonetheless, it’s always nice to hear one of your favorite bands claiming a commitment to genuineness and integrity when it comes to their music.

Just wanted to share my thoughts on this interesting interview!

Until soon,
Much love from,


~ by megwilhoite on August 13, 2008.

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