March 23, 2018 / 10:36 PM

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Julian Casablancas Thinks Pop Stars Are Successful Because Of ‘Cultural Brainwashing’


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Julian Casablancas performing onstage at the 2017 Lollapalooza. The frontman of The Voidz criticized the current state of pop music, bemoaning the fact that Ariel Pink is not as popular as Ed Sheeran or One Direction.  ( Raphael Dias | Getty Images )

Julian Casablancas, frontman of rock groups The Strokes and the Voidz, is not happy with the current state of popular music.

The 39-year-old singer-songwriter spoke to Vulture about the politically-charged new album of the Voidz called Virtue, a follow-up to 2014's Tyranny. During the interview, Casablancas talked about the negative effect of the internet on the music industry and bemoaned that artists like Ariel Pink are not as popular as Ed Sheeran.

Julian Casablancas Versus Pop

"I really believed that the internet's capacity to let people access the best of the best of music — from underground stuff to music from all over the world — would've been a positive influence, that music would've evolved like never before," he told the publication.

"Instead music has been co-opted by some kind of capitalist profit game. I thought the internet would help balance the relationship between quality and the mainstream, but it's gone the opposite way. Quality is being sucked out of music."

He added that One Direction will have billions of views, but a better artist would not even get a fraction of the attention. He specifically said "Dayzed Inn Daydreams" singer Ariel Pink should be more popular.

"I strive to build a world where the Velvet Underground would be more popular than the Rolling Stones," he added. "Or where Ariel Pink is as popular as Ed Sheeran."

He later clarified that he is in no way dissing Sheeran who was recently hailed as the best-selling artist of 2017. Casablancas, however, thinks that it is unfair that the British pop singer-songwriter gets 99.5 percent of the attention while artists who try to be more experimental and creative get pushed into the sidelines.

"There are formulas to make the most amount of money out of music and those formulas don't incorporate the variable for quality," he explained.

To an extent, Sheeran might agree. The "Perfect" singer announced in a previous interview that he will be moving away from pop for his next album. The follow-up to the runaway success that was Divide will sound a little different and a little more personal even if it meant not selling as many copies.

The Voidz 'Virtue'

The Voidz announced their second album, Virtue, back in December. So far, the band has released three singles from the album: "Leave It In My Dreams," "QYURRYUS," and, more recently, "Pointlessness."

Virtue is scheduled to come out on March 30 but preorder is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Newbury Comics.

In addition, the band will be releasing a special 7-inch Vinyl of the track "QYURRUYS" and a new unreleased song "Coul As A Ghoul" on Record Store Day, April 21.


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