It’s been a while since we heard any solid tales of contention from the recording process for the Strokes’ upcoming Angles. But with the album nearly in stores — two more weeks! — a few more juicy details have surfaced, thanks to Pitchfork’s exhaustive look back at the life of the band.
The true Strokesaphile will get a kick out of the older stories, too: Turns out, the band never much liked recording with one another! For our purposes here today, though, we’re focusing on the Angles sessions. While Julian Casablancas had already made it clear he’d gotten out of the way to let the other band members take on more decisions this time out, it wasn’t quite clear that he was literally not in the studio. Apparently, the band got started while Casablancas was still wrapping up promo for his solo album, and he never actually joined them. He’d record his vocal parts separately at Electric Lady Studios and then e-mail them over, along with directions written, according to guitarist Nick Valensi, “in really vague terms.” The whole thing very much bummed Valensi out:
I won’t do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful– just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I’d show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer. Some of the third album was done that way, but at least we were on the same page about what the arrangements and parts were. Seventy-five percent of this album felt like it was done together and the rest of it was left hanging, like some of us were picking up the scraps and trying to finish a puzzle together.
But now that it’s all over, you guys are happy with the end result, right, Julian? “I mean … yes … It’s a tough question because I think the whole point was that I was going to let things go so there’s a bunch of stuff [on the record] I wouldn’t have done.”
Angles! March 22!
This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes [Pitchfork]