Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O tells Strokes’ Julian Casablancas: ‘You were a rival’

The singer says she saw The Strokes as competition when both bands were starting out in New York

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O has revealed that she saw The Strokes as rivals when both bands were starting out in New York.

The revelation comes as Karen O and Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas interview each other in this month’s issue of Time Out New York.

O released her debut solo album on September 8 via Casablancas’ Cult Records label, while he will release his second solo album ‘Tyranny’, with new band The Voidz on October 13 via the same.

“[You] were a rival for quite a while,” O said, to which Casablancas replied, “I definitely did not [see it that way]”.

“Of course, you didn’t,” O continued. “Because you were at the top! You were ruling the school.”

“Yeah, but your last records have been huge megarecords,” Casablancas said. “You know, it’s funny, because we had bands like that, like the Mooney Suzuki. And Guided By Voices was, like, the big time.

O then said that she remembers “feeling like that at the time” to which Casablancas responded: “Shit, I didn’t realise. Well, we didn’t know each other.”

“And it was kind of like a boys’ club around that time,” O continued. “So I always felt a little bit like a black sheep. But in a good way. I used that to rev me up.”

Later on in the interview, O says that she wishes that she had communicated with other singers and frontpeople in the earlier years of her career, something she has discussed with Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme. “I feel like – and I talked to Josh Homme about this too – sometimes frontpeople don’t connect. It’s like when two magnets that are positively charged [repel each other]. Only in my 30s have I made a concerted effort to connect with other frontpeople, and it’s awesome, because I relate! I kind of wish I would’ve done that when I was younger and more insecure.”

Karen O will play two shows at London’s Bush Hall on October 4 and 5. To check the availability of Karen O tickets and get all the latest listings, head to NME.COM/tickets.