Interview: Julian Casablancas talks about what he regrets about Phrazes For The Young

by Eric Van Dril · 142 comments

The major news from the first part of this interview is Julian doesn’t know if “I Like The Night” will be released as a full song. Also, Julian talks about how he regrets trying to appeal to other peoples’ interests instead of his own on Phrazes. And that’s just in the first 6 minutes. Check it out:

/via Heather

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 heather November 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

@JK who wrote: “I think Julian writes great songs, but the rest of them elevate the songs to another level.”

That’s a good way of putting it. I think the music sounds best when Julian is the architect of the songs and the guys build off the foundation he creates because Julian constructs great songs. He has great instinct when it comes to songwriting and I sincerely hope that the guys trust that instinct and respect it because at the end of the day it was responsible for all of their best songs. Ludlow Street could have been a great song for the Strokes if the idea was followed through by the rest of the band and I always felt Out of the Blue was perfect with that futuristic vibe. In fact, as I’ve said before, I think the sound of Out of the Blue is the sonic direction the band should go in. Anyway, we’ll see.

2 Joe November 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

i remember how spin magazine was trying to make them look like the beatles of this generation, obviously that was met with a “yeah right” but i don’t think it would be totally offensive now when they’ve gone off and and branched out to do their own thing i mean, seriously,




ladies forgive my language, but they’ve been massive cunts about this. they could have been the better than they’ve been.

3 Joe November 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

and not to compare then to another band but, i feel the same way about nirvana. they’re one of the seminal acts in the history of rock, but with the foo’s being as successful as they’ve been i find myself wondering if cobain and grohl could have been alt rock’s lennon/mccartney. i know kurt was a bit of tool about nirvana but i wish he been more receptive of dave.

4 saywhat November 18, 2011 at 10:06 am
5 dracula November 19, 2011 at 10:27 am

Can anyone tell me what does “song writing credit” really means ? Of course I know what it means litteraly. But Seeing how all ITI, ROF and FIOE are written by Julian according to the website, I find it hard to believe that ONE GUY came up all that stuff.

For exampel all the extreme guitar solos, when he’s not even a skilled guitarist himself (look at how he plays 11th dimension on Youtube), all the briges, breaks etc… All the riffs and melodies (The End Has No End, Razorblade etc).

Why is he always credited ? Albert and Nick MUST HAVE composed guitar melodies and riffs, come on! It can’t be only Julian coming up with “I Can’t Win” and so on!

6 Skye November 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

I think Julian did write at least the basics of the guitar riffs. Nick and Albert probably tweaked and perfected it, but I do remember seeing an interview with Julian and Albert and Albert said Julian wrote the riffs.

And I think it absolutely is possible for one person to come up with that much stuff.

7 Mateja November 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I remember having read Julian composed all the riffs and guitar solos with his keyboard

8 heather November 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Why is it so hard to believe, Dracula? It’s true. Julian’s the architect. He constructs the songs. He comes up with the concepts, forms the basic structure. Some people are just born with a gift. A natural talent, and then when hard work is applied to that, great songs are brought to fruition. It is possible for one guy to come up with all of that stuff. Nick even said that Julian eats, breathes and shits music. Julian’s always credited because he deserves to be. You are supposed to give credit where credit is due.

9 Bobby November 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Yeah, I don’t see why it’s hard to believe that Casablancas came up with all that. It is incredible, but he’s an incredible songwriter. I think he’s actually probably a better guitarist than Albert or Nick, at least in terms of coming up with interesting and cool sounding riffs. Just look at the that song in the ad he did, the dueling guitars and all that. The only riff that I’m pretty sure he didn’t come up with (or maybe he just couldn’t actually play it himself) is on Glass, the sorta classical/metal riff towards the end. I think he had to bring in another guitarist for that.

10 the modern age November 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

@dracula, this is the main reason he’s such a big deal.

11 the modern age November 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

If you own the first three albums you can see “all songs by J. Casablancas” on the back covers.

12 dracula November 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm

thanks guys for answering and talking about that. Well yeah I agree, he’s a big deal alright!

It’s so sad to see him so disinterested in The Strokes now… How the band are all just like “whatever” just ti pay the mortgage.

13 heather November 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

By the way, I always wondered why Room On Fire was considered a critical failure by so many people, including by some of the members of the band. The only thing critics really had to say about the record was that it sounded too much like the first one, which is a pretty lame and weak critique in my opinion. When you really think about it, there are way worse things that could be said about a record. It wasn’t like they were saying that the songs were bad or poorly written. If the worse thing they could come up with is that it sounded too much like Is This It, why is that perceived as such a bad thing? At least they weren’t knocking the songs.

