Damon Albarn Is Living in the Now
By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Last fall, Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn was feeling bored on tour — so he did what he knows best and started sketching ideas for a new album on his iPad. “If you’re away from home for months on end, it just seems criminal not to try and turn that time into something tangible,” says the English singer-songwriter, 50, who’s released nearly an LP a year over the past quarter-century with Blur, Gorillaz and assorted side bands. The result is The Now Now, Gorillaz’s excellent new full-length LP. With its breezy melodies and comparatively lean cast of characters — Snoop Dogg, 75-year-old smooth-jazz guitarist George Benson and Chicago house veteran Jamie Principle are the only credited guests — The Now Now is a refreshing change of pace from Humanz, the overstuffed set Gorillaz released just last year. “It’s a record within a record, a dream within a dream,” Albarn says. “Sort of like Inception.”
The rest of 2018 is shaping up to be a characteristically busy time for Albarn. In October, he’s bringing his cartoon band to the U.S. for a string of arena dates, leading up to his first-ever Demon Dayz L.A. festival on October 20th. “Gorillaz fans feel like a a big family over there,” he says of the States. “I always get this amazingly warm reception from the fans. So I imagine it will be a family reunion sort of thing.” He’s also preparing to release a new album from The Good, the Bad & the Queen, his collaboration with Afrobeat great Tony Allen, Clash bassist Paul Simonon and Verve keyboardist Simon Tong (their first release since their underrated 2007 debut). “That’s finished, ready to go,” he says. “It’s very much an of-the-moment record — a weird, distorted mirror on the U.K. now.”
Albarn called RS from a Gorillaz tour stop in Amsterdam to talk about cartoon fame, turning 50 and why he still gets stoned.
Gorillaz Leader Damon Albarn On His Decades Of Festival Experiences And His Own Event, Demon Dayz
By Philip Cosores
Damon Albarn is about to buy a ventriloquist doll. That’s the last thing he mentions as he gets off the phone, that the next time he’s heard from, he might be communicating via the puppet he’s about to buy. He lets out a little laugh when he reveals this, an inflection that communicates a moment of pure joy, perhaps amused at himself just for idea, or perhaps just pleased that these are the activities he embarks on purely for amusement’s sake.
Albarn is one of the most prolific and restless artists in the music world, so the idea that he lives to keep himself entertained and engaged falls in line with how he presents himself professionally. It started with Blur forming in the late-’80s and becoming massive in his homeland of the United Kingdom, earning a place in his countryman’s hearts as the bastion of Britpop. Despite his status as virtual royalty in England, the band’s American popularity was a bit more tapered, limited to a few minor hits, one major one (the ubiquitous “Song 2”), and reunion tour that found the band headlining the likes of Coachella and the Hollywood Bowl.
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
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.
‘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. Read More
I’m totally overrated.
With Blur and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn played at the top of the charts, with world music and opera, he convinced even the most skeptical critics. Now the 46-year-old musician released “Everyday Robots”, his first solo album. A conversation about his childhood, love songs and ambition.
During a visit to Damon Albarn’s studio in west London you can already see on the interior that here an energetic artist lives: hanging on the wall the map of Mali, on the shelf an instrument built from an oil can, and the coffee table shows an excerpt of the route of London Underground.
Damon, here is where the magic happen?
Sometimes. On a good day.
Down at the entrance there is a bookcase where the last three books are about occult philosophy, have you actually read them? Read More