The Strokes aren’t taking much time off after the April release of their fourth album Angles and subsequent festival dates. According to bassist Nikolai Fraiture, the band are planning “a very long tour this fall,” while also working on a follow-up to Angles. “We’re trying not to lose momentum by taking time off and then having to reboot the whole system,” Fraiture tells Rolling Stone. “Hopefully, we keep that up.”
Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. says it’s likely that the band will tour the U.S. after summer dates overseas. “You’re wondering about America, as are we,” says Hammond. “It seems like something is lining itself up, but it’s hard to tell right now what exactly we’re going to do. We all want to do it, so we’re gonna find a way.” The band currently has two late-summer shows already scheduled, playing Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary concerts at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI September 3rd and 4th.
Fans last had the chance to see the band play a rare headlining concert at their triumphant Madison Square Garden homecoming in April. “MSG was amazing,” says Fraiture. “It was pretty crazy to think that we started playing our first shows at the Spiral in New York City. Just to be onstage, it was a pretty amazing feeling to remember that to know where we were.”
Between dates, band members have been working separately on material for a new Strokes album. New material has been a source of frustration for the band in the past – Hammond, Fraiture, guitarist Nick Valensi and drummer Fabrizio Moretti recorded Angles separately from singer Julian Casablancas. (Last year, Casablancas told RS, “In the end, I can’t put forth my vision in the Strokes like I used to, so we’re going forward as a collaboration — maybe that’s better.”)
But the new system seems to be working. “It’s been feeling really good,” Fraiture says of the new sessions. “We’re kind of doing the same thing as the last record – we’re bringing in parts and ideas and kind of just working on those and trying to make sense of them, coming from five different people.”
No release date has been set, but Fraiture hopes it’s soon. “If we could do it tomorrow, that’d be great. But yeah, as soon as possible I think.”
Hammond adds cautiously, “Let’s get songs first and then think about recording.”
The band has had a blast playing the new songs live, but they’re aware their old material gets the larger crowd reception. “The new stuff live is probably just shakier, we haven’t played it as much,” says Hammond. “We’ll play these songs, they’re kind of there – and the crowd doesn’t know them that well either. We’re not as toned, you know? But time always gives songs such a boost. Even songs that are B-sides – if it’s been five years, it’s going to be more special to them. But I think these new songs that we’ve played actually are doing quite well, after saying all that.”