The Rover

Album: Marauder (2018)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The documentary-style video for this song was shot on-location in Mexico City in June and filmed by Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo (Narcos, The Bridge). The cult-like lead character we see journeying through the city is played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who previously appeared in Netflix's Punisher. The visual ends with him interrupting Interpol at a press conference.

    "I like to describe the video for "The Rover" as a prequel," Interpol frontman Paul Banks said of the clip. "It's the origin story of the character described in the song, the birth of a cult leader. When we meet him he is partly unhinged. He's a man on the verge, an artist subjected to great pressures, and beset with existential frustrations. A distracted hipster who enjoys psychedelics, let's say."

    He added: "The events that take place in Mexico City, be it a bump on the head, a visit to a shaman, or the influence of his rescuers (the street gang known as "Los Locos") trigger the birth - the eruption - of this new figure, 'the rover.' His rescuers become his first followers."
  • Speaking at the Mexico City press conference in which Interpol get interrupted by Moss-Bachrach's character, Banks described this as "the most direct and immediate punchy rock song" that the band recorded for Marauder.

    He added: "It’s a nice re-emergence to come out with this tight fist, quick succinct banger."
  • Paul Banks told NME that the idea behind "The Rover" character is that he is "a charismatic and magnetic figure" who "preaches "a doomsday type message" and manipulates people in order to get them to follow him. Rather than setting out to write a song about such a messianic leader, Banks said he was "inspired by the sound of the song." He explained.

    "I think something in his riff with that drone-y bass part was evoking the California west, or Arizona, Nevada. I just envisioned this kind of dusty landscape and this cult leader figure."

    Banks added that he finds it "a very fascinating dynamic" that people can buy up such a person's message and "react to the cult of personality like that." History shows that not only does it happen on a small scale in cults but "it can happen with great numbers of people."
  • Banks told UK newspaper The Sun that writing about his darker side on tracks like this one has been like therapy. "The last lyric of that song is something about a reckoning," he said. "I like the idea of this character who has learned greatly from mistakes and maybe has tuned out by the end of the movie, where the moral comes across."

    "I am still that guy and just as I am about to hit on whatever it was I was supposed to learn, I am already on to the next thing," Banks added. "I think that is in the theme there, too. Learn from some mistakes, but don't change altogether."
  • The song ends with the seductive, charismatic cult leader revealed to be so seductive and charismatic, his followers just automatically flock to him.

    The rover
    He barely has to seek repentants


    Paul Banks told Genius: "I like that line. It's a little, I don't know if you call it wordplay, but when you hear it you assume it's repentance, c-e, but it's repentants, t-s. So the idea being that his thing is working so well that he doesn't actually have to go out and solicit people to come and join his cult. They come to him. So I like the fact that he's not seeking repentance, with a c-e, it's that he doesn't even need to look for people to come and join him. It's just working out and people are coming to him. So they are the repentance."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse Pop

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse PopSong Writing

Songs that seem to glorify violence against women are often misinterpreted - but not always.

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Yoko Ono

Yoko OnoSongwriter Interviews

At 80 years old, Yoko has 10 #1 Dance hits. She discusses some of her songs and explains what inspired John Lennon's return to music in 1980.