Interview: Julian Casablancas on Triple J

by Eric Van Dril · 94 comments

In another quick-hit interview, Julian reveals Fab and Nick came up with Drag Queen and that he has a folder of Strokes ideas. He also explains the ‘Future Present Past’ title for the EP.

/via Annie

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miguel June 8, 2016 at 6:47 am

It’s funny you see all these comments on youtube saying “this is not the strokes it’s the voidz” or “julian and the strokes” and shit like that and Nick and Fab were the one that wrote the song, that just proves how talented they all are.
Obviously Julian sings on it and the connection with Tyranny is clear with the production and the lyrics but it’s really cool to see them all working on the same page.

2 Strokesy June 8, 2016 at 7:49 am

@Miguel tell me about it. Kinda like how many here auto-liked Angles and CD even complimenting Julians falsetto but are now like “Julians voice is back….”! I am a dude and think Julian is supremely talented, but can you imagine also being physically attracted to him? These girls have no chance.

3 gS June 8, 2016 at 8:51 am

Very cool and very interesting to learn that Fab and Nick wrote that song. I just assumed because of how Tyranny-like it sounds it must have come from Julian. I know some die-hard strokes fans who really don’t care for DQ precisely because it sounds like the voidz. I love that fucking song.

4 Annie 1251 June 8, 2016 at 10:28 am

@miguel & @ gs

Altho I love the idea of Fab, Nick & JC all working together and being on the same page musically -and I’m very happy with FPP- I’m thinking Julian had more to do with DQ then just singing & production. It sounds like-from what Julian said/ that Fab & Nick had a part of the song-and Julian worked on it with them (expanding it) and then alone in different cities.

He said (about the songs) “One of them-DQ-Fab and Nick-a track they had kind of come up with-and I just kind of expanded on that -we did it live/but it came from a little bit all over the place”

Julian can’t help but put his paws on everything.

And I do remember Albert tweeting a few months back while he was solo touring/ he was asked what the other Strokes were doing and he said “They are writing”
I actually saved that tweet somewhere…wonder if JC/FM/NV will now be the consistent TS songwriters?

5 Miguel June 8, 2016 at 10:56 am

@Annie Yeah I agree that probably Julian did alot more than just singing and stuff my point was more about some really dumb comments I read on youtube that don’t make sense to me because they are simply a band they write songs together alone it doesn’t matter they write songs, Julian is a genius, yes, but the others are great artists aswell

6 gS June 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

I read something that here or there about the band not playing Oblivius live at Gov Ball because it was pretty hard. What’s the story there?

7 gS June 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

I thought the performance at Capitol was very solid (Oblivius).

8 Melodica03 June 8, 2016 at 11:37 am
9 Melodica03 June 8, 2016 at 11:48 am

Also The Needle Drop:

I am shocked by how much he hates this EP. And I mean hates. Fantano literally rips everyone in the band apart. Julian’s vocals/The guitar riffs and so on.

I really don’t know what he is talking about. He gave it a 2 to light 3 out of 10. No way.

10 Eric Van Dril June 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Music reviewers are irrelevant.

11 Eric Van Dril June 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Oblivius sounds pretty good live. At least to me.

12 SteveSpoon June 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

I have no idea why people bother watching Fantano. Dude is so incredibly annoying.

13 lettucefase June 8, 2016 at 12:57 pm


Shit yes. I fucking hate that guy.

14 Meg June 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I really like Fantano, I thought his review of voidz, CD, and Angles was spot on. Just goes to show you how music touches people in different ways.

Of course Julian had input on DQ, he was just being modest.

15 Anthony L. June 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

@EVD I respectfully disagree with post #10. It’s simply not true. Just because there are some people who are bad at their job doesn’t mean the whole field is invalidated or that the entire music journalism industry isn’t credible. And frankly, just because we disagree with criticisms levied against FPP does NOT mean that there isn’t validity to the criticisms being made.

16 Miguel June 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm haven’t seen the video yet but these guys make some cool videos if you’re interested in guitar gear, this one is about the strokes

17 Louis June 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Am I the only that had a gigantic grin in this moment? Considering all that tension during Nick and Julian 2006-2011?

