Damon Albarn talks Gorillaz, the future of the music biz (and Blur)
Gorillaz broke the pop mould as early adopters of featured artists. Now they’re doing it again with their star-studded Song Machine ‘season’ of monthly track ‘episodes’. Music Week catches up with Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett, Eleven Mgmt & Parlophone Records and finds them on a mission to change the way the music biz works…
Damon Albarn left the studio with a spring in his step. He’d been down in Devon during lockdown – spending time at the “valley” he bought for a snip in the 90’s when the first cheque came through – “beavering away” in a converted barn on the new Gorillaz project.
“I don’t really work at night in the studio”, he says. “But one night, we’d been drinking. I came out of the studio and I slipped and banged my head on one of the stone walls. It could have been the end…” He pauses. “Thankfully, it wasn’t”
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You started Gorillaz as a virtual band in 1998. Since then, you’ve released six studio albums with an ever-changing and -evolving roster of diverse musical artists who perform alongside those infamous animated renegades 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs. You’re launching a new project this year, Song Machine. How do you feel about the state of the music business these days?
The mold has been old for about 10 years. The British are famous for being innovative and original and coming up with new stuff, but there seems to be a bit of a drought lately. We are kind of rehashing everything that has been done again and again, aren’t we?