There was a point not too long again when the future of Gorillaz looked rather bleak as rumors persisted of a feud between Damon Albarn and animator Jamie Hewlett. Now, though, the animated band is set to return later this month with a new album called Humanz. Several live performances have also been scheduled for this summer. And by the sound of it, plenty more is on the way.
Speaking to Zane Lowe this week, Albarn revealed that he has 40 to 45 tracks leftover from the initial recording sessions for Humanz. “I’m just sort of slowly going through all tunes that sort of didn’t work out and finishing them,” he explained, adding, “I can stay in the game for at least another 18 months, I reckon.”
All the while, Hewlett is working on a 10-episode television series in addition to artwork, tour visuals, merchandise, a clothing line, and “other things he never imagined when Gorillaz was born,” according to a new interview with Q magazine.
Q also reveals several other juicy tidbits, including plans for a Chicago-based Demon Dayz Festival to go along with one already announced in London for this summer. (That might explain why Gorillaz were missing from this year’s Lollapalooza lineup.)
Though Humanz is chock full of all-star collaborators, including Grace Jones, Carly Simon, Mavis Staples, Noel Gallagher, and De La Soul, a few others passed up on the opportunity. Among them: Morrissey (lol!), Sade, and Dionne Warwick, “who passed for the second time because the lyrics conflicted with her religious sensibilities,” according to Q.
In the interview with Q, Albarn also explained the unorthodox spelling of Humanz. “It’s amazing what you can do when your band members aren’t real people,” he said. “These characters are a conduit for everything we want to say but if we got up and said it, it wouldn’t have the same impact. Humanz is not a political statement about Trump — it’s about a world in which he could get elected. Where are we as a race? Why haven’t we grown out of this? Putting the Z on the end is not a hip-hop statement, it’s more like an android Z. Are we human beings or just humanz? What the fuck is wrong with us?”
Humanz arrives April 28th. Below, revisit the recently revealed collaboration “Let Me Out” featuring Mavis Staples and Pusha T.