18 Yung Zone June 8, 2016 at 4:11 pm

fantanos pretty cool cuz hes a one man op. seems like he hates how jc sounds on this which i vibe with. only complaint is how he uses the term “new wave” like its a set in stone thing. he says “the strokes started going new wave with comedown machine, and they still dont know how to make a good new wave song”
new wave covers a lot of music, from like blondie, the cars, to aha. Those are 3 wildly different bands. The strokes have had shit that is solidly the cars “new wave” inspired since 12:51 and the End has no End off ROF. On the other hand One way Trigger off CM smacks of Take On Me and thats “new wave” in a whole nother direction.

When he says they just started going new wave and they arent good at it, he sounds like he doesnt know about what hes talking about, and thats what justifies a critics job in the first place.

19 lettucefase June 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

@ Anthony L.
I agree. I’ve heard him give positive reviews to shit i like also, but I hate Fantano as a person. I hate him. ( >: |

20 ZoneSquad June 8, 2016 at 7:25 pm

^y tho? hes a critic whos strictly giving his individual taste on an album, as far as I know theres no Needle Drop Committee deciding these scores and having Anthony be their propaganda mouthpiece.
Hes an articulate knowledgeable dude giving his own individual taste. Hes wrong as shit about this EP but ur allowed to be wrong about shit, like I fuckin hate anything by Arcade Fire, the Killers, and Radiohead. Am i right? Prolly not, but im not a shitty person for being wrong

21 Annie 1251 June 8, 2016 at 7:43 pm

@gs (post #6)
In the Triple J interview-Julian expressed that Oblivius might be a bit hard to play-due to them having slowed parts down for riffs and he himself screaming for 7 minutes.

But they played it amazingy well at the Capitol. and Julian’s vocals-esp the chorus (my fave part of the entire EP) was spectacular. no lie.

So I asked Julian after Gov Ball why they didn’t play it there when it sounded so fantastic on Tuesday.
He said that someone in the band (I don’t want to say who it was-but it wasn’t him) felt that their part wasn’t perfect and they needed more practice with it.

@Eric Van Dril
I agree with both posts #10 & #11.

22 gS June 8, 2016 at 7:57 pm

Well, it’s either Nick or Albert. I’m going with Nick.

23 Anthony L. June 8, 2016 at 9:08 pm

@Annie post #10 is an incorrect opinion, though. He’s entitled to it–as are you–but it’s factually incorrect. I’m sure you think analysts of any kind are irrelevant then, no? I’m sure Roger Ebert wouldn’t agree with you. It’s totally fine to A) think that the reviewer did a poor job summarizing why he/she thinks an album is good/bad. This happens all the time. It’s also fine to B) disagree with a score a reviewer gives. Again, it’s just one persons educated opinion. They ARE educated opinions, too. For the most part. Hence why some of us are paid to provide said opinion. There are a lot of us who put a lot of care and research into reviewing something. We’ve all read shit reviews before. But to make a blanket statement that every single person that reviews music professionally has a career that is “irrelevant” is simply incorrect.

First off, people read and comment on these articles, and genuinely care about the content of them. If they were irrelevant, why discuss it, and/or give a shit about what is written if it truly doesn’t mean anything? Like it or not, services like Metacritic and to an extent Rotten Tomatoes influence a lot of people’s purchasing decisions when it comes to media; each one of these “irrelevant” reviews adds up to form a consensus among those educated on music (as MANY of the posters here seem to be) which then in turn influences the majority of the population’s view on the quality of the work in question.

Perfect example: Batman V Superman. Movie had a great opening, but was universally bashed by critics. There’s no coincidence that the movie performed very poorly once the reviews had come out.

Let me ask you this–are the good reviews that FPP got from NME and others irrelevant as well? What about the few glowing reviews Tyranny got. Are those reviews also irrelevant to you? Because you sure don’t act like it. I’d never call your profession irrelevant.

PS–The Strokes were awesome at Gov Ball, and AHJ was awesome in his two performances on Saturday. Genuinely excited for the future of this band once again.

