Five Wild Moments From Our Julian Casablancas Interview (2024)

Why does Julian Casablancas need the Voidz, his new band, when he’s already got the Strokes? He and two of his bandmates – guitarist Beardo and bassist-keyboardist Jake Bercovici ­– answered that and many other questions when they sat down with host Brian Hiatt at SiriusXM’s studios for a recent episode of our podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now. For Casablancas, the band’s second album, Virtue, due March 30th, is “a record that is still forward-thinking, but that maybe a more mainstream, bigger audience will love as much as we love the first record.”

To hear the entire interview, which goes deep on the making of the new album and much more, press play above or download and subscribe to Rolling Stone Music Nowon iTunes or Spotify. Here are some highlights:

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Casablancas has a long answer about the necessity of the Voidz, one he doesn’t want taken out of context – so we’ll quote it (nearly) in full. “I feel you could probably just listen to the record and figure it out,” he begins. “I don’t know how to answer that. [The] Strokes are brothers and will always be. I think that we have a chemistry, too – you play that many hours together, just that alone. I don’t feel the need to, you know, kind of shut that off for any specific reason if I have free time. But at the same time, my personal vision quest from day one has not altered and I think that I can’t tell other people what to do and I don’t want to tell other people what to do. And I think that with the Voidz, I think we’re on the same wavelength. And with the Strokes it’s more like everyone does what they do. And I’m more about getting along and not about, like, you know, tension or toxic, you know what I mean? I don’t want to have to disagree, you know what I mean? I just want to work with people you agree on. And it’s not that we disagree, it’s just that if I was trying to do a song like [the Voidz’] “QYURRYUS,” I wouldn’t want to have to, like, convince people against their will to do it. Not that they wouldn’t want to do it, but maybe in the past there are things that I’ve wanted to do – there’s many things I wanted to do – that I haven’t been able to do. So I feel like I’m all for collaboration and I’m all for like, you know, best ideas in the room win. And I think that, uh, to my objective judgment, that was not always happening.”


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Casablancas admits to one artistic trick. “You kind of put all this work to make it seem casual and easy, which is, I think an important trick, like a magician. You know, posing like you don’t care.”

Casablancas ended up forming the Voidz after deciding his 2009 solo debut played it too safe. “I basically had stuff that I liked that was weird – not in a key, not, like, going by musical rules and weird and dark – that I personally really loved. And then there was more like, I hate to say happy-sounding, but safer-sounding stuff.” Listening to the “weird stuff,” he thought, “OK, if I venture out alone and I do this, people might just think of some weird side vanity, like, ‘Don’t listen to this’ thing. So I kind of went with the more kind of safer stuff. And also I recorded all in [Pro Tools] which I regretted as soon as we started rehearsing for the first solo thing. Writing with musicians, bouncing off people live in the room is really what I love to do. So there’s many layers of regrets. And then afterwards, it was a long quest to find a cool, like ‘dream team,’ musical soul mates on a wavelength of the kind of stuff I wanted to do. But then eventually there’s the Voidz.”

Casablancas is something of a fan of the television network Russia Today, despite being well aware that it is “obviously” pro-Putin propaganda – and he’s not fond of “the whole mainstream resistance to Trump.” “The dissident voices like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, you used to see them a little bit in the mainstream,” he argues. “And now it’s so repressed that people have to go to like, RT, to speak their opinion, and now they’re trying to shut RT down. It’s almost like the new Star Wars where there’s like 10 people left on a ship and that’s, like, the Resistance. That’s all that left… [Russia Today] is giving shows to Jesse Ventura and Chris Hedges and they’re not telling them what to say. Like. if you want to go to Russia and speak truth to Putin, you know, maybe you have to be like on an American television show or something. Anyway, I’m not saying RT is the answer, but my point is, is that the whole mainstream resistance to Trump, I think completely misses the point. He’s just like a symbolic facade, puppet of the real problems.”

