Published Mar 18, 2011This coming Tuesday (March 22), the Strokes will finally release their fourth album, Angles. The wait has been five years, after the first three albums came to us in less than half that time. According to guitarist Nick Valensi, the delay was for "a number of reasons."
"Well, there was kind of a long break, man," he tells Exclaim! "There were a couple of years the timing wasn't right to make another Strokes record. There were a lot of side-projects and solo projects, but once we got back together to start writing and recording, that process was slightly drawn out. Again, for a number of reasons [laughs]."
Valensi says that the wait might have felt like five years, but the actual album began to take shape two years ago. While that doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of time, there were constant interruptions that hindered the creative process.
"We started writing the record together, I think it was around the beginning of 2009. So, a while ago," he says. "That seems kind of crazy; it took a long time. But there were a lot of stops and starts. We started for about six to eight months writing in a room, and we wrote a lot. We wrote, like, 18 or 20 songs, and then when it came time to start recording, there were a few setbacks. Julian [Casablancas]'s solo record was coming out right when we were about to start recording, which made it a little difficult. And Albert [Hammond, Jr.] went away for a couple of months to get clean. That's become common public knowledge now. I used to not say that, but now I feel okay because he's talking about it too."
As for what Valensi did in his spare time while Casablancas, Hammond and Nikolai Fraiture launched solo careers and Fab Moretti formed Little Joy, he says he used the time to write songs, but also focus on being a dad, as well as amass a stockpile of songs.
"I've kind of been busy with kids, just doing parental, paternal things," he explains. "It sounds kind of weird, but I've been super-active in my kids' lives. But a couple of years into this hiatus, the thought crossed my mind to also do a side-project because I had written a lot of material, probably 14 or 15 songs. And I just kind of felt like I had been writing the songs with the Strokes in mind and Julian's voice in mind, with Albert and I doing our dual guitar thing, and the drumbeats were fast, so they were very much Strokes songs to me.
"I felt that if I did my songs with the band, they'd come out better, more of the way I intended them to. Not only that, but they'd also get heard by millions more people. So, for me, it was more a question of doing the songs justice and not just doing a solo project for the sake of doing it because everyone else was."
Stay tuned for our full Strokes interview on Exclaim.ca. In meantime, you can listen to Angles below.