Q. The G Sides [sic] and the Space Monkeys collaborations were great departures from the first album. Will there be a similar follow-up to Demon Days?
A. There's a possibility that there will be another interpretation of the album, yes. It may even involve the Space Monkeyz again.
Of course a remix album of Demon Days in an 'RnB' style, has been talked up by Gorillaz co-creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett in various interviews over the past year. Now it appears that the Space Monkeyz (or members of the Space Monkeyz) are on board for remix album 2.
Some extracts from the Verbicide Issue 16 (Summer 2006 issue) interview with Gorillaz:-
(NB The magazine was published before the 'El Manana' video. so no need to read anything into Noodle being there.)
The Greatest Band That Never Existed?
Interview by Nate Pollard
Photography by Jamie Hewlett
How did you approach creating the somber feel of the new album? Specificaly, "Dirty Harry," "Don't Get Lost In Heaven" and "Demon Days" have taken on an errie choral quality that was absent on the first album.
NOODLE: It wasn't intentional to make the album darker, but as musicians or creative people in general, these things just come out without you seeing. It's almost as if you're just a conductor, many of the colours you pick and the textures you choose come out through you subconsciously. You just end up reflecting the spirit of the times, sometimes. And...maybe people are responding to that, and buying the album, without knowing it themselves.
RUSSEL: People respond to something that has soul, or a depth to it. The album isn't all dark. It does have a gravity to it, but by the outro the feel is really light and optimistic. It's a balanced record, it points out the darkness and the dark side, but also offers hope and positivity.
NOODLE: The choral elements came from trying to find a... harmony...or...something that would offer a spiritual, redemptive quality to the darkness that cloaks many of the songs. Demon Days and "Don't Get Lost In Heaven" in particular, have that elements because they are the outro, exit tracks and point towards a more harmonious, uplifring outlook.
MURDOC: We found the choir at the end of the street. They were standing on the corner practicing barbershop harmonies so we bugged them give dollars and a couple of malt-shakes and they've whizzed on down to our studio.
Noodle's been quoted as saying, "Every great band is destroyed by their success. Cartoon bands are no different [sic]." It's interesting because you guys have maintained popularity and credibility as cartoons when human band so often fail on both counts. Have you been marginalised because you are cartoons? And why do you think you've managed to find acceptance and reach so many people?
MURDOC: We're a gimmick with soul, right?
NOODLE: The way we present ourselves is as important to us as the music we make. It's all part of a focused and direct expression. The uniqueness of this presentation is definitely one of the reasons why people have responded to us in the way that they have. It gives people a refreshing entry point into out world. It stands out.
2D: And getting all those superstars on the record helps, too...
NOODLE: Well, also because of the removal of egos, people feel less self-conscious about collaborating and presenting their work alongside ours. It becomes more about the work rather than simply another band presenting their own personalities.
MURDOC: Who are almost universall boring, turgid, life-draining, soul-sapping morons, with nothing other than a fancy haircut and some kind of...grinning baboon-like face. Who wants to buy into that?
Russel, do you feel that being the only American in the group adds anything to the group culturally, politically, or otherwise, especially now that the landscape of politics in the USA have changed so much since the last album?
RUSSEL: Well, the pace of New York was far faster than what goes down in Essex. But, musically, it helped me put so much into Gorillaz, just being able to put a lot of the New York soul into out sound. English writers are so great at melody but sometimes lack the heaviness, or the rythm of the States. So with Gorillaz the blend worked really well.
Politically, however, I think most members of Gorillaz share similar views. Access to information now makes politics an issue of global opinions, not just one country's views against the other. Many people worldwide share the same feelings towards many isues, whether they're environmental, economics, or issues of conflict.
What's the deal with the "Reject False Ioncs" movement?
MURDOC: The deal is to give us five pounds and we'll reject a false icon for you.
NOODLE: The "Reject False Icons" motif was more a controlling idea that became a catalyst for the creation of the album. "Don't accept inferior goods," "think for yourself", and "make something better than the things that you are being offered." We wanted to put this feeling into the album.
MURDOC: Look, it's obvious what it means. You look at the charts, the TV, the films people put out... just the crap that give shoved down our throats, whole industries built on the idea of make rubbish for people to consume. And you're actually told to look up to and respect these vacuous personalities. What's the point? It's a big waste of time and these people are selling you turds... sling them out.
The G Sides [sic] and the Space Monkeys collaborations were great departures from the first album. Will there be a similar follow-up to Demon Days?
NOODLE: There's a possibility that there will be another interpretation of the album,yes. It may even involve the Space Monkeyz again.
MURDOC: The first Space Monkeyz remix album was great, but it took a year or so to get the smell out of the studio.
The album features some excellent collaborations. Damon Albarn, Dangermouse, Dennis Hopper, Shaun Ryder... what was it like getting Ike Turner in the studio?
RUSSEL: That man is a legend. Irrespective of the reputation that's accompanied his personal life, he has contributed a huge amount to music, and for that reason we wanted to work with him. The piano part he gave to us at the end of Ever Planet We Reach Is Dead was just superb.
2D: And he was a real star in Manchester. Every night he had a brand new suit on that stole the show.
NOODLE: All of the guests and contributors were selected because of the role they play in the history of music and the shaping of our references. The idea of putting Shaun Ryder with an Ennio Morricone melody, or Bootie Brown with an Arabic String line, or Dennis Hopper over a breakbeat... it was about taking apparently conflicting conflicting textures and making them work in harmony.
.... And there's much much more in the latest issue of Verbicide magazine.
You can get order a copy online at http://www.scissorpress.com/. Click on the link and go to the 'Online Store' option. It's available for $3.95 plus $2 shipping to anywhere in the world.