Q&A: Julian Casablancas on the Yankees, The Strokes, and Fatherhood

“I thought things were going to change a little bit in our infrastructure, but I didn't foresee all the solo detours.”

Julian Casablancas wasn't planning to make a solo album when The Strokes went on hiatus at the end of 2006. In fact, the primary singer and songwriter from the New York–based band that helped put the stomp on rap-rock in the early 2000s didn't expect his bandmates to make the break an excuse for solo detours. But it happened, and Casablancas found himself with time on his hands and enough material to make Phrazes for the Young.Here's what Casablancas, a rabid New York Mets fan, had to say:SW: What have you been up to today?Julian Casablancas: I've been busy all day. I feel weird and embarrassed talking about the details of what I do. I don't know why.You're going to be a father soon. How are you guys preparing for the big change?We're going to move to the suburbs and drive a station wagon. But besides that, nothing will change.Were you surprised when you found out?I was surprised in the George Costanza, "My boys can swim!" way. We weren't trying, weren't not trying.What happens if your child grows up to be a Yankees fan?I find that hard to believe. But I think, you know, he'll have his share of bad choices that he'll have to make on his own that I can't help him with.Was it painful to see the Yankees win a World Series again?I'm numb to it. I mean, it's the Phillies or Yankees, so it's pick your poison, you know? I was just rooting for both teams to lose somehow.Is this record what you had in mind to do when the Strokes went on break?No, I didn't know what to expect. I thought things were going to change a little bit in our infrastructure, but I didn't foresee all the solo detours.If not to pursue solo endeavors, what was the impetus for the hiatus?There was a vibe that we were feeling from crowds and bands and, you know, ourselves: just like, "If we do another record, they're just gonna be like, 'Oh man, these guys again!'" Instead it's like we've been gone, and it seems like the mystique has grown somehow. Our aura seems larger than it was when we stopped. I don't know—maybe I've just been speaking to too many European journalists.How is speaking to European journalists different than speaking to U.S. journalists?I don't know—they just kinda say, like, "So how does it feel to have, like, changed music?" Yeah, I think we changed it in Europe.ckornelis@seatteweekly.com

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