Julian Casablancas
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Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas
Julian Casablancas Belfort 2010.jpg
Julian Casablancas at Eurockéennes 2010
Born Julian Fernando Casablancas
(1978-08-23) August 23, 1978 (age 40)
New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active 1998-present
Juliet Joslin (m. 2005)
Children 2
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • drums
  • synthesizer
  • vocoder
  • sampler
Website juliancasablancas.com

Julian Fernando Casablancas (born August 23, 1978)[1] is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known as the lead singer of the American rock bands The Strokes founded in 1998 and The Voidz, which was founded in 2013. Casablancas has also led a solo career during the Strokes' hiatus, releasing the album Phrazes for the Young on November 3, 2009. Over the years, Casablancas has also collaborated with several other artists on their work, examples being The Lonely Island's 2009 album Incredibad and Daft Punk's 2013 album Random Access Memories.

Casablancas founded the independent record label Cult Records in 2009.[2] Initially used as an imprint for Casablancas' solo releases, Cult later became a standalone label, and in June 2014 entered a label services agreement with Kobalt.[3]

Early life

Casablancas was born in New York City to business mogul John Casablancas, the founder of Elite Model Management, and Jeanette Christiansen, a Danish former model and Miss Denmark (1965).[4][5] When Casablancas was eight, his parents divorced. He once stated that he wanted to be closer to his father, and this, "translated into teenage rebelliousness."[6] His mother subsequently married painter Sam Adoquei.[7] 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.[8]

Casablancas knew the bassist of The Strokes, Nikolai Fraiture since they were six,[9] while both were attending Lycée Français de New York.[10][11] When he was 13, Casablancas' father sent him to Institut Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland, where he met future Strokes member Albert Hammond Jr.[12] Casablancas later returned to New York and attended Dwight School with two other future Strokes, Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti.[13][12] Casablancas never finished high school, but took a GED and continued to take music classes at Five Towns College, where he says he first enjoyed himself in class.[14][15][16]


The Strokes (1998-present)

With The Strokes in 2006

Casablancas met guitarist Nick Valensi and drummer Fab Moretti and played together at the Dwight School in Manhattan. He reconnected with guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. when the latter moved to New York. The band was formed in 1998 when Hammond was accepted into the band,[17] with Casablancas as the lead vocalist and main songwriter.[18]

The band began rehearsing a fourteen-song set which included "Alone, Together", "Barely Legal", "Last Nite", "The Modern Age", "New York City Cops", "Soma", "Someday", "Take It or Leave It" and "This Life" (an early version of "Trying Your Luck"). Most of these songs now feature different lyrics. A demo sent to the newly reformed Rough Trade Records in the UK sparked interest there, leading to their first release via the website of the UK magazine NME who gave away a free mp3 download of "Last Nite" a week prior to the physical release as part of The Modern Age EP in 2001. The EP sparked a bidding war among record labels, the largest for a rock and roll band in years. Shortly after, The Strokes' critically acclaimed debut album Is This It was released.

After the release of two other albums Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth and several major tours, the band took a 5-year break before returning with their fourth album Angles in 2011.[19] This was followed by several headlining appearances at musical festivals, including Reading, Coachella, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.[20]

The band released Comedown Machine in 2013, as their last album under the contract with long-time label RCA, for which they did no promotion.[21] The band released an EP, Future Present Past, on Casablancas' own label Cult Records in 2016.[22]

Solo projects (2009-present)

Casablancas, 2009

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.[23] 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.[24] 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."[25]

Julian Casablancas made his live solo debut for a private party for fashion brand Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, Japan.[26] 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. Members of The Sick Six include Jeff Kite (keyboard), Nelson London (synthesizer), JP Bowersock (guitar), Danielle Haim (percussion) and Alex Carapetis (drums).[27] Casablancas then toured with The Sick Six in Europe, United States, Australia and Japan from November 2009 until July 2010.[28][29][30]

Casablancas composed an original song, "I Like The Night", as part of his endorsement deal to represent Azzaro's new men's fragrance, Decibel, dB. The Azzaro Decibel television commercial featuring Julian aired in France on September 1, 2011.[31]

Casablancas also lent his vocals to the title track, "Rave On", on a 2011 tribute album to Buddy Holly, Rave On Buddy Holly.[32] In 2016, Casablancas contributed three specially recorded The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed covers - Venus in Furs,[33]Run Run Run[34] and White Light/White Heat,[35] under the title White Light White Heat (rock n roll animal live era version) - to the HBO television series, Vinyl.[36] The songs were subsequently released on various soundtracks to the series by Atlantic Records.

