Although some residents of L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood may be slightly bitter about Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti naming his new band, Little Joy, after a popular local watering hole, EW.com got an early listen to the band’s album-in-progress, and rest assured, only joyful thoughts will come to those who reserve judgment and wait. We sat down with Moretti as he entered the mixing phase to talk about his new venture — and what it means for the Strokes.
EW: Little Joy is made up of you, your girlfriend, Binky, producer Noah Georgeson, and Los Hermanos guitarist Rodrigo Amarante. How did you guys hook up?
FABRIZIO MORETTI: My whole family lives in Brazil, and my brother kept sending me Rodrigo’s music. One night, his band and mine were playing the same festival in Portugal and he came by to say hello. After the show, we stayed up the whole night by the side of the river in Lisbon, just chatting it up. Then Rodrigo came to work [in L.A.] with Devendra Banhart, and we started hooking up and making music. We met Binky around the same time, and we just started writing songs together. I had this bushel of songs I’d been saving for a long time, but they were just seeds. We developed them together and made them realistic ideas.
And you named this band after a bar?
[Laughs] Yeah, I used to live right up the street. It’s the bar where we’d go to unwind. Binky was actually the one who said we should call the band Little Joy. I was like, "I don’t know," but then I came around to it.
Do you consider this a side project?
I don’t know. I have all my heart and love in it right now — this is my band. We’re hoping we’ll get the album out by November or some time in late fall.
What about the Strokes?
The plan is for us to start getting our ideas together in February. I can’t wait to see those guys and work on music with them, but right now all of my focus is on this. With me and [guitarist] Nick [Valensi] living in L.A., and everyone else in New York City, I feel a bit detached from the rest of the guys, but we keep in touch. It’s weird, for ten years — since 1998 — we were together all the time.
There was a rumor a while back that the Strokes might work with producer Rick Rubin on the next record.
I’d love to work with Rick Rubin. He made some pretty seminal records. But it’s like, before we have an idea, before there’s a sketch done, we’re not going to choose the color.