Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. talks solo EP, tour
October 30, 2013
Albert Hammond Jr., best-known for playing guitar for The Strokes, released his new EP, “AHJ,” earlier this month. Having already released two solo studio albums, “¿Cómo Te Llama?” and “Yours to Keep,” the NYU alumnus will begin his national tour for “AHJ” on Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.
Hammond spoke exclusively with WSN about his upcoming tour, why the concept of the album as we know it is over and how the ’60s-style French films inspired his new music video for “St. Justice.”
“I think the album format is really old,” Hammond said. “People should make more fun stuff sooner, release a few songs here or there rather than waiting for an entire album.”
Hammond certainly proved his musical capabilities on the new EP, playing every instrument on all five tracks. He cited The Wipers’ record “Is This Real?” as an inspiration, as well as his strong desire to return to writing lyrics.
“I hadn’t written anything for two years, so that’s where the buzz and excitement was,” he said. “But if you let it be too open, sometimes you don’t do the best you can because you’re not focused. It’s harder.”
Hammond elaborated on the meaning behind the music video for “St. Justice,” a short black-and-white film chronicling the start and end of a relationship.
“It was this idea of creating a video for an indie guy, that would normally be seen as a pop video,” he said. “It felt kind of fun and different. I wanted it to feel youthful and like a foreign film, like French movies in the 1960s, and that’s how the process was. It was just the director, Nina [de Raadt], and myself. It was refreshing.”
The artwork for the EP — the painted head of a snarling Rottweiler in front of a black background — looks strikingly similar to the Givenchy Rottweiler that graced fashion bloggers’ sweatshirts earlier this year. Hammond recognized the similarity, and even said some have approached him wondering if it was an intentional reference. He said that it instead referenced to German movies and Japanese posters from the ’70s.
His EP was released through Cult Records, founded by his bandmate from The Strokes and close friend Julian Casablancas. He said he felt lucky to work with Casablancas on what he called a true collaboration. But when asked whether he would play any of The Strokes’ songs on his tour, Hammond dismissed the notion.
“It would be weird. Maybe one day,” he said. “If [The Strokes ever finish], then I could. But for right now, [my upcoming tour has] 20 songs. It’s a rad set list. It has a good momentum.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 30 print edition. Christina Cacouris is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]