24 Ted June 8, 2016 at 9:51 pm

I kind of agree with Fontano. It’s what I felt when I heard the ep for the first time. Drag Queen was the one with I was more intrigue in a good way. I had the same reaction when I heard Oblivius, ” that repetitive guitar riff.., the song is made with parts that not go very well together ( verse/chorus/solo). And felt Threat of Joy was and is a basic Strokes song, nothing spectacular.
After multiple listens, I feel the same way, except I’m realling digging Drag Queen, really enjoying this triomphant melody and Julian’s Lyrics.
Loving having Happy Strokes back !

25 lettucefase June 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm

I dont care if he’s wrong or not. I didnt listen to his review of Future Present Past. I’ve listened to 5 or 6 of his reviews in the past. I thought he was cool at first, but after each video I was able to glean a clearer idea of his personality. And I dont like him. I want to punch him. Not as much as Brian Wallace though.

@Anthony L
preach it dewd

26 Anthony L. June 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

@it gets old seeing people say it doesn’t matter or that it’s irrelevant. Trust me–I’m as cynical as anyone about music reviews. There are a lot of bad ones. That’s why I got into music journalism in the first place. I don’t think I’m the only person that’s trying to do it right. It’s unfortunate that the most highly visible critics (CoS, pitchfork, NME, spin, rolling stone, etc) are not even close to being diligent enough. You’ve gotta do your research so you can back your opinion up.

Drag Queen is a great example for me personally. When I first heard it, I listened critically. I did not enjoy it. There were a lot of things that I considered to be flaws in the song. I still feel this way; I wouldn’t say from a critical standpoint that it’s a good song. However, personally, I really really enjoy it. Kind of like how I recognize the brilliance of Radioheads newest album, and the fact that it’s extremely well written and composed. I just personally don’t enjoy it. I wish more reviewers could separate the two.

27 Sean June 9, 2016 at 12:48 am

Brian Wallace tells it like it is leave him alone

Radiohead is tight tho sorry Brian

28 LillySu June 9, 2016 at 1:29 am

Totally agree with opinion that Julian contributed a lot in DQ, but being too modest to advertise that. I think DQ is maybe the strongest song on EP, although I still have a problem with it’s chorus, too triumphant sounding for my taste. I hear Europe’s The Final Countdown vibe in it and I always hated that song. Also, a lot of you hear Voidz vibe in it and comment that those who love Voidz love this song the most. Well, I am big Voidz fan, loved all their songs on the first listen, still listening and enjoying so much the whole Tyranny, but can’t say DQ is my fav. Oblivius is one I loved at first listen and still enjoy the most. Also, at first I thought that Threat Of Joy is the least surprise, just one sweet charming old Strokes sounding song. But more I listen to it, I find it so well crafted, well tailored, with right amount of everything in it.

29 lit2pop June 9, 2016 at 4:56 am

lol Julian only said DQ began as something Nick and Fab were kicking about (“that they had tried to come up with”). One thing I really dig about that track is that it sounds as if ALL of the strokes contributed something to it – I mean Nikolai’s playing is fantastic and im pretty sure he contributed to shaping the bassline that drives the track

About Fantano, I dont care much for vloggers either way, esp not the “loud” “look at me” types, but I do think if someones knocking out reviews every two or three days (which requires hours lost to both script writing and video editing) theyre hardly going to have given the music theyre reviewing enough time to sink in. I used to review music professionally and found I had the same issue

@antony l. just bite the bullet, man, professional music reviewing is something we do for free records and gig tickets but criticism is basically bullshit! the best we can offer is contextual / factual insight in which to situate the record, possible some nice phrasing in terms of describing the sounds, a couple of jokes, but any value judgement is ultimately our own and irrelevant to wider discourse (to take the Ebert example – I actually disagreed with probably 90% of his value judgements, but I liked reading his reviews anyway to see how he contextualised the movie and because he had a lovely prose style)

30 Melodica03 June 9, 2016 at 7:35 am

I agree with the majority of the consensus here, that music critics are useless. Most of the major critics in their prospective genres are bought off and don’t give an unbiased judgement on anything anyways.

