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Julian Casablancas on popularity, politics and more with New York mag

Into the Voidz

Julian Casablancas is tired of the industry game.

Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas got real with journalist David Marchese of New York magazine.

The article is in promotion of Julian’s new album Virtues by his band Voidz and touches on everything from his views on the Strokes to how mainstream artists lack the panache that other artists who aren’t as popular do.

However, what he focuses heavily on is the politics of the industry. Casablancas muses that the capitalism of the industry is more focused on what’s marketable rather than what’s quality work. On Porches‘ new song, he says,

“There’s a song by Porches that just came out. I think it’s called “Goodbye.” The end of that song is really powerful.

The beginning almost sounds like Coldplay but from, like, a minute-thirty on it’s very, very cool.

In my opinion that’s a song that would be more popular if we lived in a world where quality was being accurately peddled.”

He believes that the work he has done, is doing and will always do will be about the artistry that comes with music rather than the marketability.

“My mission is the same as it’s been from day one, which is to try to make something that has artistic value and bring it to the mainstream. Nothing about that has changed.

I strive to build a world where the Velvet Underground would be more popular than the Rolling Stones. Or where Ariel Pink is as popular as Ed Sheeran.”

It’s illuminating for an artist who has seen a great deal of success with his work to be so vocal about how the industry handles lesser known, less “radio friendly” artists.

While he believes that there’s no harm in everyone gaining traction in their careers, he feels that there should be more of a balance.

“People grow up with norms knocked into their heads. And I’m not trying to diss Ed Sheeran or any pop star. Ed Sheeran seems like a nice, cool guy and I have nothing against his music. Let him sell a billion records.

I’m just saying I don’t understand why there can’t be a world where Ed Sheeran gets 60 percent of the attention and Ariel Pink gets 40 percent. Now it’s almost like Ed Sheeran gets 99.5 percent of it.

The creative bands have been pushed so far into the margins. But my bigger point is that whether it’s music or politics, right now we’re mired in whoever’s propaganda is loudest.”

The new Voidz album will be available on March 30th. To read the rest of the interview with Casablancas, click here.

Keep up with music at Salute.

Listen: The Voidz All Wordz Are Made Up

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