Perhaps the 'holographic' Gorillaz will make an appearance at the Grammys? Either way, it seems that they will be wheeled out for a very special appearance stateside, soon. To read the full interview transcript, click 'Read More' below.
Presenter: It is my great pleasure to welcome, again, Damon Albarn. Damon...
Presenter: Are you really Damon Albarn? Because people can't be sure whether it's you or a hologram of yourself.
Damon: Yeah it really is me. I always find that strange because people go: 'are you really who I think you are?'. There's always an uncertainty. I don't know what I've done. They know who I am but they're not sure I really am who I am. Though I am who I am.
Presenter: And then, to make sure they're really not certain, you create these holograms. Which could go and do a gig in Australia with you sitting at home.
Presenter: Then you wonder why people wonder who you are?
Damon: Yes. They have done that. They've done a bit of that already.
Presenter: What, these holograms have?
Presenter: They've been out there performing?
Damon: Yes they performed in Lisbon, and they're going to do something in America, soon, as well.
Presenter: Excellent. So, Damon. I should introduce you properly. We first knew him as a member of Blur, then as one of the Gorillaz. As far as I can see, no individual names of the Gorillaz are actually on the album. Is that correct, or are you somewhere mentioned?
Damon: No, I don't put my name on the records at all.
Presenter: Just a kind of a vaguely recognisable cartoon version of what you might have looked like if you'd have been a street urchin...
Damon: Well it [2D]'s actually based on a mate of Jamie and mine called Stuart.
Presenter: Oh it is based on somebody?
Damon: Yeah, on Stuart. But he does look a little bit like me, I suppose.
Presenter: And you look a little bit like you, hence the confusion.
Presenter: Okay. So: Blur, Gorillaz. But also Honest Jon's Records. Which you are kind of a third partner in as I understand.
Damon: yeah, yeah.
Presenter: So what does that involve you doing for instance?
Damon: Well it involves me putting records out occasionally, on Honest Jon's. I'm just trying to finish one at the moment, that I've been doing for two years, on and off. I started in Lagos and spent three weeks recording in Aphrodisia [??] with lots of Africa 70, and a lot of the old guys, like Silver Dollar, he's a great singer, Jimmy Solanke, people like that. But I've scrapped it all. The whole record. Because I got really into it there, but I think I kind of deluded myself, that I could pull it off. All the music's still there, and it will be used in the future. But, no. I have to stay true to my roots, which is a very English, kind of, tradition. So I came back, but with Tony Allen still. And we started again, and we've got some really great musicians. We've really simplified it to a four-piece so that's what I've been doing. But otherwise what do I do? I just enjoy the great music that Mark and Allan [Honest Jon's partners] put together, really. It's fantastic really. And I'm just as inspired by it as I hope other people are. The only difference is, I get to hear it a little bit earlier! That's it really! *laughs*
Damon: I did nearly go to Iraq, with a few people who wanted me to meet what was left of the National Orchestra [of Iraq]. And to hang out, really. And I was all set to do it. I mean, things weren't great there but I was up for doing it really. Because I just sort of believe it would be okay because I'm a musician. I know that's ridiculous, but you know what I mean... but the government said they weren't prepared for me to go anywhere on a plane. And the only way they'd let me go was if I took a Land Rover across the desert without any kind of escort. They obviously didn't want me to go, basically. Or they might have been a bit more helpful. So I didn't go in the end. I kind of regret it in a way, really.
Damon: I've been in China, travelling through the Southern provinces. With Jamie, actually, and a few other people. We were researching something we're going to do in 2 years time.
Presenter: The 'we' being who, now?
Damon: We; Jamie, myself and some other people...
Presenter: Folks, if you could have seen the look on his face! Right..!
Damon: Well, some other people, because I don't really know how many people... we're basically playing with the idea of putting an opera on, of the Monkey King. The Legend. So if anyone remembers 'Monkey', and 'Piggsy' you know, it's that thing. And we felt like we needed to spend some time in China. So we travelled around in the back of minibusses, on very very dangerous roads in the Southern Provinces.
Presenter: Dangerous from what point of view?
Damon: geologically, definitely!
Presenter: Not people with guns?
Damon: No no no. There was a kamikaze element to the driving style! Yeah I just recorded everything. We met a lot of musicians. It's my favourite thing to do, really.