Interview with Sam from

This link was passed on to me awhile ago by a fan: here Sam talks about some of his favorite songs on the German website einslive. The interview is titled, ‘Der Mann im Hintergrund’, or, “the man in the background,” and most of the songs have audio links where you can hear Sam speak about them—in English! I’ve included a partial transcription of what Sam says in these audio clips at the bottom of this post.

[side note: Sam’s words are translated into German in the body of the interview, though from what I can tell the translation is somewhat loose, and not all of what Sam says is found in the German text.]

For the most part, Sam comments on the aesthetic of the song he’s discussing (electronic, guitar driven, dense, etc.) and probable influences (another band or era). However, he goes a little farther in his discussion of the last song, “Bed for the Scraping” by Fugazi. Phrases that hit me as significant in this audio clip are “guitar interaction” and “the band wouldn’t be anything without any [one] of the members.” In these quotes I see Sam valuing conscious and precise interactions between musicians, a result of a situation in which “everybody in the band meant something.” No one person in the band is dispensable, and indeed, take one person away, and the band disappears.

These statements bolster my belief that Interpol’s music is the result of a true collective effort, in which each instrument, or musical “voice,” is equally important—Interpol’s music is very “polyphonic” in that sense. I also find it significant that Sam centers his discussion of this song around Daniel, the one band member credited with providing the initial sparks that eventually grow into the completed song via the other band members’ input. Though Sam has intimated that Interpol’s music is for him somewhat restrictive (in an interview about his side project, Magnetic Morning) and humorless (in his Shellac audio clip in this interview), he seems to nonetheless value the unique way in which Interpol operates as a creative force.

Thanks to my anonymous fan for the link!
Until next time,
Love from,

Von Südenfed “The Rhinohead”
“…a really brilliant mix…of severe electronic aesthetic, with this wall of sound, 60’s vibe going on. It’s one of the rare moments where Mark E. Smith is actually singing a melody. It’s catchy without being insulting to one’s intelligence. And he’s totally taking the piss out of something; I can’t figure it out.”

Deerhunter “Spring Hall Convert”
“The track compels me because it carries the torch for an aesthetic I appreciate, that’s very guitar driven, smart rock a la The Pixies—they do it in their way. …[re: listening to new records] it’s not necessarily what you want to do, with your life being based around music 24 hours a day. I hadn’t been peaked by a band in such a way in quite awhile”

Blonde Redhead “23”
“23 makes me complete…It has this atmosphere, these compelling melodies and these driving rhythms. And that basically sums up Blonde Redhead.”

Shellac “Dog and Pony Show”
“Being able to pull off such a dense style of rock n roll without being crotch-grabbing, or cheesy, it’s a hard line to follow, and still having a great sense of humor on top of it.”

My Bloody Valentine “Honeypower”
“Speaking of atmosphere and melody, I don’t think there’s a band since The Beatles that have impacted modern music, I think that’s very safe to say.”

Public Enemy “Miuzi Weighs a Ton”
“Chuck D’s…voice is a golden baritone…[Public Enemy] is a nice expansion of my musical palette.” [my translation]

Spoon “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
“Their new record is probably their best one yet, in my opinion…again that wall of sound, 60’s pop song vibe, is something I’m always a sucker for, especially if it’s someone like Britt Daniel and company pulling it off. I mean, it’s just so rich, that song, it’s so hard not to like. If you have any kind of open ear, you’re gonna be sucked in by it.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Downboy”
“The song Downboy is utterly compelling…the first time I heard the song, I watched the video, which made it all the better…Brian’s…drumming in the chorus…to watch him play, it’s so graceful it’s almost kind of dancing. That song is just amazing, such a foot-stomper.”

TV On the Radio “Wolf Like Me”
“…definitely showcases what the band is all about and how they definitely incorporate just so many different kind of pop genres into what they do, and creating a new one.”

Fugazi “Bed for the Scraping”
“This is for Daniel…it’s not Daniel’s favorite Fugazi song by any stretch, but it’s mine, so I’m gonna play it for him…it’s probably some of the best guitar interaction between two guitar players…Daniel came out of that DC punk rock…it has infected the way we operate as a band, keeping things kind of real, and civil, for the people that we hire to work with and for us. And I think it inspires the way we work together as a band. You know, Fugazi was definitely a definitive band: where everybody in the band meant something, and the band wouldn’t be anything without any of the members.”


~ by megwilhoite on December 14, 2008.

One Response to “Interview with Sam from”

  1. very very interesting
    this phrase in particular “Interpol’s music is the result of a true collective effort”, i so agree with that, i think its something you cant deny, its just like that
    its great also how sams get in depth talking about those songs.
    as I started this comment, I must say it again: very very interesting

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