• BLAG

Julian Casablancas Teaser

The original cover story was first published in BLAG Vol. 3 Nø¸ 2 print edition in 2011.




Interview, Art Direction and Styling by Sally A. Edwards
Photography by Sarah J. Edwards

England Lunchtime.


As Sarah and I exit the train station the cold hits us. It’s freezing, the sky is bright blue, the air is so clear yet thick – with the temperature drop – you could cut it with a knife, rip it apart and step into the next phase. We walk over bridges, down streets, alleyways, along cobble stoned lanes, past vast redbrick warehouse buildings. The sound of my suitcase wheels make their own beat and my footsteps keep up the pace. The city is buzzing, sections of others’ conversations add verses to the sounds, the hum of car engines provide a continual bassline.


My un-gloved hand is stone cold holding a phone acting as a modern day compass pointing Sarah and I in the direction of our destination. On the horizon an angular utopian-looking modern building grows and rises above the history that surrounds it, just as it probably did on the architect’s drawings. We’ve arrived. I call our contact, no answer, walk to the front door, it’s locked. We split up, going different ways around the building, meeting at a side door.


A security guard in black trousers, polished boots and a white shirt walks across from an adjacent building clearly acclimatized to the temperature. “It’s unlocked!” he yells in his strong native accent as he strides in our direction, gesturing we open the door and head in. He obviously knows what we’re here for, catches us up and walks in towards the lift, “Go on, third floor.” He leaves us to jump in. The doors squeal shut and we look at each other with questioned marked expressions. We’re heading into the brand new pre-fitted Armani flagship store in Spinningfields. Now, probably unrecognisable to what lies ahead.


The doors open to an expansive vast empty space, steel floors, full frame windows, no furniture and lights that sense you’re arriving and switch on by themselves. Half of this building hangs in the air in

a triangular shape above street level. The people in the office opposite are oblivious to us. Those on the street don’t know we exist. It’s a cold, but flashy new world. Something from a Japanese horror film, or “Like being on the set of a movie about grifters. Yes, exactly like that,” as our cover star later states.


This will now be our home for the next six hours. Sarah and I unpack and take care of our individual things; set up lighting, clothes, laptops and camera equipment. We prep and are ready for our requested time of 2pm. For the next hour and a half we patiently and impatiently wait. As the clock moves forward, the light goes down.


Eventually, the lift doors open and two men can be seen entering the room in the reflection of the window, they disappear off in the other direction. “This way!” I call, but no response. Sarah jumps up and walks over to find Julian Casablancas accompanied by his manager, both with beaming smiles. Julian wheels a suitcase full of clothes to mix with those we’ve brought. He asks that we do the interview first.

“We always used to do interviews first when BLAG was a fanzine,” Sarah says. “Then if it didn’t go very well, I wouldn’t take my camera out.”

Julian laughs, “So you’ll be like,” [clicks fingers and points to the spotlight we’ve set-up] ‘Move it out boys.’ Or words to that extent.

“Yeah!”

[‘Oh marvellous,’ I think.]


***


To describe Julian for those who haven’t met him: He’s warm when he greets you and possesses an infectious smile, is polite and not afraid to say sorry. He’s surprising, cheeky and serious. He laughs through his mouth and nose at the same time. Is more American than many I know and reminiscent of a classic 80’s film character when saying things like “phony weird” and the “fyoo-ch”– as in the future. He laughs at himself, but pays attention to his pinpointed plans.

Julian’s solo album, ‘Phrazes for the Young’ grasped the attention of the well-tuned ear. He’s taken it on a world tour for his army of existing, adoring and brand new fans. He knows he needs to work hard to be successful.

Sounds like he’d be radiating confidence doesn’t it? Well, little did I know I’d be adding such words as modest, shy and unassuming to my introduction.


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Original content available for subscribers includes - BLAG covers featuring: Beastie Boys, OutKast, N*E*R*D, Julian Casablancas, Slash, Noomi Rapace, Les Twins and Joey Bada$$. Features: The Raconteurs, Amy Winehouse, MGMT, Phoenix, Malin Akerman, Ron English, Phil Frost, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Helen McCrory and many more.

Guest contributors to BLAG: Questlove, Mike D, John Legend, Mark Ronson and more.