Strange Bedfellows: Hip Hop and ‘Evil’

Greetings! I recently received an interesting question from ant regarding Paul Banks’ self-confessed love of hip hop, and the possibility of hip hop’s influence on Interpol’s style. Ant writes that he can hear the influence of hip hop in the vocal style Banks uses for “Evil,” but not generally in the rest of Interpol’s music.

– I can hear what ant means about “Evil,” where, in the verses, the rhythmic aspect of the word presentation is quite significant, and Banks even sings them on repetitive, close-together notes, in a kind of speaking style.

– As to the consideration of outside influences on Interpol’s music: I remember watching an interview with Paul and Daniel awhile ago, where they talked about how disparate each of the band member’s own musical tastes are, and the differences in each person’s musical past before starting Interpol. I’ve heard mention of a taste for (to name a few) punk, dub, and hip hop claimed by Interpol band members in interviews in the past; and we all know by now, from Carlos himself, the effect that classical music has had on his own contributions to Interpol’s music, especially for OLTA.

– I agree with ant that one doesn’t really detect the influence of hip hop on Interpol’s music in general. In fact, I would expand upon that assertion and say that I don’t really detect any distinct stylistic influence on Interpol’s music. I feel that Interpol’s music is of a rare breed that takes what’s familiar—in this case: electric guitars, drums, verses, choruses, fairly standard chord progressions—and truly transforms it into something unique. That is, in the way that each human being is unique, so that person has the capability for unique expression, and likewise has the capability to express collectively with other persons in a unique way, such as in a rock band.

Thanks for the question/observation, ant! Next up, a discussion of one reader’s take on Interpol’s use of tonality.

Until then,
Much love from,


~ by megwilhoite on October 15, 2008.

One Response to “Strange Bedfellows: Hip Hop and ‘Evil’”

  1. Hi, Meg!

    I agree with you, Interpol is not only Paul… but it sounds more to Carlos´s (and Daniel´s?) influences.
    Do you know The Chameleons, do not you? I love them.

    I would like to share with you one of the last songs of The Cure. Robert sings hip-hop or rap style in some parts of it:
    Porl´s guitar sounds also to Interpol!! haha!!

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