‘It’s a record 100% honest.’
Interview translated by Kevin. Find the original article in french here.
“Everyday Robots ” is the first album of the English singer under his name. Poetic and very personal.
After twenty years of one of the most prolific careers of pop after the Blur project, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & the Queen, Damon Albarn reveals itself more than ever.
This first solo album is it the start of something?
That is possible. But it may be that this is a dead end, too! I give my full attention to each of my projects. I devote the time it deserves. When it runs out of steam, I try a new approach. The idea is to continue this creative spirit, to sustain life. And that has not changed since my debut, I’ve always wanted to have new and interesting things to do. At the moment, I am about my own attention. But this is not necessarily a permanent condition.
You feel you reveal more?
It is a 100% honest record. I tried to make this history as poetic as possible but everything I said happened to me at a specific time. And talking about it is easier for me than ever. I would not put things on this record which would have been uncomfortable for me to discuss.
At first listen, “Everyday Robots ” is very melancholic, almost painful …
My father had the same reaction. But my mother liked it immediately. And my father likes it now, while he had not spoken about it for two months. I say things that surprised him. I tried to discuss issues that men do not necessarily say. Women are comfortable with honesty. As men, we have more difficulty with that.
Did you need special conditions to achieve this?
I needed a trusted collaborator. It was Richard Russell, who is able to see things from the inside or to take a step back. He is a master of artistic direction. I was lucky that he wants to work with me. Some words were difficult to sing for me. I feared the consequences of my sincerity, but Richard insisted on keeping them. English tabloids are cruel as far as friendly, you know. They mix personal and professional dimensions everytime. I am experienced, but I have a 14 year old girl that I want to protect.
You multiply collaborations for many years. Do you feel an obligation about your collaborators?
I feel a responsibility. But it is not easy to devote the time they deserve to everyone. This is a chance to have worked with so many wonderful people, I cannot let them go like that. We need to find the right distance between loyalty and ability to explore new territories.
What you think you are bringing to the other musicians?
I think I am reliable, honest, enthusiastic, funny, and a little silly too. It is not for me to say but when you make music with me in a room, it must happen something special . Since I hung out with musicians in Mali, Nigeria and Congo, I am comfortable on the front of the stage as well as the background.
Africa changed you?
Completely. It took me a long time but I realized that what separates a single performer of a musician is the belief that music flows through you. It passes through you without you wanted.
Brian Eno is featured in the album. Why?
I had a great time with him in Mali last October. We made a record called Maison des Jeunes about a youth center in Bamako. It was recorded in a week in an emergency. We hope to earn enough money to open a new place for the musicians of the city to express themselves.
How do you manage to juggle everything?
I work five days a week. I start at 9:30 am and I stop at 17:30 pm when I’m home. Sometimes I spend days finding nothing. I am a miner. When I’m not working, I’m completely elsewhere.