Valensi: Making ‘Angles’ Was “Awful — Just Awful”

by Eric Van Dril · 59 comments

Julian Casablancas distanced himself from the other four Strokes during the making of their fourth album in the hope they would come together and take control of the band’s creative process, which he had previously dominated. That happened — hence the recording and release of Angles — but Julian was largely removed from the process.

Julian, as you can read in the following excerpt from Pitchfork, recorded vocals by himself and sent them to the other Strokes via email. Nick Valensi, quite frankly, said that he would never work like that again.

Likewise, during the recording phase, most communication between Casablancas and the rest of the band took place via e-mail, and, according to Valensi, most of the singer’s ideas and suggestions were written “in really vague terms,” leaving the others without much to go on. Casablancas’ literal distance was quite deliberate, and to hear the singer tell it, the strategy was something he’d hoped to do from the beginning. “When I’m there, people might wait for me to say something. I think it took me being a little mute to force the initiative.”

While Casablancas’ disengagement may have been by design, Valensi found the whole experience deeply dissatisfying. “I won’t do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful– just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I’d show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miranda March 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm


Read the article. The rating is nothing in comparison to the way this guy describes it. Total snob.

2 annie March 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Yeah, I’m taking most things that Julian said during the Phrazes promotion with a pinch of salt because I think he was super pissed with them all at the time, and most importantly he was trying to get his name out there, particularly as he invested a lot of his own money in the project so didn’t want it to flop and probably wanted most of all to prove to the band and critics that he didn’t need them anyway and infact might be way more experimental and “progressive” (whether that worked or not!). I also noticed in so many interviews how he was often willing to find a way to stick in a little dig at the band, whether it be by saying how much fun he was having without them and how much he preferred it, to how he wasn’t looking forward to returning to work with them and how labourious it’d be – all things that would clearly garner headlines and thus promote his album further. He almost always gave them something controversial to headline their articles. He also put serious effort into his live performances, particularly at the festivals. When you consider that in these promotion junkets where he probably had hundreds of interviews, I think, although he’s famously crap at interviews, he probably knew exactly what he was doing and saying. So i think he was just working the industry for Phrazes and although there were elements of truth to what he was saying i think he maximised it to gain some attention for his music. He once quite explicitly said that he hates the business side but that he’s learned how to get what he wants from the industry.

3 Mike March 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Guys don’t worry about it. If you watch the clip from part II they’re still working with Chicarelli and hating it. That’s when all that email with attachments crap was going on. If you notice, they have not posted a single clip from the time at Albert’s house when they recorded every song except “Life is Simple in the Moonlight”. It’s actually really misleading that the band’s management is putting these videos out as “The Recording of Angles” — this is “The First Try at Recording Angles” — not “The Recording of Angles.” Apparently getting out of NYC and going upstate brought them back together. They seemed to be in very good spirits on SNL and in recent interviews.

4 A hater March 8, 2011 at 1:12 am


Yeah, there probably is a slight amount of trolling going on, but a lot of it is just a general interest in how all these different news stories about the Strokes are making people react. And for the record, I feel like pitchfork does have a bit of a bias against The Strokes, but only because they weren’t the one’s to discover them. If you look at how they review and cover the band Wavves (which is really just one guy), a band that has a similar lo-fi sound (don’t confuse this for me saying Wavves and The Strokes are the same) they played a big part is hyping that kid up and making him out to be this awesome garage rocker, I enjoy his music, but I don’t think he’s as good as Pitchfork makes him out to be, just like I don’t think the Strokes are the saviors of Rock and Roll that NME made them out to be.
Long story short, I’m not hating, and my main goal isn’t to troll… but I do enjoy posting things that insight some kind of reaction or discussion. If you consider that to be trolling, I guess I would just suggest ignoring my posts, I’ll take no offense.

5 Nancy P. March 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Just listened to Angles. I noticed immediately that Julian’s voice was in the background, completely drowned out by electronics – and I mean I had to go right up to the speaker to hear his voice. I thought my sound system was broken. Well after reading these comments I now know why… Julian wasn’t even there during recording and they just mixed his voice later! Why hasn’t anyone else commented on this glaring problem with Angles.

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