Albert Hammond, Jr. of the Strokes
Upon the release of their debut album Is This It
in 2001, the Strokes met much critical praise and were credited for being a major part of the garage rock revival of that time. Room on Fire
and First Impressions of Earth
followed, members embarked on a variety of side projects, and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Albert Hammond, Jr. released his well-received solo album Yours to Keep
. He churned out another gem with ¿Cómo Te Llama?
in 2008, before work on the Strokes’ latest effort, Angles
, began in 2009. The much anticipated Angles came out in February of this year and not long afterwards, the band announced that they had already begun working on their fifth studio album, to countless fans’ delight.
While he was on tour, we caught up with Albert to talk about Angles
, Korg gear, and more: KORG: Angles is out and people are pumped. It’s been about five years since the last Strokes record, and you kept yourself busy and released ¿Cómo Te Llama? in ’08. Are there any moments in your mind that sick out from recording or the tour?
Albert Hammond, Jr.:
Most recently, playing Madison Square Garden sticks out like a sore thumb. It was a very beautiful moment. KORG: That’s obviously a monumental performance, it’s pretty awesome place to be playing. I caught the Late Show with David Letterman performance and that was cool, Dave seemed to dig it. Do you guys enjoy doing TV things like that?
Everything has its weirdness…you do TV and it’s weird, but it’s fun. It’s quick, it’s intense, and the rush is unbelievable, actually. You’re just sitting there and in three minutes, your adrenaline kicks into overdrive and it leaves you shaking. It’s great how TV reaches people. TV can be really enjoyable…Saturday Night Live
was like that. KORG: Did you personally bring any tunes or ideas to the table for Angles from your time off, or was it all created when you guys met to do the new record?
I don’t think anything is just done on the spot like that, you know? Things are constantly in motion when it comes to music. It’s a mixture of everything, probably a mix of things people had for who knows how long. Some new or maybe some old that became new when we came into the studio and started playing it. KORG: Would you describe this recording process any differently than the last times you guys got together for records? I know you guys got together upstate (New York), right?
Yeah. I think the best way to describe it is, we have ten years of experience and you go in to the core, you can still have the innocence of when you made your first record because we’re doing it in this space that’s very innocent. But you have ten years of knowledge and recording and ideas. That’s what’s exciting about doing the next one is you have this experience that can be put to use. KORG: Are there any specific recordings from Angles that are special to you?
The songs “Games” and “Satisfaction” and “Life Is Simple in the Moonlight” - those were pretty special. KORG: Why is that?
Lots of different reasons. “Games” is the most extreme difference for me. ”Satisfaction” has background vocals for the first time. “Moonlight” is just a special song to me…something about it when it was done; it just had a very unique sound to me. KORG: Let’s talk about gear. You recently picked up a monotron, microKORGXL, and PS60. Is this the most we’ll hear from synths and keys on a Strokes record?
Yeah, the PS60 is awesome and so is the microKORG! For solo stuff, I still use a Triton. KORG: What are your favorite features on the microKORGXL or PS60? Do you have any?
So many, I love everything about them. I even use the XL on stage now. It has really cool and unique sounds. We all have one now. I have one at home, one at the studio, and one on the road. Nikolai has one, and I’m pretty sure Nick and Julian have one too. The PS60 is great; it will definitely make it on to the next album. We started playing it and found it had so many great sounds right away! KORG: Thanks, Albert!
For more info on Albert and the Strokes, visit www.alberthammondjr.com
Photo Credit: Jason McDonald