Also I thought it was bizarre how Fantano said something about the Strokes on stage presence and how everyone but Julian is really tight and crisp. Sighting that it is because Julian is always inebriated. Which I didn’t understand. Who is he to claim someone is inebriated.

I used to appreciate critics, but over the past few years that sentiment has dissipated. Why do we care what some gas bag has to say about a movie or album? Why do we care about their opinion? I’m really surprised that this profession has lasted as long as it has.

31 LeavingIt June 9, 2016 at 8:04 am

Regarding reviewers, let me just throw a hunk of raw meat into the lion’s cage… Consider the effect they had on TS’s career before ISI even hit the presses. However, reviews back then were all in print. They had some time between the listen and the article. Now, man, you gotta me ON it. If you’re not one of the first out with a comment, your voice will be lost in the din. So, as liz2pop said, there just isn’t time to give a good evaluation. We all know anything done by TS has to be listened to repeatedly over a period of time before it can be fairly evaluated. It’s like a fine wine — it has to age.

Change of subject… I got my GovBall exclusive EP in the mail yesterday. Even has “Gov Ball exclusive” on the packing slip. Those were orange, right? Except it’s green. LOL! Even Cult doesn’t know which is which! Do I care? I’m not sure. I was sort of bummed. I had already decided that if I were going to get only one, I wanted the orange one because the EP is associated with GovBall. So do I try to get it exchanged? Do I try to buy a second EP in orange? (Does it even matter, because I’m thinking the colored vinyl is all gone and won’t be reproduced.) I dunno.

32 Pretty Penny June 9, 2016 at 8:07 am

Music critics were more useful back in the pre-Spotify/download era where you had to give $20 of your hard earned money, now since we can listen for free they are less relevant. Time is still precious but I think it takes more time to watch a review than it does to listen to the music itself. Now on movies and video games and books please by all means tell me if its worth my time-because they take a lot more time than a few minutes of listening to a song. Well unless its human sadness.

33 WHATTHEFUCKWHASTHAT June 9, 2016 at 8:10 am


Werent you the one asking about when would Pitchfork review it? If you dont care about music critics why even ask about it, clearly you do.

Let me ask you this–are the good reviews that FPP got from NME and others irrelevant as well? What about the few glowing reviews Tyranny got. Are those reviews also irrelevant to you? Because you sure don’t act like it. I’d never call your profession irrelevant.

nailed it

34 AutomaticStop June 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

I thought Fontana had been pretty fair with The Voidz and Angles, CM. No idea why he didn’t like the EP at all, but right off the bat, when Oblivius was the only song out there he said it was “seriously awful,” so it was going to be hard to later say he liked the rest of the EP. He doesn’t seem like the type that would like Threat of Joy in the first place. I get his critique of Oblivius, it’s not my favorite track for the same reasons, but it’s still enjoyable and has its moments. I thought he’d like Drag Queen, but whatever. He thinks Angles, CM are a lot better than these three songs, I disagree. All 3 songs are catchy and interesting, can’t ask for much more. Who cares? NME is like the only one who consistently appreciates TS, because they’re the only ones dedicated to rock music.

35 Melodica03 June 9, 2016 at 9:23 am


No I didn’t ask anyone where the Pitchfork review was. Someone asked I believe a few post ago and I made the post on this thread providing the Pitchfork review incase that person who asked was still interested.

36 WHATTHEFUCKWHASTHAT June 9, 2016 at 11:13 am


Got it, my snappy response would have been, “you still read it” but sigh I think we are all getting a bit carried away. retreat.

To those that say Music critcs are irrelevant…thats just an opinion but (I hate to say it) wrong. For the poits Anthony has said and for others such as, music critics are relevant for awards, awards are still relevant, reviews are still relevant to drive consumer taste, etc. etc.

Just bc a site or a blogger downvotes your fave bands release does not justify the argument to say that “whatever, critics are irrelavant..” I doubt you would have said the same thing had he praised the EP.

