Damon Albarn | AMA on Reddit – April 2014

In 2010 you released Plastic Beach – which was fantastic too – but what happened to all the outtakes/tracks that weren’t on the album? Electric Shock, Sloped Tropics, Leviathan, the song with the Horrors on it, the Una Stubbs song. Were they just not good enough or do you think they’ll be released or made available in some way one day?

Electric Shock has been on a Fact Magazine mix tape but only as I left it in 2010 … the other ones i haven’t listened to since then and there was never a track with Una Stubbs. I would have to review them to find out if they’re any good still…

My question is about BONNAROO this year: Any special plans for the set? Do you plan to play material from your entire canon (Blur, Gorillaz, solo)? Hopefully lots of new stuff! A ton of your former collaborators will be there, so some on-stage guests would be awesome!

I enjoy playing in the south and i’ve never played in tennessee, i think

How did Clint Eastwood get its name? Did you ever consider giving Song 2 a different name?

We were recording in Jamaica and listening to a lot of dancehall music and we imagined a cool moniker to have would be Clint Eastwood, also i’m a great fan of the actor and of Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone ..

First off, I wanted to say thank you for actually going through with this. I made a request for you to do this a month ago in preparation for Everyday Robots. Didn’t think you’d actually have the time, so thank you. Answers to any one of these would be nice. 🙂

1.) What musical artists that you haven’t worked with yet would you like to work with in the future?

2.) How often do you write music and how do you remember all of your songs?

3.) What were some of your favorite parts about making Everyday Robots?

4.) Do you think your new Opera’s soundtrack is going to sound like anything Dr. Dee, or would you like it to sound a bit different?

Hi jordan how often do i write music? well, not every day but i definitely think about it every day .. remembering everything would be impossible for me so i have to prioritise what i’m doing at that moment

Are there any songs from your career you wish you’d done with a different project or under a different name? What do you think are some real forgotten gems (B-sides etc) over your career? Did you expect them to get more love? Have you ever been turned down for a collaboration by anyone?

Yes, i have been turned down twice actually – the first time by barry gibb who, while on his way to the studio, developed an mysterious ear infection, which meant i ended up singing on Stylo the other no-show was englebert humperdink

The song “Dying Isn’t Easy” is one of my faves, and seems to have been written at the same time as Black Book (same day, even?). What’s the story behind that track? Was it an angle you were taking for a solo record back in 2000, before that became Gorillaz? Any chance Dying will get another release?

 Funny you should mention that song, i was thinking of resurrecting it and it’s a particular favourite of Smoggy’s.

Do you dress yourself?

Er sometimes

Would you ever incorporate any members of Blur separately into one of your other projects like Gorillaz? What’s your favorite Graham Coxon song? How did you like using apps only to record The Fall album and would you ever consider releasing another album like that again.

When i first got my iPad i could not believe what i could do with it. it has been my constant companion ever since.. and now i’m looking forward to a system by which i can make video and 4-track recordings simultaneously…

Hey Damon, why did you choose the Palacio Salvo (Montevidean building) for the cover of the Heavy Seas of Love single? We love you in Uruguay.

I found my whole stay in Uruguay quite affecting – the view from my hotel was completely dominated by the Palacio Salvo. I spent a lot of time looking at it.

What was it like to produce/work on Bobby Womack’s album?

The opportunity to connect with one of my true heroes Bobby Womack thought me more about singing than anything else previous. To turn up everyday and witness that spiritual connection that he innately has was truly a blessing.

Damon, I always wondered what your side of this story was. Narduar didn’t seem to be provoking you. Dave said it might have been a low point for him involving drugs. I just have to admit it’s tough watching someone you respect artistically seemingly acting like a bully. Thanks for doing this AMA.

I have to say I wish there were more eccentric characters like Narduar left

In You + Me, the middle portion of the song consists of steel drums being played. Having heard the live version with different instrumentation, whose idea was it to stick in those steel drums? It was a surprising but definitely welcoming sound. Thanks again for doing this!

The steel drums are played by a Portobello local who plays throughout the entire year, even in winter.. his pans represent to me the true ghost of carnival

How do you feel after the victory of Chelsea against Liverpool ? How does it compare to be on stage ?

I was of course extremely proud of my team. But it was somewhat pyrrhic, because it’s probably going to help Man City. Although of course i still believe Chelsea can win. I watched that game on television, but i have on occasion felt similarly moved both on stage and in a stadium.

Hey Damon, i’m 18 so I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to witness any provocation or rivalry between bands so it’s been really cool to sort of discover both Blur and Oasis as I’ve grown up and to follow the journey of the 2 bands respectively. Nothing recently seems quite as good as what the 90s created and there’s never really any outwardly adversarial relationships between bands these days. Do you miss that aspect about the music industry today? The feistiness, if you wanna call it that.

