‘I Don’t Understand That Potato Reference’: A Bizarre Conversation With Damon Albarn About Gorillaz and America

Damon Albarn is a little late and very sweaty. He emerges suddenly from somewhere among the circle of trailers, out from behind the ping pong table. His face drips and his hair is mussed. He plops down at the wooden picnic bench with the weight of the road, thousands of fans catered to near-nightly and 21 Gorillaz shows this year successfully behind him.

He immediately lights a joint. He’s earned it.

“Is that courtesy of the festival?” I ask.


“Oh, I just figured, because I know III Points Festival usually gives joints out to the artists as gifts– ”

“I don’t smoke anything if I haven’t watched it been rolled, ya know what I mean?” he quips, flashing a gold-toothed grin that says “I’ve learned my lessons the hard way.” Read More


Damon Albarn on Why Gorillaz Edited Out Every Reference to Trump on the New Album ‘Humanz’

For all the official guest stars that Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn corralled for the group’s fifth album, Humanz — Pusha T, Vince Staples, Kelela and Danny Brown among them — the most riveting cameo is unlisted: Noel Gallagher, former co-lead of Oasis, bitter ’90s rival of Albarn’s other band, Blur. Twenty years ago, Albarn and Gallagher were trading potshots as Britpop kings; in 1995, Gallagher famously wished Albarn would “catch AIDS and die.” But in 2017, both are pushing 50 and uniting on “We Got the Power,” on which Gallagher sings backing vocals. “We’ve got the power to be loving each other,” they declare, “no matter what happens.”

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Blur’s Guide to Hong Kong

By Kristen Yoonsoo Kim

Reuniting a band can be “problematic,” but frying bees and picking out a frog to eat? No problem.

Blur’s latest record, The Magic Whip, would have never came to existence had it not been for one big bump in the road a couple of years ago. A series of will-they-or-won’t-they moments during their 12-year hiatus had many fans believing Blur was at its end, while holding out hope that it actually wasn’t. But a fateful mishap (the cancellation of Tokyo Rocks festival in 2013) had Blur stranded in Hong Kong in the midst of their Asian tour, and it was during these five days that they got in the studio to jam out some new tracks — tracks that would eventually end up on their eighth full-length. The Magic Whip is an interesting return for these English lads. Previously unmistakably British in topic and songwriting style, they’re now channeling Asian influences in sound and aesthetic.

With Hong Kong being a key player in the making of The Magic Whip, Blur’s Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon sat down with Billboard to tell us about weird food recommendations, Eastern influences, discovering China’s history, and more. Read More

Q&A: Gorillaz duo take operatic turn with “Monkey”

By Cortney Harding

NEW YORK (Billboard) – It takes a fair amount of bravery to write an opera based on a 16th century Chinese novel, especially when you’ve never studied opera, have spent very little time in China and don’t speak a word of Mandarin.
But artist Jamie Hewlett and musician Damon Albarn gave it a go anyway — after all, creating a cartoon band sounded preposterous to them in 1999, yet that group, Gorillaz, went on to sell 4.3 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Read More