Honor Titus was a little late for our interview. The 24-year-old lead singer of Cerebral Ballzy—one of just eight bands represented by the indie label, Cult Records, founded by The Strokes' Julian Casablancas—was busy arguing with a stranger outside the bar where we met him. Titus' aggression takes many forms, and while he may best known for his expletive-laden punk lyrics, he actually has a lot to say about modern urban life.
In advance of the June 17th release of Cerebral Ballzy's new album Jaded & Faded, we spoke to him about growing up in New York City, his friendship with Casablancas (and how it led to opening for one of the biggest bands on Earth), and why he has a silver Tiffany's charm bracelet dangling on his wrist."
DETAILS: You guys opened for The Strokes the other day. How was that?
Honor Titus: It was brilliant. Julian is such a big brother type and a really good friend; I get along with him on a myriad of levels. It's really cool to play with such a seminal band and also one of my mentors. Just seeing the energy of those five guys together on stage is comparable to The Stones or something like that.
DETAILS: What's your favorite Strokes song?
Honor Titus: It's between "Someday" and "Hard to Explain."
DETAILS: How did you first meet Julian?
Honor Titus: We both frequent this vintage store called Metropolis on Third Ave. We're both friends with the guys that work there, and they had talked about both of us to each other. Then I met Julian shooting hoops on Houston. I just saw him shooting and went up to him and we started shooting around. It was very friendly, very quickly.
DETAILS: I was listening to Jaded & Faded this morning. Is the title indicative of the mindset you were in when you were recording?
Honor Titus: Yeah, totally. I think New York is going through a weird transition. There are certain pockets of the city that still have "it." You can find it anywhere but it's more by happenstance now. And it's few and far between. There are real New Yorkers on Avenue D and Avenue C. There are people holding onto their tenement housing, their projects. There's still real New Yorkers around, but they're scraping by.
DETAILS: When you pick up a book, do you gravitate toward New York stories?
Honor Titus: The last book I read was Last Exit to Brooklyn, by Hubert Selby, Jr. It's kind of bleak and dark, so I kept putting it down because it kept fucking up my head. It's a good read, though.
DETAILS: You live in Bushwick. What are some of your favorite spots in Brooklyn?
Honor Titus: I love Book Thug Nation, a good book store on North Third. There's a diner near the Kosciuzko stop on the J called Terry's that I really like, too. I'm not really an artisanal sandwich kind of guy.
DETAILS: Who do you consider style icons?
Honor Titus: Siouxsie Sioux, early-eighties Robert Smith, definitely Johnny Marr, Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, Tom Verlaine, and Lou Reed.
DETAILS: If you could wear one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Honor Titus: Something simple, like a Greek fisherman's cap.
DETAILS: And what would you never wear?
Honor Titus: Denim shorts. [Laughs]
DETAILS: I have to ask—is there a story behind the Tiffany's bracelet?
Honor Titus: A friend got it for me. I think he stole it for drug money and he just decided to give it to me.