‘Room On Fire’ producer Gordon Raphael tells NME.COM about life in the studio with New York’s finest…

THE STROKES‘ producer GORDON RAPHAEL has described how working on their “mountain” of a second album ‘ROOM ON FIRE’ was the “hardest and most rewarding” thing he has ever done.

Raphael was originally passed over in favour of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, yet he told NME.COM how the bond between the band and producer remained close throughout.

“I had a feeling something was on Julian (Casablancas)’s mind because he hadn’t called me straight out and said ‘Make sure you have some free time’,” Raphael told NME.COM of losing the job to Godrich. “He played me some demos of what he was going to work on and he told me they were gonna test out Nigel, give him a try and see what happens. But he also said right then and there that he had a feeling that he was gonna be back working with me on this record.”


Raphael, who has worked with The Strokes since the demo versions of ‘The Modern Age’, was asked back in early spring after the Godrich sessions were aborted.

After deleting the Godrich sessions from the studio hard drive, Raphael then went on to produce what he calls a “quantum jump” of an album at New York’s TMF studios.

“It’s a quantum jump without losing the things that you love about your friends,” he said of ‘Room On Fire’. “From the moment you hear it you think, ‘Hey hey, The Strokes are back’, but you notice, ‘Wow, Fab (Moretti)’s drumming! Amazing! Nick (Valensi)’s guitar playing!’ It’s just stepped up, without getting dry or older or more mature. This is an example of how people have grown and developed without getting boring. It is a mountain of a record, it’s a huge leap.”

Raphael called the sessions “the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my career”. On the final day of recording, the team entered the studio at 2pm, finally finishing up at 10pm the following night.

The producer moved to London a year-and-a-half ago. The Transporterraum is a reference to ‘Star Trek’, and a UK sister to studios in Berlin and New York. Raphael is using it as a base for his new label Shoplifter Records>, a showcase for his own band Crystal Radio, and a raft of new artists including Miss Machine, Kill Kenada and Regina Spektor.

Raphael will be performing live with Crystal Radio at Shoplifter Records’ showcase as part of Manchester’s In The City Fringe this Sunday (14 September) at the Attic club.


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