He Noels me well

Damon Albarn reveals close friendship with Noel Gallagher and says ex-rival is one of the only people who understands him

IT was once the fiercest rivalry in rock, with two of its most hedonistic stars clashing while dominating the charts.

But 20 years on, Damon Albarn reveals his friendship with Noel Gallagher has become fiercely important to him — as the Oasis star is one of the only people who understands what he went through as Blur’s frontman.

Despite recently turning 50 — and joking he had expected the milestone to be more enlightening — Damon still gets “nightmare” flashbacks to his hard-partying heyday.

He explained: “It’s a long time since I’ve indulged in that sort of thing. It was magnificent while it lasted, but it was a very long time ago. I went to see that Alexander McQueen film last night, and I spent all night having nightmares just because it kind of triggered all of those scenes of nightlife and people getting wasted. It triggered stuff that I wasn’t aware I was storing. It was cathartic in a weird way. I mean, it terrifies me to think what I might have turned into.” Read More

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Q November 2006

Interview with Damon Albarn

By Garry Mulholland

How are you?
Damon: I’m very busy. But much further on than I was last year in the eternal quest to be a rounded, genuine, nice person.

Where are you right now?
I’m in the auditorium of the Apollo in Harlem.

What does Q mean to you?
Q’s been there longer than most, and it’s a good format. But I don’t buy music magazines.

What were you doing 20 years ago?
I was 18 so I was probably worrying far too much about my hair. And playing a gig with [early band] Real Lives at Stanway comprehensive school in Colchester. Graham [Coxon, former Blur guitarist] was on drums.
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Super Fuzz Big Guff 

By Leo Finlay

Blur have been British music’s worst kept secret for months. They’ve attracted rave reviews from all quarters, been hailed as The Next Big Thing, and now they’re on the cover of Sounds. All without the benefit of a record or a full year’s experience! But anyone who thinks this is the result of record company (in this case Food) hype, has obviously yet to see the band play live.

They are, of course, breathtaking. Comparisons thus far have been drawn with everyone from The Stone Roses to The Undertones and My Bloody Valentine. Needless to say they sound bugger all like any of the aforementioned, but share a skill for writing classic pop tunes and turning them into dynamite live.

I first saw Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave almost a year ago when they were operating under the name of Seymour. Then it was singer Damon hunched over a mini-keyboard, plinking out an insane piece of Satie-esque doggerel, while the others built and demolished a wall of noise, that caught the ear.

Their set was astonishingly tight and imaginative for a debut gig, and even headline act New FADS – probably the only UK act who can touch them live – found it hard to follow. But just as they were starting to get a name for themselves, Seymour vanished and the guys were back as Blur. Read More

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Pogo is over!

The Britpop hero Damon Albarn is currently touring with his virtual band Gorillaz
through Europe. In the interview, he swears: If his compatriots really pull through Brexit, he leaves England forever.

On the edge of London’s Notting Hill district, where subway tracks and expressways intersect in front of a gigantic shopping center, there is a gray house tucked away in a small side street. Cars used to be painted here, now musician Damon Albarn has his studio here. And his camp. The windowless ground floor is filled with books, dusty instruments, and old maps of Africa hanging from the walls. Over a sink is a tea set with the logo of Blur, Albarn’s band, which together with Oasis made the so-called Britpop world famous.However, because Albarn quickly got bored with his band, he has been writing Chinese operas, musicals and soundtracks for years – and founded Gorillaz, which are now as successful as Blur and represented on comic avatars on giant screens. In his studio on the top floor of the building, Albarn in sports shoes, jeans and sweaters, sits down for a chat before his European tour.

DIE ZEIT: Mr. Albarn, your virtual comic band Gorillaz has been awarded a Brit Award for Best British Band. Is this a bankruptcy statement for all real competitors?

Damon Albarn: You can see it that way. It says a lot about the condition of British music, of course, when comic characters stick out over real musicians. It would have been unimaginable in the past. But these days we have a little dry spell in England as far as new bands are concerned. The last relevant band were the Arctic Monkeys. Read More

“I don’t agree with the chorus of pessimism”

That went quickly. Together with producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys), Damon Albarn has recorded the Gorillaz album “The Now Now”. We meet the mischievous and boyish-looking Albarn in his attic office in West London. In the small kitchen, he first throws celery, Randen, carrot, apple and ginger in a device that produces a brew with a roar. Damon Albarn (takes a strong sip): Delicious. Just the right thing. This morning I need all the vitamin I can get.

Why?

Because of last night! Usually, my life is pretty calm. In the morning I get up early, I do yoga, work, eat, watch TV with the family, and go to bed at 10pm. At least most days. Yesterday it was different, I was traveling with friends and got drunk with sake and vodka. It happens sometimes.

Even if you do not look like this: you are 50 years old since March. How do you cope?

Getting older is a good thing. I think life becomes more interesting with age. It’s great to be a bit more mature. I hope that with age I will not become me a clown. Look here, it doesn’t have to be that way. (pointing to a Japanese magazine lying on the table with Bob Dylan on the cover). It was the surgeon’s turn! Read More

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Damon Albarn on Gorillaz’s stripped-down new album, The Now Now

What should fans expect from a new Gorillaz album in 2018? Some might be surprised to see one at all — at least coming so soon on the heels of the virtual supergroup’s Humanz, which bowed only last spring.

One easy explanation: Unlike so many of their previous releases, the band’s latest, The Now Now (due June 29), is a comparatively intimate affair, minus the usual wide-ranging guest roster — Humanz alone featured Noel Gallagher, De La Soul, Vince Staples, Popcaan, and Grace Jones, among others — and attendant Mt. Everest of studio coordination such a major undertaking involves. Read More

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Translation by yggdrasilbohdi

GORILLAZ GETS OUT OF ITS CAGE.

The English band is back with a charming album. An opportunity for Damon Albarn to shoot Kanye West down in flames. A meeting.

“In Gorillaz, Damon makes the music, I do the drawings”, says Jamie Hewlett, co-founder of Gorillaz, a band that has four fictional members (Murdoc, 2D, Russel and Noodle). “I have to wait for him to send me his songs to draw the characters, so I’m always a step behind Damon.” As Prince Philip still walks behind Queen Elizabeth? “Well, I’m like the Duke of Edinburgh and Damon is such a big queen … I hope he didn’t hear me.” Read More