Solo Hammond is recovering from The Strokes

AS GUITARIST with The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr has headlined huge gigs and been considered one of rock's trendiest men.

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Albert Hammond Jr  has revealed a variety of musical faces in his solo work
Albert Hammond Jr has revealed a variety of musical faces in his solo work

It's only recently that he's started to believe in his own music, however.

The sharp-dressed Stroke is at Broadcast for a late night show this Saturday, promoting his new solo EP, AHJ.

It's the follow-up to two solo albums he's released over the past few years, and he now feels more relaxed making music.

"As you get older, you feel more comfortable with life, and that makes you feel more comfortable with everything," he says.

"I've been doing this professionally for 12 years now, and all the self-doubt eases, because you understand you're good at something, and turn that positive energy into your work - you believe you can do it."

If his debut solo record offered up poppy tunes with catchy choruses, then its sequel, ¿Cómo Te Llama?, switched track and went for more complex arrangements and layers of sound.

AHJ offers more of a middle ground, and has been released through his bandmate Julian Casablancas' own record label, Cult.

It could have been very different, however.

"When Julian set up Cult we were doing Strokes stuff, this year's Comedown Machine album, and I said to him I'd do stuff for the label," he recalls.

"I'd just discovered Twin Shadow and we were talking about doing a single together, but that didn't happen.

"I was in love with a couple of Frank Sinatra songs and was thinking about rearranging them, and getting Karen O, from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Andrew from MGMT to come up and record them.

"Hopefully we'll do something like that one day, so as soon as Cult started I was thinking of cool things that I could do for it."

The EP, however, might not pave the way to a full album. Albert, the son of the song writing great of the same name, isn't sure of the need for albums any more.

"I don't know if I like the idea of LPs anymore, I don't know if they're necessary," he explains.

"Rock n' roll started out with singles, and then it became all about the long format, but the way music is now it seems outdated… I grew up with the idea of buying albums, and the internet wasn't something that you really considered.

"It was there when The Strokes started but it hadn't taken over, so it's a case where you have to go with the change or fight it.

" I'd rather spend my energies trying to find ways of reaching people."

Recent years have seen Albert start to pen songs for The Strokes too, after their early lyrics were written nearly entirely by singer Julian Casablancas.

"Whatever you bring to a band will change, so it can be like a process of elimination, where you're trying to build something," he says.

"The sound will end up being different in the end because you have the four other guys to filter it through. I like both styles of working though."

During his time with the band, Albert and the too cool for school New Yorkers played to large crowds including headlining T In The Park in 2006. He doesn't mind his solo career taking in smaller venues, however, and is keen to return to Glasgow on Saturday night.

"I've good memories of my own shows there, and T In The Park was fun to play too," he says.

"I don't know if you have this with cities in the UK but over here in America you'll play LA or New York and get told 'that was a great show, but sorry for the LA crowd or the New York crowd', meaning that people were having a great time but not expressing it.

"Over in Glasgow there's not that, it's just people having fun, and you can feel it, which makes you want to play a better show, and that excites the crowd even more, so it's back and forth.

"It's easier to feel a crowd emotionally at a smaller gig like the Barrowland and I remember that place being intense."

If memories of Glasgow prompt Albert to chat away enthusiastically, then one subject prompts him to clam up quickly - whether The Strokes will ever actually hit the road again, after their last two albums were accompanied by scant touring.

"I've no idea about live shows," he says, with the energy of a man being sent to the gallows.

"You know as much as I do…I don't have any more answers on that, there's not much information on what we can do that I can say."

l Albert Hammond Jr, Broadcast, Saturday, £12.50, 11pm

Arts and Entertainment

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