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Gorillaz

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett got the cartoon band back together after a seven-year absence to make Humanz, winner of the Q Best Album award.

Congratulations on winning another Q Award. Happy?

Damon Albarn: It’s really nice. It’s about the music. Genuinely, we’ve been really touched that people recognised this record because it was a bit of a departure in that I’m not  really in it much at all. Obviously I helped to make it. And I forgot to mention [producers] Remi [Kabaka] or The Twilite Tone, but I’m not very good at speeches.

What are you drinking to celebrate?

Jamie Hewlett: I’d love a glass of wine. Have you only got Q wine? Oh, is it a 2017 vintage…

What’s been your album of the year?

DA: I don’t really work like that. I work with experiences, really. I’m in and out of so many different types of music all the time, so I don’t really engage in music in that way. In terms of experience, that happened a few days ago when I went to see [producer, rapper] Mike Will Made It. He did Kendrick Lamar’s albums and I went to do some work with him while we were on tour. As a new experience in music-making this was something that I will never forget: it was so loud and brutal. This man is the top hit-maker in the world and it was interesting to witness that kind of alchemy because it doesn’t last forever. It was interesting, the interface between the two of us, and how he picked up on what I did and what I picked up with him. Read More

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It’s the end of the world, and they feel fine…

When Damon Albarn started to think about reactivating his great collaborative project Gorillaz after a seven-year break, he knew he wanted to make an album about “pain, joy, urgency.” But first he had to mend a broken partnership with visual mastermind Jamie Hewlett. Dorian Lynskey finds them reunited and taking aim at brexit, trump and the whole darn world.

Ten years ago in, an online post that went viral, an American woman named Andrea
Donderi divided people into Askers and Guessers. Guessers, she wrote, won’t ask for what they want unless they’re pretty sure they’ll get a yes, so they often hold back. Askers, on the other hand, will request anything because they don’t mind if the answer is no. Damon Albarn is pop’s Asker-in-chief. Each time he’s making an album with Gorillaz Gorillaz his constantly mutating , his constantly mutating collaboration with artist Jamie Hewlett, he decides which voices will suit the songs and tries his luck. This time Sade politely declined; so, after an entertaining monthlong email exchange, did Morrissey. Dionne Warwick passed for the second time because the lyrics conflicted with her religious sensibilities. In the past, Barry Gibb and Engelbert Humperdinck have also given Gorillaz the bum’s rush. Albarn never minds.
“I don’t take rejection personally,” he says cheerfully. “The more people you put your
arms around, the better it is.” Read More