37 j June 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm

i think music reviews are irrelevant in terms of whether or not you’ll like something. Obviously they have a huge impact on how many people listen to something and are an integral/necessary part of music discovery. but like, some of the music that has touched me most was shit on by reviewers. so it’s irrelevant in that way. In order to not bury stuff I wish music reviewers would only review stuff they like and want to expose to more people. rather than shit on things and tell you that you shouldn’t listen to something if you want to be cool (the cool part in an indirect consequence of shitting on something). I would actually like pitchfork if it was just trying to expose good music, rather than being a complete ‘taste maker’.

38 j June 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

but ya overall reviews are important and sometimes even really great. i do wish they went a little deeper on the analysis more often though (sometimes it happens). Often i see just surface level descriptions of how something sounds and whether or not they like the way it sounds. or like more than half of it is about the status of a band or irrelevant shit (like the most recent FPP pitchfork review). but i think there is more to music than the way it sounds/band background. like lyrical meaning for example. no reviews, that i saw, seemed to get past the sonic roughness of tyranny enough to talk about what’s underneath.

39 LeavingIt June 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Proof of how quick and dirty reviews can be today, I read one just recently on FPP, and though the guy claimed to be a Strokes fan, he talked about how they hadn’t put out any new music since 2011 and their last album, Angles. 😀 (At least he liked the EP.) And of course, there are all those who refer to Tyranny as a JC solo project. Most of these guys are just fulfilling an assignment. They don’t care. Same goes with the interviewers.

40 Meg June 9, 2016 at 7:55 pm

The internet has made us all music critics. This is a good thing because in the days of print, a review carried more weight. Which is relevant because the Strokes, (especially early on) biggest mistake was listening to the critics. ROF was too similar to ITI, FIOE was terrible….etc
My assessment is that the EP is getting generally posative reviews. Which pleases me as a fan because I really like FPP and want the Strokes to continue down this path. So I agree with the critics, validation my opinion is right, but when we disagree with critics it’s proof critics are obsolete. Its all subjective. Critics aren’t anything, they just ARE.

41 Mateja June 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

I liked this one:

(there are some good points about TS and music critics on the first paragraphs)

42 Alex June 10, 2016 at 12:08 am

Ok I’ve had this shit before. I enjoy new Strokes music until Jules comes up with his solo blows my fucking mind off

43 gS June 10, 2016 at 7:53 am

Mateja I read that one yesterday. Good stuff.

44 El Pedro June 10, 2016 at 8:38 am


Mic Drop…

45 El Pedro June 10, 2016 at 8:44 am

We’re all music critics in the end because of social media and sites like this. Just because someone has a youtube channel and reviews music doesn’t make them an expert. They literally just have a youtube channel and review music on their own, that’s it. Let’s be honest though, to give this EP a 2 or 3 out of 10 is, for a lack of better word, dumb, seriously a 2? A 2? At the VERY WORST it should be a 5 or 6 meaning it’s average. He’s saying it’s so bad that you can make pee, fart and throw up sounds and he’ll give you a better rating than this EP. That’s why he should be irrelevant and is irrelevant in my world. I get my reviews off this site to be honest with you.

I’ve listened to a couple of his reviews and the guy is annoying, a huge tool and definitely got his lunch money taken from him as a kid.

46 El Pedro June 10, 2016 at 8:49 am

@Mikey B

Once they hit 20 years from ISI they’ll be Classic rock which is CRAZY to even think about. That was 15 years ago when it came out. When I hear Pearl Jam on the Classic Rock station in Chicago I’m like “WTF?” and then realize they’ve been around for over 25 years.

47 Mikey B June 10, 2016 at 9:47 am

Weird seeing multiple websites calling The Strokes classic rock already. Yeah they have always had a throwback sound, but to name a 2000’s band classic makes me feel old as shit lol

48 Melodica03 June 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm

@Mikey B

Right there with you on that. Haha

49 lit2pop June 12, 2016 at 4:13 am

I hope they release the full Threat of Joy video soon, that TV spot someone posted looked really cool!

50 A June 13, 2016 at 6:38 am

Darn. My Future Present Past 10″ is still back ordered and I ordered it like 2 hours after it was released.

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