Are we Humanz or are we dancers?
We caught up with music’s most unruly cartoon band to talk Cher-inspired reunions and new album ‘Humanz’.
After a chaotic five years, with more dramatic happenings than your average episode of EastEnders, Noodle, 2-D, Murdoc and Russel are back with the follow-up to ‘Plastic Beach’. Featuring a massive list of star-studded collaborators – from Vince Staples and Jehnny Beth, to Carly Simon, Graham Coxon, and Kelela, to just scrape the surface – we got the whole Gorillaz gang together to talk everything from Freudian disasters involving whales, to their rivalry with a small kitchen appliances firm.
How are things at Gorillaz HQ?
Murdoc: I won’t lie, getting back together again has been pretty emotional. Not for me. For the others. Russel, Noodle and 2D were overwhelmed to be in my presence again. It was almost embarrassing. But that’s why Gorillaz gel so well. Respect for your betters.
Russel: What’s embarrassing is the Snapchat he sent us all, before we agreed to come back.
Murdoc: Don’t know what you’re on about.
Russel: He was naked, hugging a Gorillaz photo and cry-singing ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ by Cher. It was low, man.
Murdoc: Yeah. Irony, mate. Lost on you Americans. Read More
‘We fight over everything’
As Gorillaz release their new album, Humanz, the duo discuss Brexit, predicting dystopia, and how they made up after not speaking for three years.
On the top floor of his west London studio, “13”, Damon Albarn is sitting at a small wooden table that his dad made sometime in the 1970s. In front of him are a glass of nettle tea, some freshly squeezed juice in a union jack mug and a single cigarette. He’s in a good mood, and he is talking about Gorillaz, the cartoon band that he formed with Jamie Hewlett almost 20 years ago.
Unfortunately, he is not being clear. I’ve just asked him if the music that he makes on the new album – soulful, urban, with contributors including Mavis Staples, Pusha T, Jehnny Beth and Benjamin Clementine – marries up at all with Hewlett’s drawings of 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle, the cartoon members of the band. Read More
Gorillaz almost broke up in 2012 — here’s why they didn’t
As the virtual-band superstars prepare to release their fifth studio album, Humanz, the group’s co-mastermind Damon Albarn, 49, discusses the challenges of holograms, guest wrangling, and drinking on the job.
In 2012, you said Gorillaz might be done. What changed?
DAMON ALBARN: Oh, we think that every time. [Laughs] Jamie [Hewlett] fell in love with a French girl and moved to Paris, and I was terribly hurt I’d lost my friend. It’s like a marriage, these creative partnerships. But luckily, our kids have grown up together, so we didn’t lose contact completely. And we just sort of found all the bits of the porcelain vase we’d smashed on the floor and stuck it all back together.
You’re known for recruiting amazingly eclectic guests, but Humanz has more female artists than usual: Carly Simon, Mavis Staples, Grace Jones…
I wanted it to be more balanced. Because if we were going to call the record Humanz, I had to. On the last record, we had people like Bobby Womack and Ibrahim Ferrer and Ike Turner who, musically, are patriarchs. I wanted to work with some matriarchs. Read More