Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn Confirms Snoop Dogg, Barry Gibb and Lou Reed on New Gorillaz Album, Titles It "Plastic Beach"

On Saturday The Guardian posted an interview that with Damon Albarn, in the interview Damon Albarn confrims a lot of the rumoured information that seems to be going around with Gorillaz’ third album. He talks about the concept of the record and how he worked with the people that are featured on the new album. Albarn also confirms that the title of the new album is “Plastic Beach”. During the interview he talks about how the Blur reunion tour influenced his work on the new Gorillaz album:

I suppose the only thing that’s come out of it maybe is that I’ve worked a lot harder making my lyrics and my melodies clear on this Gorillaz album. That’s probably what has come out of this summer’s experience.

He also talks about how the project came to be since before the announcement of this new album he said that there would be no more new Gorillaz albums:

But it takes an awful long time. This whole Gorillaz album ‘Plastic Beach’ which is nearly finished now, started off as Carousel and this room and it was about the mystical aspects of Britain but obviously as it’s Gorillaz it’s moved into a different place but it still maintains a lot of the melancholy. So things move. You can’t be sure when you start something that there’s going to be any resemblance to the finished thing

Then he talked about the essence of Gorillaz’ musical style:

Well I’ve got… I’m quite good at capturing that collective sense of melancholy. With Gorillaz there’s a lot of Hip Hop and I have to work as a complete innocent when I’m making it because if I try to make it sound cool it’s disastrous… Well that’s why I do Gorillaz records. That’s why I’m making this one the most pop record I’ve ever made in many ways. But with all my experience to try to at least present something with some kind of depth… I suppose what I’ve done with this Gorillaz record is I’ve tried to connect pop sensibility with … trying to make people understand the essential melancholy of buying a ready made meal in loads of plastic packaging. People who watch X-Factor might have some emotional connection to these things, this detritus that accompanies what seems to be the most important thing in people’s eyes, the celebrity voyeurism.

Interviewer Paul Morley also him about the collaborators on the new album, also revealing that orchestral arrangements will be present in the new album:

PM: Do you think that’s been important in a way? I was going to ask, in terms of the Gorillaz record, there were certain things you involved in the first sonic area of Gorillaz, but have you been incorporating new things into it as well, because a lot of people stop don’t they?

DA: Yeah.

PM: So you have..? So what…

DA: I did so much orchestral stuff for it believe it or not. I’m only going to use a fraction of it. So I did that, and I did loads of orchestral stuff with the Syrian National Orchestra. I managed to get bits of all of them on the record but essentially I’m trying to make a pop record so it can’t be totally orchestral.

PM: Hence Barry Gibb. What do you think he thinks of you?

DA: He didn’t even know what Gorillaz was. And knows now.

PM: Did he know you?

DA: Who knows. He lives in Miami in a marble palace. Why should he know about me? [laughs] No, I don’t actually know, I haven’t spoken to him. Bobby Womack had no idea but now we’re great friends. Snoop, because he’s [on] there, he knew about Gorillaz. He was a big fan. So it was very easy to get him. Lou Reed, he knew about me, Mos Def, I’ve known him for years. Well, Bobby Womack got into it because his youngest daughter was a big fan. So that’s how he got into it, and had it all explained to him. But I think Barry Gibb was was completely oblivious of everything. But you know, he’s Pop… [Damon searches for a term to describe Barry Gibb] what’s the most valuable thing on earth? [laughs] He’s that, isn’t he. He is on that pantheon of sublime Pop music. For whatever reason.

PM: And what kind of kick is it for you to be able to do that? To tell your own history of popular music in a way?

DA: Well I didn’t get all of them. I didn’t get Engelbert Humperdink. But you know, you win some you lose some…
PM: But what kind of kick is it?

DA: Well it’s not as easy as you think, you get these people and you get the result. Because a lot of the time you can’t actually be with them when they’re doing it, and it’s actually, to start off with, a bit of an anti-climax. Because you’ve built it up and then you’ve got to work on the track, and edit, and turn it into something that works.

How will Barry Gibb’s and Damon Albarn’s falsettos sound on the same song? Then Albarn explained the concept of “Plastic Beach”:

PM: I love that thing you were saying about Africa almost being futuristic, more futuristic than we think…

DA: It is. It’s our future. The first time I went to Mali I was taken to the huge great recycling market / massive rubbish landfill. And the way there, where they drop everything off this cliff, it’s this huge great valley that’s just full of rubbish and people are on there every day, in the 100 degrees, taking every little bit, a little bit of fabric to the fabric regenerators, or the metal and the cans to the ironsmiths and the aluminium recyclers, and it goes on and by the time you get to the road, they’re selling stuff. Then I went into a landfill outside London on Friday, I got permission, because you can’t just walk onto these things , to go and record the seagulls. Because plastic beach needs seagulls in abundance, all over the place. And I’d been recording them down on the beach that’s next to my house in Devon, where I got the idea for Plastic Beach, I was just looking for all the plastic within the sand, that’s where it came from. So I recorded them there. But I thought, I needed my dystopian seagulls so I went and recorded them but you know, this place obviously, having the juxtaposition of the Malian landfill and the way they’re dealing with it there, and here it was the wildlife that’s dealing with it… you know they’ve got more snakes… like adders, grass snakes, slow worms, toads, frogs, newts, all kinds of roadents, all kinds of squirrels, a massive amount of squirrels, a massive amount of foxes, and obviously, seagulls. Seagulls that they’ve tracked, that come from as far as away as Russia. This is part of the new ecology. And for the first time I saw the world in a new way. I’ve always felt, I’m trying to get across on this new record, the idea that plastic, we see it as being against nature but it’s come out of nature. We didn’t create plastic, nature created plastic. And just seeing the snakes like living in the warmth of decomposing plastic bags. They like it. It was a strange kind of optimism that I felt… but trying to get that into pop music is a challenge, anyway. But important. The two things that I’m really passionate about, obviously, are the effects of our waste, and the healing properties of Africa.

This is the best news from the Gorillaz camp that has come out in a while. Mostly unconfirmed collaborators have been announced but now the record has been titled “Plastic Beach”, which when announced by De la Soul along time ago didn’t seem like a good title.

Gorillaz – Bill Murray [zshare]

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