The Strokes – Sydney, Australia 2001
In July of 2001, The Strokes did an interview in Sydney, Australia. This interview was not unlike the countless other interviews they were conducting numerous times a day. In the after-math of becoming NME’s new rock ‘n roll darlings, this young group of ragamuffin musicians from NYC were being considered the “future of rock ‘n roll” – and Is This It? had yet to be released. They were the biggest buzz band in the world, and the world was wondering if The Strokes were more than a passing fad.
After a successful European tour that included two weeks of sold out dates, countless photo shoots, and many press appearances, The Strokes found themselves in Australia, the first tastes of fame and success still lingering. This is the atmosphere the following interview was conducted in.
This is my favorite Strokes interview to this day. It displays an oblivious amount of beautiful immaturity on The Strokes part – most questions are turned into jokes, answers are muttered between swigs of beer and drags of cigarettes and the occasional burp, awkward tension lies within the way members approach questions, and there’s a hint of bratty cockiness in the subtext of their responses. It’s a very crude and unprofessional interview that documents the calm before the storm of Is This It, and sheds light on inner-band dynamics that would later delay The Strokes. If you pay attention, the interview begins with a feud between Julian Casablancas and Nikolai Fraiture about how the interview should be conducted – both unaware that they are miked. This little candid moment is some of my favorite footage ever captured of The Strokes. It perfectly sums up what it’s like to be young and in a band in a few lines of dialogue: the power-struggles, the communication (or lack thereof), the egos, and the aloofness of the moment.
NIKOLIA: Do it [the interview] the way you want to. Anything you want to do – do it.
JULIAN: I’m just saying, like as a team lets do something cool and like, when someones just like, “Fine, just do it your way, it’s like-”
NIKOLIA: As a team, like, usually it ends up us just like sitting here, so it’s better if you just do it. It just saves that whole, like middle ground.
JULIAN: I don’t understand why – I don’t understand why you feel that way. It’s too bad.
NICK: You guys know theres like a microphone right over your heads, right?
ALBERT: (looking up at the boom mike) Whoa…it looks like a fucking giant penis.