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The Strokes

Across The Strokes’ career there has been a five-year hiatus between albums three and four, studio tensions, and solo releases as recent as last month. But the quintet looks set to start working on new music together in January 2015. Here’s 10 things you might not have known about the New York icons.  

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The Strokes, ‘Reptilia’ (2003)

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Bands will always have to deal with the heartache of having demo tapes rejected, but it’s not something guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. took too seriously. After halfheartedly sending early recordings to a number of labels, he did what any emotional and frustrated artist would do, and hung the rejection letters on his wall.

Frontman Julian Casablancas may have recently released his second solo album, ‘Tyranny’ (review), but bandmate Nick Valensi is not a keen supporter of the other members’ side-projects. He is of the opinion that the band should be the main priority, and that new material should be presented to them first. The Voidz had better watch out.

Drummer Fabrizio Moretti has an interest in sculpture and studied the subject at university. In 2013, he created a public art installation on a street in New York. The sculptures included rows of altars and handmade, cast-in-plastic astronauts.

Danielle Haim spoke about Julian’s influence on HAIM, after touring as a percussionist in his solo band. She revealed that the singer gave her key advice, which was to take time out from playing live shows in LA, and to focus on writing hit songs instead.

Nick Valensi claims that the creation of the guitar tone in 2003’s ‘12:51’, which resembles a synthesiser, was a fluke. The guitarist said it was a result of accidentally leaving effects switched on in the studio. It is now a signature sound for the band and appears on other tracks such as ‘The End Has No End’ and ‘Red Light’.

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The Strokes, ‘Heart In A Cage’ (2006)

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‘Heart In A Cage’, from the band’s 2006 album ‘First Impressions Of Earth’, almost made it on to their second full-length ‘Room On Fire’. Julian revealed the track was known then as ‘Project X’.

Nikolai Fraiture took part in an annual charity basketball game, POP vs. Jock, in September. The bassist was recruited by Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler, and played alongside Butler and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Professional basketball player Matt Bonner coached the team.

Kings Of Leon’s Jared Followill named The Strokes’ debut as one of the best albums of the 2000s. The bassist said that ‘Is This It’ was one of the first basslines he learnt to play when he was 15-years-old, and called the title track “unbelievable”.

There have been comparisons between the chorus melody in the track ‘Razorblade’ and Barry Manilow’s 1974 hit ‘Mandy’. Julian said he was upset that he let this slip out, as he thinks it sounds so obvious now. 

Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich was originally hired to produce ‘Room On Fire’ but was sacked by the band after they called the sessions “soulless”. Godrich later dissed ‘First Impressions Of Earth’ by stating: “I didn’t like it. Nobody liked it!” Bit harsh.

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The Strokes, ‘Last Nite’ (2001)

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Words: Tom Skinner

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