Albert Hammond Jr. Shares the Inspiration Behind His New Album ‘Francis Trouble’
The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has released his fifth solo record “Francis Trouble,” which offers a welcome new sampling of his signature instrumental stylings and song craft, but also finds him adventuring into uncharted sonic territory, in what appears his most thoroughly realized artistic statement yet.
The album is inspired by the personal story of Hammond’s lost twin brother Francis, who was miscarried while Albert grew in his mother’s womb. It was only at age 36 that Hammond learned that he had emerged from the womb along with a single fingernail from the brother that could have been. Hammond has credited the idea of a phantom twin as a musical muse and an inspiration for the new record. The haunting mystery of how one’s missing brother might have manifested in this world has compelled Hammond to recognize latent proclivities and explore new musical directions.
Hammond gave Entertainment Voice a peak into his new record, discussing the role Francis played in his creative process, shedding light on his new musical direction, and sharing the concepts behind the album’s singles.
Your new album, “Francis Trouble” is inspired by your lost twin brother Francis. You’ve said that you’ve felt his presence when certain music has come to you, and that he has, in this way, been a muse. Tell us more.
It [has] helped with pushing me more into the unknown and more into letting go of my old self. Redefining who I am and who I can be.
What is the biggest way you feel the loss of your twin brother has shaped you and your artistry?
It’s added an arc to my story. I feel like the child who fell in love with music [and] ready to explore it all over again, but with my skills.
Could your phantom twin playing along with you explain why dual guitars always blend so well in your music?
Never thought of that, but that’s awesome. I’ve never felt lonely when I’m alone and in fact like being alone. I enjoy eating dinner by myself and having conversation [with myself]. Testing my thoughts.
Will you take our readers deeper inside how much this album means to you and what you would like your fans to receive from it?
I hope people gather and have fun listening to it. This album means everything to me. It’s everything I ever wanted to be. I hope to see new and old fans in bigger and bigger venues so we can share in this experience.
The new record has your signature style and sounds unmistakably by you, but it also shows you exploring a considerably wider range. How would you describe the direction that your sound has taken?
I don’t know how to put that into words… I think it is a more visual, visceral, auditorial experience.
Which songs on “Francis Trouble” have the most interesting story behind them and what are their backstories?
“Rocky’s Late Night” and “DvsL” describe the struggle with not being able to let go of things. A lust for infidelity, accepting truths, understanding [that] the inner 2D photo isn’t real.
What are the inspirations (or mantras) behind each of the album’s three singles?
Muted Beatings: Silence can also kick your ass
Far Away Truths: Everything is in cycles
Set to Attack: A triumphant song about youth’s lust for life
And, finally, tell us the concept of the album’s cover art.
Everything is within
“Francis Trouble” is available on Feb. 9 on Apple Music.