Somewhat predictably, as big Interpol fans, the DiS team really love Paul Banks' new album Banks. We gave it a very positive review here, offered up a world exclusive premiere of the album, and sent super-fan Dom Gourlay to chat to Paul about the record, as well as the 10th Anniversary of Turn on the Bright Lights.
After all of that blurbiage, and now that you've hopefully had time to pick up a copy of the album and sink your ears into it, we turn your attention over to Mr Banks, who has written this guide to the album....
I wrote this song last. Just before going to the studio. But I knew before I even finished it that it would be the album opener - that the guitar riff should be the first sound heard. It's a good moment in the process of building an album, when you find the opener. Rob Moose - the viola/violin player who wowed me with his work on my cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fool To Want You" - improvised some string parts in this song. Very moody and strange note clusters that never would have occurred to me, which I cherish. .
Over My Shoulder
I had this riff for a while. Then I built the song up to it's present form one day in Greece, while on the road with Interpol. I tell the guys in the live band that for this song's mood - particularly in the chorus - I envision a members-only Racquet Club in Canada in the early 80's. Pictures of mustachioed athletes on the wall, pictures of actresses with cheetahs on rugs, pictures of ferraris... Tele Savalas. A bygone spirit of a life of moderate leisure. The vocals have nothing to do with that. They're about the past, the future, and the present. Drums provided by my dude Charles Burst.
My favorite song on the album. I have also had this guitar riff for a while. I built it into a song proper just this past year. I played the drums. Took me a long time to learn the beat. Probably too ambitious for my abilities, but I think there's a charm to naive drumming. One of my most exciting moments writing the record was when I realized that I was going to put a huge bass note drop in the 2nd half of the song. It's a LOW B that comes in suddenly. Your ear buds will just rattle a little bit, your computer speakers won't even articulate the frequency at all. But if you're driving in a car with a subwoofer....be warned: There's a surprise in this track. And it brings a rumble.
Conceived as an instrumental about 6 years ago...I was demoing it for this record when suddenly the vocals came to me. In 5 minutes the song changed from an instrumental to a fairly straight forward track - words and all! I like the outro.
The instrumental. I love instrumentals. And this song was a joy to write, a joy to record, and it's a joy to perform. I named it Lisbon because the word and the place seemed to suit the mood of the music. Concerning the title, I felt that to indicate anything more specific than an atmosphere - like those that sometimes define a place in one's mind - would distract from the song. I think naming a song after a place is like an invitation. The great cellist Yoed Nir performed the string arrangement on this track.
I'll Sue You
The title says it all really. It's a song sung from the perspective of a covetous and petty man. A man who has no scruples. No sense of shame. It's a song about machinations of greed. It was also a blast to write. When I hear that actors enjoy playing villains, that's how I felt writing this. The most demo'd song on the album. I built it up from scratch about 13 times before I took it to Peter Katis (co-producer/mixer). Features Yoed Nir and Rob Moose. Some great string-work here.
Paid For That
I aspired to give this song a slithering, swaggering quality. Sebastian Thomson (of Trans Am) performed the beat with fortitude and prowess. He is epic. Lyrically, it's all over the place. Mostly it's drunken reverie and resentment that characterize this song.
This song is instrumental - so to speak - but it features dialogue from my friend Sebastian Ischer's film, "Black Out."
Sebastian has a band called I'm In You. The other singer/guitarist in that band is Chris McHenry: the actor who delivers this dialogue.
In addition, I sampled a chemical warfare warning siren that I recorded in Geneva. They were conducting their monthly test of the system the day I was there.
It is the best sound on the album. All natural reverb and decay. Sounds like 10,000 horns orbiting in the distance. Yoed Nir plays the cello.
I had this song pegged in my head as a single. But it just came out weird. Good weird. I enjoy it. It's great fun to play live. The bridge has an odd time signature. It's 13 beats per sequence. So you have to play the sequence 4 times - 52 beats - until you're back on a multiple of 4. Then you can exit the bridge on a 1 beat of the regular 4/4 count. I like a little math with my music. As long as it feels organic. I could recite this paragraph in the voice of Nigel Tufnel. "Can you hear the sustain?"
Summertime Is Coming
This is the only song on the record from my Julian Plenti days. I wrote it years ago. I updated it and built up the arrangement for the record. And Peter and I made some edits to it. This song is very dear to me, like an old friend.
...and here is the album stream: