Interpol, despite consistently attributing their longevity and success to their loyal fan base, have ironically left hundreds of loyal fans in the greater NYC area, and throughout the United States utterly bemused and heart-broken, as it seems not a single fan ‘won’ entry to the Marauder Release Show at House of Vans Brooklyn.
For the majority of the Spring and Summer of 2018, Interpol have been indulging their fans in mysterious, cryptic posts across social media alluding to the highly anticipated sixth studio album Marauder, set to drop at record stores, on Spotify, Apple Music and the band’s InterpolNYC merch store this Friday, August 24, 2018. A press conference was held and live-streamed globally in Mexico City — recently named as the band’s second hometown– where they debuted the fist-pumping single “The Rover” off of Marauder, and answered a brief Q&A from fans and press detailing the writing, recording, and touring process of post-Carlos Dengler Interpol.
The Mexico City press conference, coupled with social media ciphers, codes and clues effectively awakened an Interpol fan community hungry for new music and tour dates. In mid-May 2018, the first and only tour date of 2018 for the band’s NYC crowd was publicized on social media. Interpol announced an intimate Marauder album release show hosted by House of Vans Brooklyn, to be held the same day as the release, Friday, August 24, 2018. This release party, advertised as being “curated by Interpol” would be the final and closing show for the House of Vans venue — a cross between a neighborhood skate park and the first floor of Terminal 5 if it were constructed from a Maersk shipping container — located at 25 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The event was initially advertised to fans as a free, first-come, first-served RSVP event. Typically, with the House of Vans RSVP shows, a fan signs up using their name and e-mail to secure a free ticket, no strings attached (other than any clauses listed in the legal disclaimer). As with any high-demand artist, the tickets sell out, the RSVP will close, and on the day of the show, people with reservations are allowed in until the venue hits capacity. At times, at least in my experience with this specific venue, the need for RSVP is voided if you get to the venue early enough and queue amongst other House of Vans devotees.
On August 13, 2018, as if by the hand of the Marauder himself, a troublesome and misguided character imagined by and likened to a young archetype of Interpol’s lyricist and frontman Paul Banks, hometown fans anxiously awaiting the opening of the House of Vans RSVP were blind-sided by House of Vans and the shadowy management figures handling the gig, as it was announced at the last-minute that the RSVP process would be “handled differently” for this last House of Vans show. It was now being advertised as a “contest” as opposed to an open RSVP, and fans had from 9:00 AM, August 15, 2018 to 5:00 PM August 16, 2018 to enter a ballot to win two (2) tickets. Fans across social media were caught off-guard by this unexpected lottery announcement; neither House of Vans, nor Interpol, nor Matador Records publicly advertised the show as a contest on any of their social media platforms during the months preceding the show. Fans, known colloquially between each other as ‘Interpals’ flocked to the event page on Facebook to lament this sudden change in protocol for entry into the show, as many had made flight arrangements, purchased non-refundable bus tickets, scouted out lodging close to the venue and secured Airbnb accommodations, all to be left with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and a lack of security as entry into the event depended solely at the discretion of a third-party to spin the Wheel of Fortune. The fates of Interpol fans would be decided one week prior to the event as winners and losers of the contest would be notified Friday, August 17, 2018 at 2:00 PM Eastern via e-mail with results of the contest. 2:00 PM came and went and by 3:00 PM on August 17, the results of the contest were illuminated, as non-industry entrants received e-mails with the semi-mocking subject line: “Sorry. Maybe next time.”
Interpals stormed the Interpol reddit, the event page on Facebook and took to Twitter to seek answers and speculate; why was it that the majority of the fans were receiving rejection emails? On the event page on Facebook, an unofficial poll was run by a curious fan to see if anyone had actually won tickets. The results as of August 20, 2018 at 12:00 PM Eastern bring to light a dark side of the hierarchy of the music business, as 0 fans reported that they had won tickets and 111 fans reported that they had not won. If that were not enough for disappointments in the Interpol fan community, there were at least four people in the event page on Facebook selling tickets to desperate and vulnerable fans at outrageous prices — some even asking for payment in Bitcoin, which equates to roughly $6,742.00 USD — reinforcing the unfortunate reality that the privileged guest list crowd and industry elite will sniff out blood on a Greenpoint street and offer up their unwanted spots in the audience at a highly-coveted gig for a price. The connected do not meet their lack of desire to attend the show with grace as they are turning a profit on free tickets and proving that in the case of the House of Vans contest, it is pay to see Interpol play.
Most feel betrayed by House of Vans and the murky powers-that-be mismanaging the House of Vans Brooklyn event. Fans across Interpol’s social media pages have been passionately responding to this suspicious lottery turned fan fiasco:
“I’m beyond disappointed over this show. As soon as they announced tour dates I knew this was the show I wanted to go to. A more intimate venue for the hometown, perfect. I’m not a huge fan of MSG because of my anxiety so I passed on that. I was up and ready to RSVP at 8:30 in case it went early and fast but without any warning for us this stupid lottery was formed. Then the day we learn the results NO ONE won? I mean I’m desperate at this point for tix. The only ones that have any have gotten them through work and are selling these ‘free tickets’ for an insane amount of money. I’m let down by this venue but even more by the band that hasn’t acknowledged this debacle at all. We only wanted to support the band we love.”
“When I first heard they were playing an album release show I immediately made it my priority to go to this show. I took off work and ‘RSVP’d’ at 9:00:01 am when it opened. I was heart broken to see I didn’t win tickets. And so was my best friend who also entered. But I was astonished when I found out that not one fan won tickets (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit). Not one single fan. The Interpol fan base has been a small but tight knit community. So it was a matter of time before we all found out that it was a giant farce. And now there are ‘inside people’ selling extra tickets online. I sincerely hope the band had no input on this sham of a lottery. I’m also hoping that this will somehow get rectified, by Vans or by Interpol themselves. Hoping for the best…”
“I live in London attending grad school, and planned this trip when the show was announced at the beginning of summer, with my girlfriend (we are doing long-distance, she lives in Charlotte, NC). Overall, very disappointed in how the situation is being handled: lack of communication from the band, Matador, House of Vans, etc. The trash thing about the situation is it’s alright to put on an insider / industry gig, but to mask it up as a fan raffle is disingenuous and reflects poorly on everyone’s character.”
“This whole thing was really such a burn to longtime fans as it was really insensitive to present this opportunity to fans to be able to celebrate a new album release with Interpol to only have it become a shady turn of events right when the RSVP was about to open, its events like this one that makes it extremely rewarding to be a fan…it feels like a really big disservice to fans that were looking forward to the opportunity to support the band and their new album. I had even planned to take the day off of work to be able to get in line a soon as possible, I know many people had made extensive travel plans for the opportunity far beyond just taking a day off of work…It should have been a private release show as it wouldn’t have lead to so much anger and disappointment. I understand the need to promote a show in an industry setting, they need the support of big shots in the industry, I don’t blame them for that. But having the only opportunity to see Interpol again, not until February at MSG, is disappointing for an NYC band with a huge fan base still right here.”
“It’s funny that House of Vans would waste the time of fans when the Interpol show, the last HOV event, was only reserved for ‘insiders’ the whole time. Aren’t we sick of going to shows where it’s just full of people standing and staring around? I was looking forward to thrashing my body, sweating out my sins, and feeling so happy, but it’s fine if House of Vans doesn’t want to go out that way. We probably would’ve “won the ballot” if we had just entered the name of some boring music writer, but that’s NYC lately for you! Flaccid shows
full of people just trying to be seen and post about it.”
“I was coming from Ohio to see this show, there was no way I could forgive myself if I missed it. I was really surprised and hurt watching all of this go down without comment from either side. Now the event page started blocking posts. Vans really let us down, but man, it would be worse to find out if Interpol knew about this and let it happen, or are just ignoring it completely. The fact that this was advertised as open entry for their fans just for them to exclude us at the last minute? This has definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth.”
