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The Humanz Condition
In 1998, Jamie Hewlett drew a virtual band that became world famous. Gorillaz consists of four cartoon members with four distinct personalities: 2-D, Noodle, Russel Hobbs and Murdoc Niccals, who are brought to life by Hewlett and an ever-evolving crew of musicians. They just made the freshest comeback of the year with a new album and tour, Humanz, visually powered by Hewlett’s live animation, 360 music videos, detailed backstories, covers, and virtually every single element of the band’s stage presence. His impact on our generation’s visual culture runs deep, and Gorillaz is just one of his many projects, from comics to opera.
In the age of artificial intelligence, a virtual band is appropriate, and Gorillaz have cultivated a soundtrack for a lifetime, with a 20 year history of showing up right when we need them most. They’ve helped an entire generation dance through the darkness, and in the words of Gorillaz guest star Vince Staples, “The sky’s falling, baby, drop that ass ’fore it crash.” Read More
It’s been seven years since we last heard from Gorillaz. A lot has happened in their animated world—members were kidnapped, one was left for dead and demons were slain—but a cartoon fantasy was no match for what’s transpired in real life. Things make about as much sense in our world as they do in theirs, which makes now the perfect time for the two to sonically collide again. The virtual band returned in April with Humanz—a frenzied party record to help us cope with the chaos—and a U.S. tour that brings them to Las Vegas for the first time ever during Life Is Beautiful. Frontman Damon Albarn, who co-created Gorillaz with artist Jamie Hewlett, chats with Vegas Seven from his London studio on how the new record came together, why he loves collaborating and what he’d be listening to if the world were to end.
Why the name Humanz?
I needed something that was snappy that drew in all the ideas on the record, and also had a bit of humor about it. Originally we started off with the name Transformer, but my daughter thought that was a really naff name and that people would think that we were, like, trucks that turned into robots. I was obviously referencing Lou Reed, but the idea of transition about us—humans changing at the moment, everything in change, the world in change—that was the idea. Read More