Julian Casablancas: “I strive to build a world where Ariel Pink is as popular as Ed Sheeran”


Julian Casablancas, the frontman of both The Voidz and The Strokes, has been talking about popular culture and the influence of lesser known artists.

Speaking in a brand new and wide ranging interview with a New York magazine, Casablancas named dropped Ariel Pink as a musician that should be dominating the current era. Referencing David Bowie’s rise to fame, he said: “Today someone like Ariel Pink is relatively unknown. In another era he would’ve been much more popular,” before elaborating: “David Bowie. 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. I think Ariel Pink will be one of the best-remembered artists of this generation and now nobody in the mainstream knows him,” he added.

“My mission is the same as it’s been from day one, which is to try to make something that has artistic value and bring it to the mainstream. Nothing about that has changed. I strive to build a world where the Velvet Underground would be more popular than the Rolling Stones. Or where Ariel Pink is as popular as Ed Sheeran.”

Casablancas was then asked if he had considered the idea that Ariel Pink was actually avoiding the fame while Ed Sheeran could be striving for it, to which he answered defiantly: “Everything you’re saying sounds 100% like cultural brainwashing.”

“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.” 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’m sorry — I’m not good at explaining things.”