Paul Banks Tours His Bright East Village Apartment


Age 40

Occupation Musician; lead vocalist of the rock band Interpol

Location Manhattan’s East Village

His Favorite Room: When he’s not at his beach house in Panama, Mr. Banks lives in a one-bedroom apartment in a converted textile factory, with 10-foot-high iron-frame windows you’d expect to find in an artist’s loft (indeed, he also paints). Even though Mr. Banks briefly lived in Jersey City, he said, “what I found is that I wind up in this neighborhood every day of my life.”

Interpol recently released a new album, “Marauder.” Did you write the songs here?

As Interpol, we write in rehearsals. But I definitely can make music here. I have a neat little device that allows me to plug a guitar and microphones into my laptop. My homework is lyrics, and to be honest, I do more of that on the beach.

What’s the story behind that Fender guitar?

This I found in a shop in Panama that sold air-conditioners and lint filters and had two guitars for sale. It’s a rare model. I had to have it. It’s got a triple humbucker, which is crazy.

So much of modern art is abstract. I like that you paint and collect portraiture.

All I paint is faces. I have my easel here by the window. I mostly paint character actors from B movies in the ’80s and ’90s. My favorite painting is of the last guy that Sylvester Stallone arm wrestles in “Over the Top.” I like the dramatic lighting and I like what character actors exude with their expressions.

As a teenager listening to your favorite bands, what was your image of a rock star’s house?

I really didn’t have one. My dream as a teenager was a desk by an open window overlooking the ocean. I was on a trip in Spain, and there was just this cheap hotel that me and my friends were staying in. There was a desk by a window that overlooked the sea. I was just, like, well, this is it. I never thought about city life, tour buses, travel. Just a desk by the ocean.

Some artists believe they need the energy of a city like New York.

I don’t need the chaos of the city to feed inspiration. I feel very inspired by sunlight and waves. I’m secretly a beach bum. If I were to live anywhere other than a beach, though, it would be New York. I’m not trying to trash my hometown.


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