Albert Hammond Jr’s ‘Rude Customer’ debuted on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show today, and he also interviewed Albert. Zane had some very profound things to say about where Albert and the Strokes are at, in terms of their careers.
The following is their conversation after he debuted ‘Rude Customer,’ which you can listen to here.
Zane Lowe: I always think about that comment that Julian famously made at the start, which was, look, ‘If we could be as great as a Guided By Voices, I’d be happy.’ You guys, in a way, are kind of going back to those original places that inspired you in the first place, it feels like.
Albert Hammond Jr.: That weirdly happens sometimes. I’ve been noticing that you end up sort of going back to the very root. You have this very root and then it changes very quickly into different stuff because you get excited and you grow. Then all of a sudden, you kind of remember that again because it was the spark of everything, and it takes you to another direction. I can’t tell, since I’m in the middle of it, if it’s a normal thing, if it happens all the time or if it’s just something I’m experiencing now and will never experience again.
ZL: We love this five-track EP, and you sound really happy and you sound free. You sound like you’re making the music you want to make and there’s nothing on top of your shoulders here.
AHJ: That couldn’t describe it better. When I went in to make music with Gus (Oberg, producer), it just had reached a point that I had enough songs I felt I needed to record to kind of write new ones. I was excited. We sat down and we weren’t going to make anything; it wasn’t like we have something finished, and every day we had song. Every day, it was always like, ‘Oh, wow, this thing can be something.’ It just excited us, which then excited Julian, which then excited us to make an EP. But it was never like, ‘OK, we’ve got to do another one.’ It was like, ‘Yes! Let’s do one more.’ If anything, we were pushing for more.
ZL: That’s what’s funny about the whole situation with you and your friends, and The Strokes as well, is it feels to me — and you can correct me if I’m wrong — but, you know, the way you guys came out with a cannon of excitement, this blue flame that just burst so bright and so quick, it felt like in a way, aspects of the band or certainly the band were trying to gain some perspective over that — get some control over it — and just be like, ‘Look, we just want to be this band, not necessarily that band.’ And now you’ve kind of done it. I look at Comedown Machine, I look at where you’re at now with your EP, I look at where you guys are at and it seems almost like you’re the band that you always wanted to be, which is to be judged by your own expectations, doing things at your own pace and you seem to dispel all that successfully. Is that fair?
AHJ: Yeah, I think in the process it’s not like a solved thing, but it’s definitely like something, in a positive way, that’s been happening. We didn’t even realize (it) would happen. You don’t really happen for something that would happen when we first started.
ZL: I guess what I’m trying to say is, in a way, at times when you’ve taken a break, I wasn’t sure we would get one Strokes album. Now I feel, as a fan, that I think you could make 10 Strokes albums.
AHJ: By the way, everything you said and described about my life is better than I describe it. I want to take the quote from you because I’m not saying it anymore. But yeah, I’ve never felt more like that, too. There might be times we’re not doing stuff, but I don’t think we would ever stop. We’ve kind of come to the point — we’ve been doing this so long, and we’ve been through so much — like, why announce anything besides the stuff that we’re doing? It’s not like we’re going to be, ‘Oh, we broke up.’ ‘Oh, we’re getting back together.’ We’re just together.