Today, I burned my last two personal hours for the fiscal year on joining the crowd of fans at the Union Square Virgin Megastore to see the Gorillaz – or at least Damon Alburn, Jamie Hewitt, and DJ Danger Mouse – give a very quick (and slightly bizarre) interview. I then promptly had my special edition of the album signed, grabbed my 7″ picture disk bonus for buying the album from Virgin, and bounced back onto the subway.
I must give tons of credit to the Virgin Megastore for completely botching nearly everything, from the horrible crowd setup to the lack of a line for the signing to such minutae as “not being able to hear most of the answers”. That said, it was still reasonably fun.
Below are the questions as I jotted them down as fast as I could; Damon answered most of the questions, but passed the mic when necessary. I apologize for factual or typographical errors; these should not be taken as exact quotes for your safety.
What’s the best part of being a 2D outfit?
Everything is fake anyhow, so they can be really fake.
What made you take this album in a darker direction?
They made the last one in 2000, and made this one in 2005.
How did you get in an iPod ad?
Damon can’t really speak to the business side of it, but he feels the iPod promotes something (didn’t catch exactly what he said) that shares the spirit of the band.
Any word on a new tour?
They’d like to do one, but there are no plans yet. They’re very expensive tours, and theydon’t want to do the exact same thing as last time to show the band, so they’re still thinking about how to go about it this time.
What were you listening to while you worked on Demon Days?
Danger Mouse listened to spaghetti westerns, old psychedelic albums and the like; Damon wasn’t listening to anything, as he finds it difficult to listen to someone else and create his own work at the same time.
How is Search For A Star going?
It’s going well; they are moving into closing stages, and have found some very strange talent. The winner will come and work with them as a new Gorillaz collaborator.
Are there any other bands you’d like to see get a cartoon makeover?
“All of them.”
Is there another Gorillaz project in the pipeline?
Yes, something very different, which involves kung fu.
What’s the first record each of you bought with your own money?
Damon says Combat Rock, Jamie admits to the theme from Ghostbusters (to many cheers), and Danger Mouse claims some iron maiden record, although he can’t recall which one.
What’s the first concert you went to?
Danger Mouse says he didn’t go to concerts as a kid, so the first real concert would be The Roots. Jamie can’t remember, and Damon cops to Nick Kershel.
(The first question is posed by an obnoxious super fan who makes everyone in the crowd groan.)
This is a three part question for 2D – did Noodle teach the rest of the band any Japanese curse words? What is it about Clint Eastwood that makes 2D’s day? And is 2D a geek in zombie clothing?
No, he has interesting politics, and yes.
Where did the fashion sense and design for the band come from?
Jamie’s local supermarket, and Tokyo.
Are we the last living souls?
“Let’s hope not.”
What happened to Rocket?
Rocket was only supposed to be a little cheap free thing on the website, never meant to be a real song.
The tour last time had different rappers than the album did; will the live tracks be released?
The band has so many collaborators, it’s difficult to release everything, so probably not.
Which band member is responsible for the Left Hand Suzuki Method?
Damon is left handed, which sort of balances out the awesomeness of the Suzuki method.
Will there be another version of Demon Days, as Laika Come Home was for the first album?
Yes, it will be a pure R&B album, they hope to have Beyonce singing Last Living Souls. (Big laugh.)
What were your outside inspirations while making the album?
“Films. People. Mushrooms.”
Have you ever done drugs?
“No. What a stupid question.”
Who’s idea was it to do a song in 5/4?
Damon, as he felt is was a much maligned time signature.
To Danger Mouse: After The Grey Album, how does it feel to be working on a project like this?
“Well, as long as it sells 10 million copies, I’m in the clear.”
What about a new Blur album?
Who are Jamie’s comic inspirations?
“Chuck Jones, mostly.”
What was the motivation for the last two songs on Demon Days?
“We felt that after going into hell near the end, the album needed some sort of a happy ending.”