The Strokes on early years: ‘We didn’t feel part of a sea change bringing back cool guitar bands’

Band discuss the making of debut album 'Is This It' in new interview

The Strokes have spoken about their early years and the making of their debut ‘Is This It’.

‘Is This It’ was released in July 2001 and featured the hits ‘Last Nite’, ‘Hard To Explain’ ‘Someday’ and ‘The Modern Age’. The band’s guitarist Albert Hammond Jr and producer Gordon Raphael have discussed making the record with The Guardian.

On the band’s very beginnings, Hammond Jr said: “I first met Julian Casablancas at boarding school in Switzerland at the age of 13. Years later, I ran into him in New York when I moved into a place near where he was working and, two weeks later, we were sharing a flat.”

After watching Eddie Murphy film Bowfinger before their first gig (“hoping it would calm us down”), Hammond Jr says that he realised the band were going somewhere during an early show in Manhattan. “We were the middle band,” he said. “It was snowing, and there was an argument over what time we’d go on. We were really annoyed, so just went on and played a monster show, doing ‘The Modern Age’ and ‘Last Nite’ for the first time and kicking in the drumkit. Then all our friends left with us, and the headline band were left playing to an empty room.”

Hammond Jr says that the band “didn’t feel part of any sea change bringing back cool guitar bands”, adding “I remember being at the Columbia Hotel in London, where lots of bands used to get put up. The other groups were aggressive, bringing in dudes to drink with, while we brought in girls. We had a lot of fun. When everything exploded for us, we thought: ‘Wow! Does this mean we can keep doing this?’.”

The Strokes have ruled out the possibility of them playing at Glastonbury this year. Taking to Twitter, the band wrote: “For those kindly asking, nopes, no Glasto’ this year!”

The band recently announced details of their first UK gig in five years when they headline the British Summer Time Festival in London’s Hyde Park on June 18.

Announcing the news to fans, The Strokes wrote: “It may seem a ways away but summer’s still happening this year and we wanted to let you know The Strokes are planning another trip for another show, this time in London’s Hyde Park on Thursday June 18. And if that wasn’t enough for us to be all excited about we’re also stoked to tell you that Beck and Future Islands will be joining us on the day, which is pretty-freaking-awesome.”

To check the availability of The Strokes tickets and get all the latest listings, head to NME.COM/tickets.
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