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Interpol

“I’m probably just as ignorant about new music as my mom,” says Interpol bassist Carlos D. “Whenever we play with a new band I am embarrassed, because I am ignorant about their music. But it doesn’t make me lose sleep or anything.”

Things weren’t always this way for the former New York City scenester. Once an electro DJ, obsessed with breaking new acts and building up the scene, Carlos was focused on partying, Depeche Mode, ladies, more partying and, yes, many more ladies. Carlos built himself a reputation as both Interpol’s most accessible member and one of New York’s most notorious party boys. But with the release of Interpol’s first major-label album, Our Love to Admire, Carlos no longer plays the part of the gothed-out party kid, and neither do his bandmates.

The way Carlos tells it, his biggest influences are no longer British artists from the mid-’80s; he now claims his greatest influences are German musicians from the early 1800’s—you know, like Beethoven.

Instead of focusing on what is hot right now, Carlos has returned to a previous obsession with classical music, and it is an influence that can be heard heavily on tracks like “Pioneer to the Falls,” where lines of swirling strings cascade over the jagged landscape of Daniel Kessler’s and Paul Banks’ guitar work.

Carlos has relinquished some of the territory that his booming bass used to take up to allow for experimentation. “One big thing that came out of this round of recording that was refreshing for our future was a change in our songwriting dynamic, an update that really had some repercussions,” explains Carlos. “We used a sequencer right from the beginning, and it gave me an extra kind of paintbrush to paint with. I had been landlocked to bass guitar. I had to perform all my musical contributions at the beginning of each songwriting session, using this baritone instrument that doesn’t allow any sort of different texture. With the computer, I got an expanded pallette to work with.”

Carlos says it was not his band’s intention to go out and completely change their previous dance-goth dynamic to something more dark and classically inspired. “Very little we do, we do consciously. When you start thinking too much into something, it might have detrimental effects; it can take out the sincerity of what you are doing. We pride ourselves on letting things grow organically. I think we have to move on and expand to see what true limitations we have as artists.”

For Interpol fans worried that they won’t recognize the band and their new material, Carlos says he can put their fears to rest. “We were concerned the new material wouldn’t sound good next to the old material, but there is something about us: When we are playing live we streamline everything. All the songs sound like they are coming from same place. Sure, there is some sort of jubilation over old classic stuff, and that is perfectly natural. But the crowd is not going, ‘Oh not that new thing!’ . . . and that is absolutely golden.”

Interpol will perform Monday (Sept. 10) at 8 PM at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany). Tickets are $25 and $20. For more info, call 465-3334.

—David King

dking@metroland.net

Moonlight and Magnolias

Frankly, my dear, I give a damn.

Capital Repertory Theatre’s artistic director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill recently sat down at one of the Victory Café’s outdoor tables, sipped her soup, and answered a few questions during the lunch break from Friday’s Moonlight and Magnolias rehearsal (performances begin this weekend).

What attracted her to Moonlight and Magnolias, a play about the writing of the screenplay of Gone With the Wind, which is playing in Equity theaters all over the country this year?

“It’s a true story—great personalities and a story that just had to be true, because it’s too crazy to be fiction,” she says. “And it reminds me how we have to talk in the arts today.”

How so?

“When it’s the mass-produced mentality up against your common sense, when everyone tells you it’ll be OK, and you know it won’t be,” Mancinelli-Cahill explains, “you come against that all the time in theater. That’s what Selznick was up against, and I identify with him.”

To what does the title refer?

“[It refers to] the ‘bodice ripper’ novels of the South,” Mancinelli-Cahill says. “Screenwriter Ben Hecht is brought in by David O. Selznick to rewrite the script of Gone With the Wind in five days, shutting down the production, bringing director Victor Fleming in from The Wizard of Oz to fix GWTW, and Hecht refers to the novel as ‘moonlight and magnolias’—that stereotypical Southern romance novel,” (affecting a very buff voice) ‘where men were men and women were women.’ ”

“It’s that very romanticized type of novel that Hecht thinks GWTW is,” Mancinelli-Cahill says, “but Selznick doesn’t.”

In the play, Selznick, Hecht and Fleming are locked in a room for five days eating only what Selznick thought was “brain food”: peanuts and bananas. Is the cast sick of peanuts and bananas yet?

“We haven’t started eating the real bananas yet,” she says. “Eating lots of real bananas poses a problem when there’s only one bathroom. Making fake banana peels is an interesting process.”

“It’s funny,” she explains, “three men in a room eating bananas doesn’t sound like anything but a comedy, but it’s about something. . . . It’s about our values. Hecht is the voice of social responsibility. He says, ‘Look, you have a platform, an opportunity here to write about real people and make America look at its ugly mug in the mirror.’ ”

“Selznick says no way. Can you have art for Art’s sake?”

“The question for Selznick and for me,” she says, “is can I put people in the seats? What’s the balance between social responsibility and just entertainment?”

She ponders her favorite scene in Gone With the Wind.

“Well, that first close up of Gable looking at Scarlett [Vivian Leigh], it’s so dynamic and such a homage to what a movie star used to be. No, wait. After all this,” she says, referring to the rehearsal process, “it’s that last scene, because they made it. They made it.”

Moonlight and Magnolias opens tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 7) at 8 PM at Capital Repertory Theatre (111 N. Pearl St., Albany) and continues through Sept. 30. Tickets range from $17 to $44. For complete shows and times, and ticket info, call the box office at 445-7469.

—James Yeara


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