14 joe November 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

while ‘room on fire’ had its moments, it just wasn’t better than ‘is this it’. cliché aside, when you land at the top and you don’t keep climbing, its all downhill from there.

15 dracula November 20, 2011 at 3:16 am

Julian said it himself in the interview that Room on Fire is “the part 2 of Is This It”. So it’s kind of normal that it isn”t “better”.

Personally I think ROF is way “cooler” and “colorful” that ITI. Maybe it’s the album covers that play with my mind, but I always imagine ITI being so black & white, 5 drunk kids playing instruments in a garage. And ROF being really a step up and having more colors and depht.

I prefer listening to song like “The End Has No End” with the fantastic guitar tones and melodies, than NYCops or Barely Legal. You know what I mean?

16 the modern age November 20, 2011 at 7:05 am

I’ve always though ITI and ROF went really well together, so to hear Julian call it “part 2” doesn’t really surprise me. The critics seem to shit all over everything they’ve done after ITI and, while I think that’s plain foolishness, I don’t think that’s necessarily what everyone thinks. Remember in NME’s “Bands Reveal Their Top 10 Albums Of The Past 15 Years” article, Fred Macpherson from Spector called ROF “The connoisseur’s choice. A good way of dividing real Strokes fans from the casual spectators.” I agree with him.

17 heather November 20, 2011 at 9:51 am

I think so too modern age. They went very well together. And Joe, it may not have necessarily been better than ITI, but ROF was a good follow up record. It is a pretty solid effort, even if they didn’t have enough time to get the record exactly how they wanted it. It also makes perfect sense that Julian would refer to it as Part II of ITI.

18 dracula November 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

I have to add that The Strokes are one of the best bands to start playing guitar. It’s never too hard, and always sounds fantastic

19 heather November 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

Very melodic. Yes, I agree.

20 rant November 21, 2011 at 6:12 am

the thing is Julian ALWAYS freaking blames others after a year or so of making an album…with the strokes it was the other guys in the band he had to put up with their ‘opinions’ and now on the solo album where he was on his own independent lable cult, he’s once again complaining or implying that ‘other people’ has some kind of voice which is frankly bullshit as he mentions in numerous interviews from the period that he was free to do what he wanted and enjoyed it…i don’t know, i thought the solo project was killer, love the first 3 strokes albums, love all their covers and collabs but am seriously dissappointed with angles. its not cohesive, the songs sound laborious save for the singles and there is just no real spark, no X factor no stamp of the strokes, no heart…o cometh the 4th….but bless them anyway

21 Julie November 21, 2011 at 9:06 am

does anybody think ‘Machu Picchu’ is really going to be another single???? when are we going to know????

22 jeommp November 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

@rant- I don’t think he’s blaming others, I think he’s just talking about his experiences, what worked vs. what didn’t…… @julie- I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if they did not release it…..

23 saywhat November 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I can’t see the point in releasing another single, except to please the die hard fans. The others didn’t chart well, and we can be 99% sure there won’t be any b-sides, so it’s just repackaging what we’ve already got. I wish they would have released the songs from the Chiccarelli sessions as b-sides, or as an EP. Would be interesting to see how those songs sound compared to Angles.

24 tyler November 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

ROF is my favorite album by the strokes.

25 dave November 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

i had heard about an album “Lost Treasures” with alternate mixes of Is This It but every time i googled it the same broken link came up. i still have not found a downloadable file for it, BUT i did just come across a youtube account that has basically the entire thing uploaded. here’s the link for an alt mix for Someday (1 of 2). personally i love the way the drums sound, and its fascinating to me to listen to these versions and see how they tweaked them to end up with the finalized versions we know so well

still, does anyone know where i can find a working download for this album??? i really don’t wanna go to the trouble of ripping the audio from each of these youtube videos

26 Tank November 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

im surprised they have elephant songs song writing credits but not clear skies or all the hours you waited. did fab write that by himself?

27 the modern age November 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

Unless the results update after I post this, Julian is #1 on the readers list 🙂—have-your-say

28 Mateja November 28, 2011 at 5:07 am

I had never seen this before..

29 Dillon November 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

wow! i have never heard of lost treasures but those versions are reallyreally ocol. thanks for sharing

30 pbandj November 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

@dave Thanks so much for the Lost Treasures link. I couldn’t find a working download, so I’m ripping them from youtube, but it’s so worth it. It’s like getting to experience Is This It in a totally new, awesome way.

31 Daniel December 23, 2011 at 12:02 am

Everybody watch this video of Julian performing “Out Of The Blue” with The Roots.

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