Casablancas on stage
|Birth name||Julian Fernando Casablancas|
23 August 1978 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Indie rock, New Wave, alternative rock, garage rock, post-punk revival, synthpop|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, musician|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, guitar synthesizer, harmonica|
|Labels||Cult, Rough Trade, RCA, Sony BMG|
|Associated acts||The Strokes, Queens of the Stone Age, The Lonely Island, Danger Mouse, N.E.R.D, Santigold, Digitalism (band), Pearl Jam, Daft Punk|
Julian Fernando Casablancas (born August 23, 1978) is an American musician, singer, songwriter and frontman of The Strokes. Casablancas pursued a solo career during The Strokes' hiatus, releasing the album Phrazes for the Young on November 3, 2009.
Early life, education, and personal life
Julian Casablancas was born in New York City, to Spanish American business mogul John Casablancas, the founder of Elite Model Management, and Danish Jeanette Christiansen, a former model and onetime Miss Denmark in 1965. His paternal grandfather, Fernando Casablancas, was a well-known textile businessman. His parents divorced and his mother subsequently married painter Sam Adoquei. Adoquei helped shape Casablancas' early musical taste by exposing him to music such as The Doors, which was markedly different from the mostly Phil Collins-influenced music he listened to as a child. In 2005, Julian married the assistant to the Strokes' manager, Juliet Joslin. In January 2010, they had a son, Cal Casablancas.
Casablancas met the first member of The Strokes, Nikolai Fraiture, while both were attending Lycée Français de New York (Fraiture graduated in 1997, Casablancas in 1996). When he was 14, Casablancas' father sent him to Institut Le Rosey, an elite boarding school in Switzerland. There, he met future Strokes member Albert Hammond, Jr. Casablancas attended The Dwight School with two other future Strokes, Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti. Casablancas never finished school, but continued to take music classes, where he says he first enjoyed himself in class.
Julian Casablancas' has said that Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is his favorite song of all time. In addition, he has also cited Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground as a major influence on his lyrics and singing style. "The way Lou Reed wrote and sang about drugs and sex, about the people around him — it was so matter-of-fact," Casablancas stated in a Rolling Stone interview. "Reed could be romantic in the way he portrayed these crazy situations, but he was also intensely real. It was poetry and journalism." He has also stated very often throughout his career that Bob Marley is one of his favorite songwriters.
His first solo album, Phrazes for the Young (inspired by the Oscar Wilde book "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young"), was released on November 2 in the UK and November 3, 2009, in the United States. Recorded in Omaha, Nebraska, and Casablancas' home city New York, the album was produced by Jason Lader, with additional production from Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis. The album was strongly influenced by new wave and electronica, with Casablancas utilizing synthesizers for many songs. He discussed his new influences by saying "I would've gone weirder with the music, but I wanted to be smart. I didn't want people to say, 'Okay, this is his weird abstract thing,' and dismiss the album. I worked too hard on it for that to happen...I wanted to be crazy original and bridge the gap between traditional music and modern music."
Julian Casablancas made his live solo debut for a private party for fashion brand Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, Japan. To celebrate the release of the EP, Casablancas performed a series of shows in October 2009 at The Downtown Palace Theatre in Los Angeles with his live show band, The Sick Six. Other members of The Sick Six include Jeff Kite (keyboard), Nelson London (synthesizer), JP Bowersock (guitar), Danielle Haim (percussion) and Alex Carapetis (drums). Casablancas then toured with The Sick Six in Europe, United States, Australia and Japan from November 2009 until July 2010.
Casablancas has played a casio guitar and provided backing vocals on "Sick, Sick, Sick" by Queens of the Stone Age, bass guitar and backing vocals on Albert Hammond, Jr.'s "Scared", and the second set of drums on the Strokes' "Evening Sun"
Casablancas, along with the Strokes, provided vocals on a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" with Joshua Homme on drums and Eddie Vedder on backup vocals. The cover was released in 2006 as the b-side to "You Only Live Once".
In 2009, during his solo phase, he recorded "Boombox" with Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island for their debut album Incredibad, and was featured in an SNL Digital Short for the same song. In addition, he also recorded "I Wish It Was Christmas Today", a festive song based on a Saturday Night Live skit made popular by Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan. Casablancas performed the song live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on December 21, 2009, together with The Roots, Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon. He later appeared in the 100th Digital Short, which aired on May 12, 2012.
He also collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the song "Little Girl" on the 2010 album, Dark Night of the Soul, contributing the lyrics, lead and backing vocals, and guitar solo. Casablancas also lent his vocals to the title track, "Rave On", on a 2011 tribute album to Buddy Holly, Rave On Buddy Holly. Aside from vocal collaborations, he also contributed to a song, "Forrest Gump", on Digitalism's sophomore album I Love You, Dude in 2011. The electronica duo initiated a collaboration with Casablancas through his manager, and Casablancas contributed 'a 30-second recording with him on guitar' via email.
Casablancas has also contributed musically to several advertising campaigns. In 2008, he recorded a song with Santigold (then known as Santogold) and Pharrell of N*E*R*D called "My Drive Thru" for Converse. Casablancas also composed an original song, "I Like The Night", as part of his endorsement deal to represent Azzaro's new mens fragrance, Decibel, dB. The Azzaro Decibel television commercial featuring Julian aired in France on September 1, 2011.
He has also served as inspiration for several other musicians and the painter Elizabeth Peyton.Courtney Love's song "But Julian, I'm a Little Bit Older Than You", from her debut solo album America's Sweetheart (2004), was written about Julian Casablancas.
In 2009, Casablancas founded Cult Records, the creative imprint for his solo album "Phrazes for the Young." In 2012, Cult signed New York rock band The Virgins, as well as flamboyant R&B artist Har Mar Superstar to the label, with both acts releasing new albums in 2013.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Phrazes for the Young||35||10||12||30||34||49||19|
|2009||"11th Dimension"||48||Phrazes for the Young|
|"I Wish It Was Christmas Today"||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
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