Post Punk Revival: Interpol

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to the second lesson in the series covering Post Punk style. This style is very interesting, not only because it was a very creative variation of initial punk rock, because it influenced lots of bands and genres like alternative rock, gothic rock and industrial music. Post Punk emerged from the initial punk rock explosion from the late 70’s but it was a more experimental form of punk because it incorporated elements from krautrock (synthesizers and loop concepts), dub music, american funk and studio experimentation that was mostly found in disco music.
    This time I decided to cover a band that has been part of the Post Punk revival of the late 90’s that included bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives, The Vines and the one covered on this lesson: Interpol. They are an American band from New York city, formed in 1997. The original line up was Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitar, vocals), Carlos Dengler (bass guitar, keyboards) and Greg Drudy (Drums, Percussion.

    Music Style:
    This band is usually a mix of staccato bass and rhythm combined with guitar ideas that show big influence by bands like Joy Division, The Chameleon and The Smiths/Morrissey. They are the most “Post Punk” sounding of this new revival so you will notice that this lesson is like a modern version of the previous lesson in the series. The interesting part of them is the dark vibe, their rhythmic work and the way they arrange guitars and bass. Each of these features is covered in my composition inspired by their most popular songs.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    The tonality of this track is based on F major but sometimes it gets close to A Phrygian. There are some little modulations that are explained in the following video parts. The movement F5 – A#5 – A5, sounds very dark and mysterious, it gives the tune a sad sound that is found in most of their music. Before I started composing this tune, I’ve learnt many of their songs and I found this progression used many times in different situations, with different arrangements and sometimes in a different order. I invite you to check their most popular music and discover that sad vibe in their songs.

    The strong point of this lesson is not technique, it’s arranging and composition. The way guitars interact among them and also with the bass and drums. You should pay extra attention to this. However, if you are a beginner this lesson can be a good exercise to polish your technique in a musical context playing something that sounds good and interesting. You have to pay attention to rhythm, down picking and palm muting the strings that should be kept quiet.

    I used LePou plugins to create the guitar tone. These are free amp emulators that are extremely recommend. The cabinet used for this guitar tone is Poulin HyBrit which is a Marshall Emulation. Here you can check the setting that I used:

    Click HERE to download the patch used.

    Tuning: Standard 440.

    Tempo: 120 BPM

    Ok post punk rockers, let’s get into the sound of Interpol!

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