As the lead signer for bands like The Strokes and The Voidz, and having worked with some of music’s biggest names, such as Daft Punk, one would assume that Julian Casablancas knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the state of music. Now, the famed rocker has gotten people talking after an interview in which he cites “cultural brainwashing” as the reason that Ed Sheeran is popular.
In a recent interview with Vulture, Julian Casablancas bemoaned the state of current music while explaining that the Internet has had a rather negative effect on which artists manage to see popularity. When asked by the interviewer to explain, Casablancas responded by saying that “cultural brainwashing” is to blame.
“If you grew up in a world where Ariel Pink was popular then you would say ‘I don’t see how Ed Sheeran can be popular’,” he explained. “People grow up with norms knocked into their heads. And I’m not trying to diss Ed Sheeran or any pop star. Ed Sheeran seems like a nice, cool guy and I have nothing against his music. Let him sell a billion records. I’m just saying I don’t understand why there can’t be a world where Ed Sheeran gets 60 percent of the attention and Ariel Pink gets 40 percent.”
“Now it’s almost like Ed Sheeran gets 99.5 percent of it. The creative bands have been pushed so far into the margins. But my bigger point is that whether it’s music or politics, right now we’re mired in whoever’s propaganda is loudest.”
“I have nothing against Ed Sheeran, and maybe he’ll still be putting out records 30 years from now, but I just think that with the internet and how accessible things could be, we shouldn’t have to wait years and years for time to sort things,” he continued.
“But that’s not how it’s turning out. You see all these people wearing Black Flag T-shirts now and that band probably was playing to 12 people back in the day. With my record label I’m trying to find the Black Flags of today and get them heard. But you never know what’s going to take.”
Casablancas also continued to push his love of lo-fi alt-pop artist Ariel Pink, comparing him to David Bowie and noting that “in another era he would’ve been much more popular.”
“This is my point: People think that public opinion in their own time is the truth. Everyone knows David Bowie now, but I bet he was pretty underground in the ’70s,” he explained. “I think Ariel Pink will be one of the best-remembered artists of this generation and now nobody in the mainstream knows him. I don’t know — I keep wanting to jump between politics and music. People are so unaware and everything is confusing and information is coming out of every orifice.”
Julian Casablancas’ band The Voidz are currently set to release their new album, Virtue, in just a couple of weeks. There’s no word at this stage whether Ariel Pink has scored himself a guest slot, or if Ed Sheeran will be covering any of its songs at his upcoming gigs, but only time will tell.