Julian Casablancas & Karen O Interview Each Other About Radiohead, Coors Light Commercials, & The Old NYC Scene

Julian Casablancas and Karen O came to international attention in 2001 as part of the burgeoning NYC rock scene, and both artists just released new albums, Tyranny and Crush Songs, respectively. In this week’s issue of Time Out NY, the two artists interview each other. It’s not exactly probing journalism, but it’s a pretty fun read. Check out some of their exchange below, which includes musings on Radiohead (Karen O: “Thom Yorke is very special. He fucks me up with his vocals”), sources of inspiration (Julian: “Other than Coors Light commercials… when it comes to music, this is not a very interesting answer, but I’m probably going to say music”), and the old NYC scene in which they came up (Julian: “People used to always ask about ‘the scene’ [in New York] back in the day. I feel like there’s more of a scene now”). Check out the snippets below and read the full article over at TONY’s site.

Casablancas: I’ll go first, with a question that I prepared for you: Do you like Radiohead?

O: I do like Radiohead, yes [laughs]

Casablancas: I saw a guy walk by who looked like Thom Yorke, and I thought, I wonder if she likes Radiohead? Do you like them a little? A lot?

O: Thom Yorke is very special. He fucks me up with his vocals, for one. I don’t think it’s just because I’m a singer, because I write music, too, but I tend to gravitate toward the voice more than anything else in music. And Thom Yorke’s got a whopper of one. The rest of it is…

Casablancas: Total bullshit? No. I’m kidding.

O: So what inspires your music most? For me, it’s probably film first and poetry second.

Casablancas: Other than Coors Light commercials… when it comes to music, this is not a very interesting answer, but I’m probably going to say music. When it comes to life, in general, great speeches or great books. Those are the kinds of things that make me want to stomp on the table a fist. It there a way to say this with one word? Fist the table? That sounded terrible. That made me want to…

O: Fist the table? [laughs] One of the reasons I ask is that the new record with (your band) the Voidz transports me to another place, and it feels like a little bit of dystopian science-fiction film to me. Were there any films that tripped your trigger with that?

Casablancas: Tripped my trigger? I like that. Film? Hmm… a lot of the footage in the (video) teasers that you’re talking about we filmed with a VHS camera. When I look back on what we’re doing it’s like Repo Man or something.

Casablancas: People used to always ask about “the scene” (in New York) back in the day. I feel like there’s more of a scene now. I’m talking to all of these cool bands and musicians. Before, it was just bands trying to make it.

O: And I think being in New York at a time when New York was not on the map, it was really easy to make music just because you wanted to, without any expectation. But now, it’s impossible, almost anywhere, to not have the expectation.

Casablancas: I think (we met) at our show at Mercury Lounge?

O: It was very early on.

Casablancas: Neither of us were signed. And did you guys play before us?

O: Yeah.

Casablancas: I remember you guys playing, but I was like, nervous before our show, so it was hard … like I told you, before shows, I’m just …

O: Oh, dude, yeah.

Casablancas: Seeing (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) it was like, That’s cool — what’s going on there? One guitarist. It was an original setup.

//

Check out the complete interview at TONY’s site.