Q&A: Paul Banks
On threesomes and his alter ego
So tell us about this Julian Plenti chap ...
He is very finely separated from myself. But yeah, I suppose you would call him an alter ego.
So, expand. in what ways does rock star Julian Plenti differ from plain old Paul Banks...
You know, that question does get asked a lot. It's not so much an enhancement from the real -- it's more of a simpler version of me.
The video to your new single Games for Days is a bit saucy, though?
Basically, I wanted a babe dancing. That was one of the criteria, to get a hot chick dancing. We were going for models, but the thing got a little risque. A lot of the candidates were baulking at some of the treatments, which were maybe overly sexual.
In the end you cast Emily Haines, the statuesque frontwoman of indie band Metric, as the babe in bondage. We didn't see that one coming.
I was like "Ooh, if we get the wrong girl, this is going to look bad. If we get the wrong actres,s there is going to be a vibe of victimisation. We need someone with a certain esprit de vivre. So she doesn't seem like the victim of my will". I'd met Emily years ago and was struck by her very strong personality. She is a very powerful female.
Interpol fans are going to be shocked by all of this.
This isn't a reaction to anything else I've done. It's an extension of me, I'm a sleazy guy. But if you get my work, those themes have always been there. When you're working as a lone person you can really go with your indulgences. I grew up watching those Robert Palmer videos with the chicks in the band behind him. He's there in his suit. As a kid, I was thinking, "that guy has got the idea, he knows what's going on".
Then again,the last Interpol album includes a song called No I In Threesome -- an ode to er... a threesome.
It's always been there, if you listen. There's a layer of seriousness to what I do, but there's also always been a layer of adolescence. I don't think people necessarily caught onto that.
Speaking of your personal life, you've become a bit of a magnet for paparazzi (Banks has been romantically linked to ex-supermodel Helena Christensen). How does it feel to be a quasi-celebrity...
I don't read anything about myself. I don't know what of my personal life is out there. That's a hard lesson learned. It's one I think anybody who is in the public eye comes to terms with: do not fucking read about yourself online. It's the 101. I don't read reviews, I don't read press, I don't read about myself. I don't read shit.
I recently interviewed a musician who went on the road with Interpol as support in 2005. He said it was the wildest tour he'd ever been on.
You know... I don't even remember... Actually, I remember we had a fucking blast. yeah. It was a pretty raw tour. It was maybe a peak of wackiness for me, of messiness. I think as I got a little older I realised that work is where the priority is. Partying is excellent and can really inform the work and the creativity. But if the balance gets to the point where the creative starts to be affected, it's time to take it easy. I don't think there would have been a Julian Plenti album if I hadn't adjusted my mojo a little.
Julian Plenti plays Academy Dublin next Tuesday. The album Julian Plenti... Is Skyscraper is out now