When The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. compares his first two solo albums to his new release “Momentary Masters” (which came out July 31), he says he can’t even recognize the person who made the first two. “Luckily I still like the songs though,” he jokes.
Hammond has undergone some major changes the past few years. For one, he’s sober now. He also got married and bought a house upstate. “I thought it would be more shocking, but it’s not,” he says of leaving the city. “I thought I might miss it more, but I don’t. I make food, I exercise, I practice and do some work. Then I just have time to myself, working on the land or the house. It’s nice.”
It’s not the length of life, but the depth
“Momentary Masters” is dedicated to a woman named Sarah Jones, who passed away two weeks after Hammond became friends with her. “She wrote a Richard Pryor joke on Instagram and no one knew it was [about] Richard Pryor,” he says. “I wrote a comment back. She’s a friend of friends, so we just ran into each other and had an eight-hour conversation outside the park.”
Hammond says they talked every day for the next two weeks and when he finished the album, he really wished he could play it for her. “Dedicating the album to her was my way of playing it for her,” he says.
Pushing harder than ever before
While “Momentary Masters” does explore big themes such as morality and purpose, the lyrics are more metaphorical than literal. “’Born Slippery’ is about looking at the clouds and picking up on the warmth that can be found, and also the idea that ‘this too shall pass’ and even if you’re in a certain spot doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever,” Hammond says, explaining the first track on the album. While he says all the recent changes in his life did influence the album, the themes are ideas he thinks anyone can relate to.
He says making the album was both exhausting and therapeutic. “Sure, it can be draining sometimes, but it can also be tremendously invigorating when you’re going just 100 miles per hour with ideas,” he says. Hammond says he really pushed himself on this album, forcing himself to try things that made him uncomfortable.
“Everything from playing harder to singing a little out of range, and also keeping the energy [throughout] the record,” he says. “When you push yourself like that, at the end you can say, ‘Come check this thing out. I think it’s awesome and it deserves attention.’”
If you go:
September 20, 8 p.m.
52 Church St., Cambridge
New York City
Sep. 21 & 22, 9 p.m.
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