Drummer Sam Fogarino isn’t exactly sure how his post-punk trio Interpol just made one of the best albums of its career. The sonically adventurous sixth recording “Marauder” opens with the galloping “If You Really Love Nothing,” moves to the stomping “The Rover,” then closes with the dark “It Probably Matters.” Throughout, it features airtight interplay between Fogarino, vocalist-bassist Paul Banks and guitarist Daniel Kessler, whose work is full of reckless abandon, yet remains unerringly precise. It helped that the band set its new songs aside to cool for three months while it toured for the 15th anniversary of its classic 2002 debut “Turn on the Bright Lights”; playing the shows reminded members of their strengths. Also, it didn’t hurt to have an outside producer, Dave Fridmann, to subtly tweak the tracks. Either way, “Marauder” is a home run.
You had to feel something magic happening with this album, right?
Yeah. And it’s a strange thing. With our last album, and Carlos (Dengler, bassist) quitting, it felt like a threshold had been crossed, and it felt good enough to go, “OK, this is staying on track.” And we actually managed to raise the bar for ourselves at the same time. And this time, we had Dave Fridmann producing, and he made a plan off of the music that he heard. He wanted something economic and sparse, and when we decided to work with him, we’d been recording demos of all of our rehearsals and writing sessions. Not that there was some great fidelity there, but he heard something and said, “You know, there are songs here. And there’s an energy that I’m going to capitalize on.” So it was about sticking to those simple elements that you have control over, that are not post-production — what went onto the tape machine is what you hear, with only a few little embellishments.
You rarely hear a propulsive rhythm like “If You Really Love Nothing,” outside of The Smiths.
Yeah. I’ve been playing rock music since I was a pre-pubescent — I was 12 when I started playing in bands. And it’s all been straight, straight, white performances and beats. So I was like, “What would happen if I just took this left turn and injected this kind of swinging thing into what Interpol does? I think it could be a really beautiful accident.” So it was like, why not? It’s so easy to just play it straight. Or you could rise to the occasion, inject some soul and not be as purely post-punk about it. Daniel and I always agree on old Stax and Motown, and we have that in the back of our heads all the time. So it was pretty easy when I injected that soulful thing over what he was doing. The opportunity just presented itself.
Did you ever consider stopping once Carlos left?
Never. It was like, “OK, well, he quit. What do we do? What are we doing next?” Then Paul said, “Well, I could play some bass…” So there was never the thought of not continuing as Interpol. It was like, “There’s three of us. We got this.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 6