For 15 years, Nick Valensi has played guitar in the Strokes. And for most of those 15 years he's been content in that role, expressing little desire to step outside the group.

For 15 years, Nick Valensi has played guitar in the Strokes. And for most of those 15 years he's been content in that role, expressing little desire to step outside the group.

Recently, however, Valensi became the latest (and last) Stroke to emerge with his own band, CRX, a Los Angeles-based quintet that offers a slicker, sunnier counterpoint to the Strokes' overcast, NYC retro-rock.

According to Valensi, who joins CRX in opening for Beck at Express Live outdoors on Tuesday, Sept. 20, he simply lacked the desire to pursue another creative outlet until he found himself with additional free time after the Strokes released Comedown Machine in 2013, which coincided with his boy/girl twins reaching an age where they were less reliant on his presence (the two are now 10 years old).

Never one to rush - "I take my time with decisions," Valensi said of his admittedly measured approach to life - the musician spent the better part of a year experimenting with his vocals, singing into a laptop and gradually zeroing in on a style that felt comfortable.

"I tried different voices out and changed the keys to songs so I could try singing in higher and lower keys," Valensi said. "At first I kind of hated the sound of [my voice], and that was a giant hurdle to overcome."

Lyric writing proved a challenge, too. Though Valensi contributed the odd line to Strokes songs, he had never been tasked with conceiving an entire track, and for a time he wrestled with the idea he didn't have anything to say. Eventually, however, larger themes started to emerge on the band's Josh Homme-produced debut, New Skin, due out late October on Columbia Records. "I got ways to fake it," Valensi sings on the album opener. Later, on "Walls," he offers, "I don't know what to make of it when everyone is faking it."

"It's just frustration at how phony things seem to be getting in the world we live in today, what with Instagram stars and reality shows and yada yada yada," Valensi said. "It's feeling repulsed by all that, and on the flipside also taking a look in the mirror and feeling a frustration that you're also part of it, which we all kind of are."

Despite an awareness CRX would draw ears based on his Strokes connection, Valensi said he never felt any pressure during the writing and recording process because he always maintained an exit plan.

"I'm in a really fortunate position where I can fuck around and be creative and have fun, and at the end of the day if it's not something I feel I'm proud of or not something I enjoy, I don't have to release it," he said. "But the truth is … I'm actually enjoying the whole thing more than I thought I would."