Music

Q+A with Julian Casablancas

Julian

After three albums, the members of the Strokes—the onetime toast of the New York music scene—are dabbling in the inevitable: side projects. But don't roll your eyes. Lead singer Julian Casablancas' solo effort Phrazes for the Young blows up the dirty downtown rock formula with some synth-pop stylings and even a little emotional gospel-soul. Matt Hendrickson

Q: Have all the side projects changed the band's group dynamic?

A: We never argued much, but we don't have the tug-of-wars we used to. Having my own record makes me less precious about my ideas.

Q: Your new song "Out of the Blue" contains the line "I know I'm going to hell in a leather jacket/ At least I'll be in another world while you're pissing on my casket." Was that directed at the Strokes hype machine?

A: Every time you hear something is so great without hearing the music, you kind of instantly hate it. That definitely hurt us with a lot of people, I think. But overall, I'll take it, because that noise never resonated with me. I don't know if it was because I was intoxicated most of the time or just being in the bubble, but I never quite got a sense of it.

Q: What's happening with the next Strokes album?

A: For months now, we've been in the studio—our record isn't coming out until March at the earliest. We're still trying to figure it out. Fab [drummer Fabrizio Moretti] is writing more. There are two vibes—eighties melodies and seventies, Thin Lizzy-style band arrangements.

Q: New York music hipsters have moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Do you feel a part of that?

A: Every new band is from Brooklyn. I like Dirty Projectors, and Brooklyn is fun. But that old East Village vibe—you can't find it anywhere.

READ MORE:
Monsters of Folk take a stab at becoming a 21st-century CSNY
Enjoy the ride with Mika's "We are Golden"
Dreamy, delicate pop from Yo La Tengo

Photograph by Williams+Hirakawa
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