I have been a fervent supporter of Interpol’s music since the release of Antics in 2004. I might’ve been too young to even begin to understand the elusive themes expressed by lead singer Paul Banks, but I had this urgent, visceral reaction to the music itself. It was music for the soul; every note spoke a thousand languages. Since then, Interpol and I have been in an enchanting love affair. At times, their music has even served as a temporary panacea for enduring depression. Like every other fan, I do my best to support them, and that, of course, includes attending all the live shows I can. When I found out about this House of Vans show, I was beyond excited. I was fortunate enough to attend their Turn On The Bright Lights fifteen-year anniversary show in Queens last September. I was front row sobbing to “Specialist” with my best friends, and a few other Interpol regulars, all of whom I met through our mutual love of this band. It was a show that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Being able to see Interpol in a more intimate setting is always a highly coveted fan experience. But the opportunity to see this intimate show at House of Vans was ripped and stripped away from loyal Interpol fans so carelessly and abruptly. We were given false hope by this seemingly fake contest and left in a wasteland.
I had intended to make Interpol be my Friday; I planned on meeting up with my closest Interpals, order Grubhub while queueing, smuggle nips of vodka and maybe a joint or two to celebrate the album release. We texted for months back-and-forth about new singles, potential outfits we would wear to match the kings of New York. We would count down the months, weeks, and days until we would meet each other again. We would tag each other in live streams from concerts in Mexico, and wish to far-away galaxies that rarities like “Public Pervert” and “The Scale” would stick in the setlist for Brooklyn. Late at night, we giggled like schoolgirls at a sleepover, dreaming of drunkenly swaying at the barricade, as we drowned in the infinite azure of Paul’s hectic, glittering eyes. But now there is no Brooklyn for fans like us. We’re the 99% of fans whose prospective plans were uprooted just so the 1% can drunkenly half-sing lyrics to “Evil” and “Slow Hands” over disinterested chatter while pounding back liquor on the arm of the record label. Now, we’re sitting, grinding tips of sharpened pencils into the grooves of our desks in internal suspension unable to contact any party affiliated with the Marauder release show for any semblance of an explanation with regard to the degradation of the open-RSVP show into a cool-kids only warehouse party.
The bashful, handsome-but-silent Interpol guitarist and business handler Daniel Kessler, known for his skinny ties, tailored suits, and endearing erratic dance moves, has been active on the band’s Instagram since the suspicious results of the House of Vans lottery were made public, but has remained tight-lipped and has not addressed any of the concerns and chaos surrounding the contest. If the end game of the House of Vans event was always meant for guest list, photographers, music journalists, and industry only, why was it publicized as if the average fan had the ability to attend? And if this was not the intended end game, why haven’t any of the players in the game dropped a Tweet, an Instagram story or post, or anything on Facebook to attempt to quell the storm brewing within Interpol’s New York crowd? Hometown fans now lie in wait for any member of House of Vans’s, Matador’s and Interpol’s PR teams to provide an apology, an alternative, or an explanation why the type of fans who continually buy tickets to shows, stream and buy releases, wear merch like its an unofficial uniform, tattoo lyrics and album names beneath their skin were shut out from the only scheduled show in the NYC area for 2018. Instead of transparency from the event’s handlers, loyal fans are waiting on an unmoving train with no announcements and no AC stuck in the middle of a darkened tunnel and losing faith as minutes pass without any news about what’s really happening. The happiness of Interpol’s hometown fans is currently running with delays.
The only semi-redeeming PR move for this disaster has been the recently announced q&a and signing at Rough Trade NYC this Saturday, August 25th, 2018. But Interpol fans still want answers. This entire situation was handled so poorly. Vans, your establishment has shown hundreds of Interpol fans the dirt pile. This was irresponsible of everyone involved. Interpol, if you have some modicum of empathy for your fans, please, find a solution, or grab your drugstore smoky eye kit, do your best impression of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and attempt to defend this ill-advised decision.
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