Interpol formed in New York City during the late ’90s and their dreary indie rock songs which were often directed at the city like “NYC” have resonated with residents ever since.
But these days, drummer Sam Fogarino calls Athens, Georgia his home. Here, the ex-New Yorker opens up about the parts of city life that were OK to leave behind.
1. Insane, too-damn-high rent.
“When I left New York in 2008 I was paying the same amount that I now pay for a big Victorian house in the South. There’s many different reasons that one would pay the premium to live in the city but after having gone full circle in New York, especially after Interpol played Madison Square Garden, I was just like, ‘I don’t need to rent this zip code anymore.’”
2. The feeling that the city might ACTUALLY swallow you.
“When I first got to New York, it felt like the city was going to swallow me or get lost in it. Then after I got used to it, it felt overwhelming in a different way, like I couldn’t move or get out of the city.”
3. Round-the-clock traffic.
“Getting in a cab to go somewhere that’s like a mile away, no matter what time of day or night it is, and it takes 30 minutes and costs about 30 bucks. That is something I don’t miss.”
4. Looking for a scene as cool as the ones you’ve read about.
“Where are the radical subversive movements compared to the mainstream, like the things you’d read about the ’60s or No Wave? Maybe the past always seems brighter than it really was.”
5. The absence of the great ole’ outdoors.
“Nature is pretty important [to me.] I grew up around Philly and lived on the periphery of these woods. In Georgia I get more space. Now I actually have some trees around me. I get more of the natural landscape, and touring with the band I get to see a little bit of the city sometimes.”
6. People that are on a mission 24/7.
“Everyone is in a hurry and has to get somewhere because everyone has something way more important to do than everyone else. That’s the vibe I get walking down Avenue A or 6th Avenue.”
“The tourists who take up the whole side walk. In hindsight, I sounds like a caustic New Yorker — ‘I know you’re having a good time in your Gap attire, but you can walk in a single file line?’ I sound like a jerk. But that’s another thing: you would see these tourists going into The Gap. I don’t understand. You have a Gap?!”
8. The Midtown Suit swarm.
“When we were recording our third album, Interpol holed up in the midtown studio that was on 8th Avenue. It felt like a contradiction — we were this indie rock band who were stuck in a 9 to 5 feeling, with everyone around being like women in their suits and sneakers or Wall Street guys. It felt bizarre, making music there.”
9. Times Square…
“I remember visiting Times Square in 1991 and walking around at 3 a.m. I went to McDonalds to get a cup of coffee, because Starbucks wasn’t even around then, and a gang fight broke out! Times Square was intense, compared to now. But just because its a tourist trap now doesn’t mean it isn’t still dangerous.”
10. … and Williamsburg.
“What happened to Williamsburg? I moved to New York to Williamsburg in 1997. This is really going to make me sound middle-aged but there was like a coffee shop, a couple bars, a couple Polish diners, and after dark there was nobody on the street. It doesn’t feel like a small town in Brooklyn anymore.”
11. Ultimately, no matter where you go, you’ll always have some New Yorker in you.
“There’s a glacial pace to daily existence [in the South], and I’ll find myself being the asshole. I’ve taken a taxi in Athens once and it was in a van that picked up other people along the way. [Laughs] I didn’t like that at all, and the New Yorker really came out of me. Like, ‘why are you stopping?!’”
12. And you’ll never be able to deny that New York is a special place.
“People definitely romanticize New York City but there really is just something about it. I get a tiny thrill just being there. There’s so much energy that can’t be denied. It doesn’t matter what phase the city is going through, it’s still New York.”