Julian Casablancas Tells Zane Lowe He Wants to Spend the Rest of His Life Playing in Half-Empty Bars

Turns out that schedule clashes at festivals bum him out the same as us, too.
07 juni 2016, 7:51pm

Photo by Joshua Mellin

If you’ll remember, we spent Friday watching The Strokes’ euphoric, triumphant Governors Ball headline set, a solid hour and a half of classics that left us feeling all sorts of buzzed. We watched it with a guy called Harry who was, as we said, fucking stoked. So were we.

But you know who apparently maybe wasn’t so stoked? Juluan Casablancas. In an impressively wide-ranging interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 today, the frontman talked through the joys and pitfalls of striking out on the band’s own label (it’s hard but fun), the possibility of new Strokes music (looks like there will be some), and a new video that the band are shooting for “Threat of Joy” from their recent Future Present Past EP.

He also got around to talking about the festival scene and the feeling of playing to 10,000 people or more on a regular basis. “I’m gonna take me out of the situation,” he said straining. “98 percent of musicians that I know and talk to really don’t like playing festivals.” His main reason was actually totally reasonable—the impossibility of choosing between bands and the torture of scheduling clashes. We tend to talk about such things as a lucky problem, a knowingly overblown Woe Is Me sort of issue that comes with the glut of great artists, but Casablancas talks about it as a genuine annoyance and, here, it’s sort of refreshing.

The solution? “My favorite thing would be playing surprise shows at half-empty bars,” he said. “That would be my dream and that would be a devastatingly financially ruinous approach.” He’s probably right, but then again, a single tweet could blow the whole thing up before the band even worked their way through an opener, so maybe that’s not even an option anymore. Either way, I’m going to be horrifically disappointed every time I go to a bar from now on and don’t end up seeing a surprise set from The Strokes. Thanks, dude.

Listen to the whole interview below and check out our cover story on Casablancas from last year.