The Strokes gui­tarist Nick Valensi turns singer

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Los An­ge­les

In the 15 years since The Strokes be­came a break­out global sen­sa­tion, gui­tarist Nick Valensi has found com­fort in the shad­ows, tak­ing the lime­light only when he wants.

So he be­gan his lat­est vo­ca­tion — as a front­man for his side project CRX, which re­leases its de­but al­bum on Fri­day — with lit­tle idea of what to do.

“I didn’t re­ally want to be a singer. I like singing backup vo­cals. I like writ­ing melodies. But be­ing the front­man of a band seemed kind of a tall or­der,” Valensi says over cof­fee sit­ting at a sun­lit side­walk cafe in Los An­ge­les, the na­tive New Yorker’s adopted home.

“Be­ing the front­man for a rock band, a lot of it has to do with ta­lent, but a lot of it has to do also with your per­son­al­ity and how com­fort­able you are com­mand­ing at­ten­tion,” he says.

“I like at­ten­tion, but I like it when I’mready for it, and as a gui­tar player you’re al­ways af­forded that abil­ity to kind of step out and get a lot of at­ten­tion, but also step back and re­treat into the shad­ows a lit­tle bit.”

Still, Valensi is at ease with his own voice on the new al­bum, New Skin. He con­fi­dently, if not flam­boy­antly, car­ries songs largely con­sis­tent with The Strokes’ rougharound­punk re­vival sound, al­beit with a touch more key­board.

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