Carlos Dengler, bka Carlos D, left Interpol in 2010, after the band returned to Matador and released their self-titled album. This came as a surprise to many; Dengler was one of the founding members of Interpol and was often credited as its biggest personality second only to Paul Banks. He’s been laying very low ever since, his only media stint being his contribution to Pitchfork’s 2012 oral history anniversary piece on Turn On The Bright Lights. But as Pitchfork points out, Bedford + Bowery, a New York City blog dedicated to chronicling happenings around the LES and North Brooklyn, just published Dengler’s first interview since his departure, in which he talks about his new career as an actor. The former bassist recently graduated from an intensive graduate program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is now searching for an agent in order to jump-start his career, which comes with its own challenges:
I’m a 41-year-old man. I’m no spring chicken. So I’m looking at some of my younger classmates and how they’re coming out of the gate with fire under their asses and they’re doing a lot of stuff. I’m like, “Wow, that’s pretty fucking impressive.” I just don’t have that ability right now. I’m still putting all of the pieces together.
Dengler considers the rest of his life to be a tabula rasa of sorts, an opportunity to start anew and put the band behind him:
One thing I’m discovering about getting out there right now — this is the first time I’m out of school since leaving the band, and I’m completely starting over. Nobody in the theater community really knows about my band. They don’t really know. I have to tell them. I have to kind of lead with that, which I don’t like doing. So it’s a problem.
He then discussed why he chose to leave Interpol:
I was not really mentally all that well while I was in Interpol. I had many substance and process addictions that I was coping with. And I was, you know, the classic VH1 Behind The Music story of upward rise and downward fall. The only difference was that — because I didn’t have such a good relationship with my bandmates — I wasn’t willing to be in the band with them while I experienced my crash.
There was a little crash before the third record [2007’s Our Love to Admire] but the big crash actually came afterwards. One of the reasons why it was necessary for me to be out of the band to experience that crash was because I wasn’t, at the time, willing to let anybody know about it. I didn’t want anyone in the music industry to see me fall that way. It was beyond anything, like, that I would want anyone to know about. It shook my very belief in the career I was even pursuing inside of music.
And he commented on his relationship with the remaining members of Interpol, who told NME last year that they haven’t spoken to Dengler since he quit:
I don’t like phrase “we don’t talk.” That’s sort of like someone hammering a plaque into a rock and engraving it: “Thus they do not speak, in perpetuity.” And it’s a much more fluid situation than that. The fact of the matter is that I have not spoken to them in quite some time.
I haven’t spoke to Sam [Fogarino] or Paul [Banks] since I left the band, since I actually left our group counseling session together, which is where I announced that I was leaving. That was the last time that I saw them in the flesh. I saw Daniel [Kessler] a couple times after that— we actually met up— and then as things got more serious with my training, I just wasn’t ready to continue the friendship.
Dengler played two roles in the Dorset Theatre Festival of Vermont’s production of Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Jersey Lily. He is also working on a book (“I don’t want to make it a straight-up, tell-all memoir, I wanted it to be more of an essay and more literary”) as well as a one-man play titled Homo Sapiens Interruptus (pictured above) which he’s been workshopping at the Stella Adler Studio. When Bedford + Bowery asked him if he’s OK reentering the spotlight, Dengler said the following:
Yeah, absolutely. Someone who really got me at school, she said it really well: “You’ve already been famous. None of your classmates even have a fraction of an idea of what life was like as a famous person. You’ve already done, you stopped doing that, and then you started doing this thing. You have a very ambivalent, uneasy relationship with fame and you’re probably exuding that to all the agents.”
And it’s true, whenever [the agents] walked into the room at school, I would get so nervous. I could just feel the energy of money, fame, you know, providence, opportunity, all of that stuff you don’t have in classes. You’re just there to learn and that’s it. But as soon as those people (the people who are actually making things happen, like casting people in shows) showed up (like Alexa Vogel, who’s the casting director of The Wire and many an HBO show would come in and do workshops with us), I was like the worst person to work with. She was filming me doing a reading and I forgot my lines. I was squirming. I looked at my footage and I was like, “Oh god! That’s horrible! Why am I so bad?! This was in front of Alexa Vogel!”
I realized I have a certain relationship to all of this, because I was already there and I chose to do this. So yeah, I definitely want success in acting. But it’s gonna take some time.
In the one-man show I talk a little bit more about some of my painful experiences. I blamed fame and I blamed commerce and I know those things are necessary, I just have a very love/hate relationship with them. So I’m really drawn to being a successful actor, but I’m also like, “But it’s going to be more of the same crap that I encountered before!” So I’m just figuring out what it all means. It’s really, really tough.
Read the entire interview here.