Albert Hammond Jr On His New Record And New Outlook Without The Strokes
Albert Hammond Jr’s Momentary Masters feels like his first record. It’s not, of course. After playing lead guitar and keyboard for many years as part of The Strokes, Hammond debuted his first solo album in 2006 called Yours To Keep. This album maintained an aura of lost opportunities, a feeling of deep and abiding sadness. Now having heard Momentary Masters, it’s apparent that Hammond was holding something back in his first record. “It was a living room record, something I needed to just get me out of the apartment. It was something that I was using as a distraction at the time.” Momentary Masters is much more than that. Listening to the rich vocals and blazing riffs feels like meeting a new friend, or better yet—running into someone who you thought you knew and realizing how much more to them there is. Speaking to Hammond about the new record, it’s clear this all feels pretty new to him as well.
Amanda Lang: Yours To Keep was your debut solo record, Momentary Masters feels like listening to something completely new. What do you think contributes to your change in sound?
Albert Hammond Jr: This record is definitely more focused. This time around I have a band backing me up, made up of a bunch of guys who work well together and have a lot to contribute. With this record definitely represents growth on my part.
AL: The music is so much more light hearted!
AHJ: I am definitely in a better place. After I stopped using drugs it felt like I had my brain back. My heart feels lighter. Before, I was definitely very lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was at a cross roads when the last EP opened up and with this record, I just knew that I had something to say. Something to share.
AL: You’ve been touring lately, what is it like for you to play such a new sound live in front of a bunch of your old fans?
AHJ: There is a vulnerability in playing something live no matter what. I just go in there wanting to play an amazing rock and roll set. Hopefully I can be entertaining and hopefully the audience is moved by what they hear. I just try to feed off the energy at the show. It feels good to be connected in that way.
AL: Rock and Roll shows are a bit of a dying breed these days…
AHJ: It has become a lot about spectacle vs performance, but I definitely feel that rock and roll still has that same danger to it no matter what. When you play a show that has a certain vibe to it, your heart feels lighter.
AL: What can you say to the other aspiring rock stars out there?
AHJ: Creating is freeing. Be open minded, know your limitations and be ok with learning. Everything gets better. It’s ok to take a chance.