Honestly, it is so different now. Back then, there was only two places – the NME and the Melody Maker where you could have that kind of intercourse with another band. Now, there is such a saturation it probably wouldn’t happen which might be a bit of a shame

Damon, thanks for doing this. Huge fan. Can’t wait to get the Everyday Robots. My questions are: 1)Will there be another The Good, The Bad & The Queen record? 2) Was is intimidating the first time you worked with Paul & Mick from The Clash? And also, please come back to Denver.

I first met paul simonon and mick jones with joe strummer in a pub on ladbroke grove and they were all incredibly nice to me. it was another ten years before i met paul again and he was equally nice to me the second time …

Dear Mr. Albarn! Do you have any plans to create something special in cooperation with Russian musicians? Thanks for answer!

That would be interesting.

I’ve noticed Mike Smith playing with your bands every time I’ve seen you. In GBQ, Gorillaz, Blur in 2003 and in 2012, I think he was even performing in the pit at the Monkey shows last year in NYC if I’m not mistaken. Now he is obviously part of The Heavy Seas ensemble. How did you come to start working with Mike and how has he been so adaptive to all of your different projects?

Mike is a fantastically versatile musician and he also shares my passion for table tennis.

I’ve always wondered what does that seven point star that you wear and have on your piano mean?

It was something i really became obsessed with when i was researching for Dr. Dee. It has a very hypnotic geometry and can be used to really interesting meditative effect.

Damon, I need to pop to the shops to buy food for dinner this evening. What would Damon Albarn recommend for a satisfying and nutritious Monday night supper?

I always like to start the week with a salad – and if you can use stuff that you haven’t eaten over the weekend, all the better

Hello Damon. First of all, congratulations on your first solo album. My question, I hope I don’t bother you: how is your current relationship with Jamie? Have you had a chance to see him since the end of the Plastic Beach tour on 2010?

I’ve seen quiet a bit of him recently and he gave me a fantastic pair of sunglasses for my birthday

Can you please talk about Father´s Daughter`s Son and Empty Club and why were they left out of Everyday Robots

Just didn’t think that we needed to have them – but i am glad that they are available now.

Dearest Mr. Albarn, “Everyday Robots” marks your first attempt (to me it’s a successful one) at stepping out to the world on your own, without a band or any other form that you can use as a disguise, was it a leap of faith for you? Or was it a natural decision?

I don’t consider myself a solo artist. it’s just the last record i made.

Here goes my questions: You play several instruments, Have a favorite one? Is there any instrument you’ve heard of and would like to know or play? Any musical genre you’ve heard and want to experiment with?

My favourite instrument is unquestionably the piano..

I want to ask you about The Great Escape – there’s some brilliant stuff lurking under the surface of that record, but for some reason it doesn’t quite come together perfectly as an album. If you could go back and have another crack at that album, is there anything you’d do differently?

I agree.. i think we made that record a little too hastily.. but i’m never really that happy with any of my records, i always think i can do better ..

Anyways, I was actually pleasantly surprised recently to find you grew up in Leytonstone. I have been living off Colworth Road for the past few years myself. My question is do you have any funny/surreal stories from around this area when you were growing up that you don’t mind divulging?

I went back there last week and ended up in the Red Lion pub singing a St George’s Day knees up which was both funny and surreal.

Did you hate pop music for a while after getting so popular? I feel like a lot of Britpop bands responded to its popularity with angst. Was there a sense of that backlash at the time?Does Graham smell good most of the time? He kind of looks like he stinks.

On the contrary – graham smells very good

Hi Damon. All the way back in 1995, when I was merely a few weeks old, my parents asked my grandma to babysit so that they could head down to Cleethorpes Pier, upon the beach which I grew up on, in order to see you perform with Blur. With that considered, you’ve technically had an impact on my life from the very start and have continued to do so ever since. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the privilege that my parents have had to see Blur perform live, so just letting you know that there’s still people out there in the UK – just like me – that would give an arm and a leg to have that opportunity if you were to play once again!

I’m sure we’re going to play again at some point…

To Damon, I go to school with your nephew, is it true he played drums with Paul McCartney?

Yes, it is true, lucky bastard!

Damon, I owe you a couple of quid, where should I send it? The reason why is that years ago I couldn’t decide whether to buy Roll With It or Country House so in the interests of fairness I went to Our Price and robbed the cassette single of both.

I wouldn’t worry about it … they were both shit.

 how did you form the heavy seas? were they friends who you recruited to be in a band with you?

I met Geoff because he stood in for Simon Tong in Gorillaz. Seye and Pauli I met doing Africa Exprez and Mike has been there since mesolithic times.

I have seen you live at Wolverhampton Civic a number of times with blue, you mentioned that this venue was significant to you but you never explained why?

Some of my dearest friends in the world come from Wolves.



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