Julian Fernando Casablancas
(born August 23, 1978) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He is the lead vocalist of the rock band The Strokes. In addition to his work with the Strokes, Casablancas has led a solo career during the band's hiatus, releasing the album Phrazes for the Young
on November 3, 2009.InfluencesJulian Casablancas' has said that Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is his favorite song of all time. In addition, he has also cited Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground as a major influence on his lyrics and singing style. "The way Lou Reed wrote and sang about drugs and sex, about the people around him — it was so matter-of-fact," Casablancas stated in a Rolling Stone
interview. "Reed could be romantic in the way he portrayed these crazy situations, but he was also intensely real. It was poetry and journalism." He has also stated very often throughout his career that Bob Marley is one of his favorite songwriters.
Casablancas met guitarist Nick Valensi and drummer Fab Moretti while playing together at the Dwight School in Manhattan. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture had been friends with Casablancas and was attending the Lycée Français de New York. At age 13, Casablancas was sent to boarding school in Switzerland, where he met guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.The band began rehearsing a fourteen song set which included "Alone, Together", "Barely Legal", "Last Nite", "The Modern Age", "New York City Cops", "Soma", "Someday", "Take It or Leave It" and "This Life" (an early version of "Trying Your Luck"). Most of these songs now feature different lyrics. A demo sent to the newly reformed Rough Trade Records in the UK sparked interest there, leading to their first release via the website of the UK magazine NME who gave away a free mp3 download of "Last Nite" a week prior to the physical release as part of The Modern Age EP in 2001. The EP sparked a bidding war among record labels, the largest for a rock and roll band in years. Shortly after, The Strokes' critically acclaimed debut album "Is This It" was released.
His first solo album, Phrazes for the Young
(inspired by the Oscar Wilde book "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young"), was released on November 2 in the UK and November 3, 2009, in the United States. Recorded in Omaha, Nebraska, and Casablancas' home city New York, the album was produced by Jason Lader, with additional production from Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis. The album was strongly influenced by new wave and electronica, with Casablancas utilizing synthesizers for many songs. He discussed his new influences by saying "I would've gone weirder with the music, but I wanted to be smart. I didn't want people to say, 'Okay, this is his weird abstract thing,' and dismiss the album. I worked too hard on it for that to happen...I wanted to be crazy original and bridge the gap between traditional music and modern music."Julian Casablancas made his live solo debut for a private party for fashion brand Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, Japan. To celebrate the release of the EP, Casablancas performed a series of shows in October 2009 at The Downtown Palace Theatre in Los Angeles with his live show band, The Sick Six. Other members of The Sick Six include Jeff Kite (keyboard), Nelson London (synthesizer), JP Bowersock (guitar), Danielle Haim (percussion) and Alex Carapetis (drums). Casablancas then toured with The Sick Six in Europe, United States, Australia and Japan from November 2009 until July 2010.On November 12, 2013 Casablancas' website was updated, teasing a new work titled Voidz. On March 6th 2014, Casablancas posted a cryptic video on YouTube hinting at a new solo album 'Julian Casablancas + The Voidz' to be released through Cult Records.
Casablancas has played a casio guitar and provided backing vocals on "Sick, Sick, Sick" by Queens of the Stone Age, bass guitar and backing vocals on Albert Hammond, Jr.'s "Scared", and the second set of drums on the Strokes' "Evening Sun".Casablancas, along with the Strokes, provided vocals on a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" with Joshua Homme on drums and Eddie Vedder on backup vocals. The cover was released in 2006 as the B-side to "You Only Live Once".In 2009, during his solo phase, he recorded "Boombox" with Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island for their debut album Incredibad
, and was featured in an SNL Digital Short for the same song. In addition, he also recorded "I Wish It Was Christmas Today", a festive song based on a Saturday Night Live
skit made popular by Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan. Casablancas performed the song live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
on December 21, 2009, together with The Roots, Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon. He also appeared in the 100th Digital Short, which aired on May 12, 2012.He also collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the song "Little Girl" on the 2010 album, Dark Night of the Soul
, contributing the lyrics, lead and backing vocals, and guitar solo. Casablancas also lent his vocals to the title track, "Rave On", on a 2011 tribute album to Buddy Holly, Rave On Buddy Holly
. Aside from vocal collaborations, he also contributed to a song, "Forrest Gump", on Digitalism's sophomore album I Love You, Dude
in 2011. The electronica duo initiated a collaboration with Casablancas through his manager, and Casablancas contributed 'a 30-second recording with him on guitar' via email.Casablancas has also contributed musically to several advertising campaigns. In 2008, he recorded a song with Santigold (then known as Santogold) and Pharrell of N*E*R*D called "My Drive Thru" for Converse. Casablancas also composed an original song, "I Like The Night", as part of his endorsement deal to represent Azzaro's new men's fragrance, Decibel, dB. The Azzaro Decibel television commercial featuring Julian aired in France on September 1, 2011.He has also served as inspiration for several other musicians and the painter Elizabeth Peyton. Courtney Love's song "But Julian, I'm a Little Bit Older Than You", from her debut solo album America's Sweetheart
(2004), was written about Julian Casablancas.In 2009, Casablancas founded Cult Records, the creative imprint for his solo album Phrazes for the Young
. Cult currently represents The Virgins, Har Mar Superstar, C O L O R, Exclamation Pony, Reputante, Rey Pila, Albert Hammond, Jr., and Cerebral Ballzy.In 2013, Casablancas collaborated with Daft Punk on their album Random Access Memories
by contributing lyrics, vocals, and a guitar solo to their song "Instant Crush". The album won the 2013 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, effectively making Casablancas a recipient of the award as well.