Casablancas isn’t a Beatles fan. “I have that maybe advantage that I didn’t like or listen to the Beatles,” he says. “I feel like that’s almost like the branch of, like, 98-percent of stuff you hear. But then there’s the Velvet Underground. I know Lou Reed hated the Beatles.” [He is correct.]

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone Music Now on iTunes or Spotify, and tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear the show broadcast live on Sirius XM’s Volume, channel 106.

Five Wild Moments From Our Julian Casablancas Interview (2024)


What languages does Julian Casablancas speak? ›

He can speak some Danish and some Spanish. Son, Cal Casablancas, born January 2010. Is lead singer of The Strokes.

What ethnicity is Julian Casablancas? ›

Julian Fernando Casablancas was born in New York City on August 23, 1978, the son of American-Spanish businessman John Casablancas, the founder of Elite Model Management, and Jeanette Christiansen (née Christjansen), a Danish model and the 1965 Miss Denmark who later became an artist.

Why did Julian Casablancas make The Voidz? ›

Casablancas ended up forming the Voidz after deciding his 2009 solo debut played it too safe. “I basically had stuff that I liked that was weird – not in a key, not, like, going by musical rules and weird and dark – that I personally really loved.

Are The Strokes and The Voidz the same? ›

The Voidz, are an American rock band formed in 2013 by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes.

Who does Julian Casablancas listen to? ›

Casablancas does appreciate pop music. He has a soft spot for Cyndi Lauper, enjoys Mac DeMarco, and says Sia's “Chandelier” is his favorite song of last year.

Did Julian Casablancas take voice lessons? ›

Julian Casablancas Took Voice Lessons.

Why is Julian Casablancas so good? ›

Musical talent: Casablancas is known for his distinctive voice and his ability to craft catchy, memorable melodies. He has been praised for his songwriting skills and his ability to create music that resonates with audiences.

What does Julian Casablancas wear? ›

Julian Casablancas was the band's lead singer, and he practically became the poster boy for this wave. His uniform of rumpled vintage tees, retro bandleader jackets, and bedraggled jeans was the perfect complement to his scratchy howl of a voice.

Why did Julian Casablancas leave New York? ›

As with many other things — his father passed away last year, his band's been unable to recapture the excitement — New York is no longer the city he once knew. “I don't know how many, like, white people having brunch I can deal with on a Saturday afternoon,” Casablancas finally admitted.

What effect does Julian Casablancas use? ›

Julian Casablancas: Distortion

The gravely croon of Julian Casablancas is synonymous with his signature use of distortion.

Is Julian Casablancas a baritone? ›

Julian Casablancas is a baritone, but don't worry if your voice is not in the same range—most important is that you are comfortable with the notes.

Did Julian Casablancas finish high school? ›

Casablancas never finished high school, but took a GED (General Educational Development) test and continued to take music classes at Five Towns College, where he says he first enjoyed himself in class.

What was The Voidz's first song? ›

The Voidz's first song “Human Sadness” released on September 2, 2014.

Is The Voidz experimental? ›

The band has truly grown an underground cult following. From experimental and heavy metal to new wave and indie rock, The Voidz have created a genre simply their own. The band calls it- semi-jokingly- 'prison jazz.

Who writes The Voidz song? ›

Casablancas enjoyed working with the band and chose to collaborate with other musicians, in a similar format to the Sick Six, when recording his next album. Casablancas, Carapetis, Bercovici, and Kite, along with mutual friends Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai formed The Voidz and began writing music together.

Does Julian Casablancas like the Beatles? ›

It should be obligatory for every musician to study the work of The Beatles. However, The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas somehow missed that memo and has never felt inclined to explore their back catalogue.

What kind of person is Julian Casablancas? ›

He is known for his distinctive vocal style and his ability to write catchy, memorable songs. In terms of his personality, Casablancas has been described as enigmatic and somewhat reclusive.


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