Casablancas also hosted a monthly music show Culture Void on Sirius XMU between May 2016 and February 2017, where the singer curated and shared some music across genres.[37]

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz performing at The Coronet, 2014

The Voidz (2013-present)

In June 2014 Casablancas announced he would be releasing an album, Tyranny with his backing band, 'The Voidz'. The album would be released on his own label, Cult Records[38] and coincided with his move to Upstate New York.[7] Members of the Voidz include musicians from his solo project's touring band Alex Carapetis and Jeff Kite. On September 23, 2014, Casablancas and his band Julian Casablancas + the Voidz released their debut album, followed by a tour in the United States and United Kingdom.[39] The group revealed dates for a South American tour in August 2017.[40]

As of December 8, 2017, the band officially changed their name from "Julian Casablancas + The Voidz" to simply "The Voidz" during an 'initiation' video on the band's Youtube page.[41] The video also announced a 2018 release window for their second album.


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". Casablancas also provided bass guitar and backing vocals on Albert Hammond, Jr.'s "Scared" on his solo album Yours to Keep. He subsequently played a Casio guitar and provided backing vocals on "Sick, Sick, Sick" by Queens of the Stone Age.[42] Casablancas played the second set of drums on the Strokes' "Evening Sun".

In 2008, he recorded a song with Santigold (then known as Santogold) and Pharrell of N*E*R*D called "My Drive Thru" for a Converse advertising campaign.[43] During his solo phase, he recorded "Boombox" with Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island for their 2009 debut album Incredibad, and was featured in an SNL Digital Short for the same song.[44] 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 also appeared in the 100th Digital Short, which aired on May 12, 2012. Casablancas 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.[45] 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.[46]

Casablancas worked with Daft Punk on their 2013 album Random Access Memories by contributing lyrics, vocals, and a guitar solo to their song "Instant Crush".[47][48][49] The album won the 2013 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, with Casablancas as one of the co-recipients of the award.[50]

In 2014, Casablancas composed a song for the soundtrack of The Unseen Beauty, a short documentary film which profiled his stepfather, artist Sam Adoquei.[51] This song would later be expanded into the 11-minute single "Human Sadness" from the album "Tyranny" by Julian Casablancas+The Voidz.

In April 2015, it was revealed that Casablancas had worked on a song with Savages' Jehnny Beth. The collaboration was later announced to be a cover of "Boy/Girl", a 1983 duet by Danish punk band Sort Sol and Lydia Lunch.[52] The music video, directed by Warren Fu, was released on December 4, 2015. The 7" was released through both Cult Records and Pop Noire Records on December 18, 2015.[53] Casablancas also wrote the song "Youth Without Love" for Har Mar Superstar's 2016 album Best Summer Ever,[54] and featured on "No One There", a song by Indian-born musician Hammarsing Kharhmar (Exhibition).[55]

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz at Lollapalooza Chile, 2014

Cult Records

In 2009, Casablancas founded Cult Records, the creative imprint for his solo album Phrazes for the Young. The label subsequently signed a partnership agreement with Kobalt Label Services in 2014, which includes representation and product management, physical distribution across multiple territories, digital distribution through AWAL, marketing and sync licensing services.[56] Cult currently represents The Growlers, Har Mar Superstar, Songhoy Blues, Rey Pila, Karen O, Promiseland, The Strokes, Julian Casablancas + the Voidz, Exhibition and Cerebral Ballzy. The label has also released works of Albert Hammond, Jr., The Virgins, Reputante, INHEAVEN, Exclamation Pony and Nelson London (C O L O R).

Casablancas served as a co-producer on Rey Pila's album released on Cult, The Future Sugar.[57] In August 2016, Cult Records announced a new album with The Growlers, a Southern California-based band. It was also announced that Casablancas himself was producing the album.[58]

Musical influences

Casablancas has 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." Additionally, he has stated that Bob Marley,[59]Nirvana and Pearl Jam are major influences on his work, the latter being the reason that he started making music after hearing the song "Yellow Ledbetter".[60]

Personal life

Julian Casablancas' father John Casablancas was a business mogul who founded the Elite Model Management. His second wife, the 1965 Miss Denmark Jeanette Christiansen, is Julian's mother. They divorced when Julian was 6 years old. [61] After the divorce, Jeanette married a classical painter Sam Adoquei. As a stepfather, Sam was a great positive influence on Julian and helped him shape his artistic taste.[62]

Julian has several half-siblings, including an elder sister from his father's first marriage,[63] and three other siblings from the third marriage.[64]

In 2005, Julian married Juliet Joslin, who was the assistant manager of The Strokes at the time.[7] Their son, Cal, was born in January 2010.[65] Their second son, Zephyr, was born March 27, 2015.[66]

Julian's father died of cancer in July 2013.[67]

Legacy and influence

He has also served as inspiration for several other musicians and the painter Elizabeth Peyton.[68]

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.[69]



The Strokes

The Voidz


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  69. ^ "Courtney Love : California Ventura Theatre on". Nme.com. November 6, 2001. Retrieved 2011.

External links

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