Damon Albarn Plots Gorillaz Release for 2016

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 10.20.14 in News

Damon Albarn, seldom shy about hinting at new music from his various projects, has let slip details about two. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, the Blur frontman mostly avoided a question about the band that made his name. But the report shed fresh light on the status of Gorillaz and the Good, the Bad and the Queen.

Albarn is, as the Morning Herald puts it, “in the process of reactivating Gorillaz for a 2016 release.” He also has reportedly written all of a new album for the Good, the Bad and the Queen and is at work on scheduling recording time. The interview came ahead of Albarn’s Australian tour dates in support of his solo album earlier this year, Everyday Robots.

A new Gorillaz album would be the first since 2011′s The Fall from the “virtual band” Albarn co-founded with artist Jamie Hewlett. As recently as a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Albarn had called the prospect of new Gorillaz music “unlikely.” He soon backtracked, though, telling Britain’s Metro, “When Jamie and I have worked out our differences, I’m sure we’ll make another record.” And last year, fansite Gorillaz-Unofficial quoted Hewlett as saying the two would “come back to [Gorillaz] when the time’s right.”

Past Gorillaz collaborator Del the Funky Homosapien, who performed live with Albarn at this year’s South by Southwest, told Wondering Sound in August that he wanted to work with Albarn again. “I talked to him on the bus, and he was like — the Gorillaz stuff was almost accidental, so he was like, basically, ‘What if we really did it on purpose, what could we come up with?’” Del said. “We really like each other, so he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s try to hook up and do some stuff.’ So yeah, that’s a big possibility.”

The Good, the Bad and the Queen is Albarn’s group with Paul Simonon (the Clash), Simon Tong (the Verve, Blur), Afrobeat legend Tony Allen and Danger Mouse. They have released one album together, 2011′s self-titled effort.

Each project is one in a series of collaborations for Albarn. As for his pre-Gorillaz band, Blur? In July, he told NME that the weather — yes, the weather — might keep the Britpop icons from finishing material they had recorded last year in Hong Kong. Now, perhaps mindful of the headlines any time he speaks out Blur, Albarn’s comments are more circumspect.

“I would imagine there’s some kind of future,” he told the Morning Herald, “but at the moment there’s no time for the future — only the present. Who knows? I’m reluctant to say anything, because if I do, it just gets taken out of context and then I’m accused of being a wind-up.”

Below, listen to the most recent material to surface from Gorillaz: “Whirlwind,” an outtake from 2010′s Plastic Beach that Albarn shared during a BBC Radio 2 guest DJ set last year. Gorillaz’s last release prior to breakup rumors was “DoYaThing,” a one-off collaboration with James Murphy and André 3000, in early 2012.