Interviewer: So guys, tell us how the band met and formed the Gorillaz.
Murdoc: (coughs) Eh... Oh hang on, hair. I got hair in me throat (coughs up hair). Oh dear, oh dear, my head feels very sticky today. Too much ghost wine last night. I didn't, I didn't know if you tried that stuff, but it's like drinking shots of washing up liquid, mixed with paint stripper, yeah. Sounds like a good idea at the time, but you do pay dearly in the morning. Anyway, right, yes, um. How did Gorillaz form? Well um, I guess this line up first came together around 1998, yeah. 'Cause I put loads of bands together before that. Great bands, yeah. All of them should've been enormous. Umm, what did you have, you had the eh... The Burning Sensations, Durango 95, Kiss and Makeup, Wild Willie Wally and the Wallingtons, yeah. I was the singer in all those bands, great stuff.
2D: Dear Lord.
Murdoc: Anyway, any one of them could've been as big as Gorillaz. But you know eventually, I thought it might be time to try a different vocalist. Other than me.
2D: Yeah uh, someone who could actually sing, maybe?
Murdoc: Shut it twerp! See, eh, technically, uh, my voice, obviously, is still much, much better than 2D's. But, yeah, I just thought it was time for a change. Change of texture. So (coughs) what happened was I was, uh, I was out one day on uh, on uh... a nicking spree yeah, hoisting we call it yeah, eh. On the rob.
2D: August 15, 1997. First time we met.
Murdoc: Yeah like I said I was out, I was out robbing, on a nicking spree yeah, right? And what I had in mind, was to crash my car through the front window of this music shop. "Uncle Norms Keyboard Emporium" it was called. It was the local shop, basically, that sold all the keyboards. And what I thought was I would just crash through the front, and then, steal a bunch of the keyboards. You know, form a new band.
2D: It was the shop I was working in.
Murdoc: So... I crashed the car through the window and it landed straight in 2D's head. Amazing! Direct hit. Knocked one of his eyes straight out. Put him in a coma immediately. I got arrested for that, uh, and ah, my community service, my SENTENCE, was to look after this silly sod.
2D: I don't know what I did wrong.
Murdoc: Obviously I abused that position, and took the opportunity to bully him to within an inch of his catatonic life. So, one time when we were mucking about in a car park in Nottingham, 2D actually went through the windscreen. Uhh, and I think it was that, second car accident, that, uh, actually brought him back ‘round! Yeah. Uh, 'cause it knocked his other, stupid eye out. But, uh, I’ll tell you what, when he stood up, WOW! What an image; tall, pretty, blue spiky hair…
2D: No eyeballs.
Murdoc: No eyeballs. I knew that he had to be the front man. After that, everything sort of just fell into place, yeah. I found Russel, our drummer, working in a record shop. “Big Rick Black’s Record Shack” in Soho. Everyone had heard of Russel because, uh, he knew everything there was to know about hip-hop. He was the Rhythm King. And also he was possessed by the undead ghostey spirit of his dead friend, Del! Good drummer too. So I kidnapped him and took him over to Kong Studios which was our, uh, headquarters. Our isolated recording studio HQ at the time…
2D: Yeah, all we needed, right, was a guitarist, yeah. Well we did have one, Paula Crack-
Murdoc: But she was rubbish! So we advertised for another. We stuck an ad in the music paper, NME. I can’t remember what exactly what we wrote, I just know it stated, “No hippies!”
2D: Moments later there was a knock on the door and there was this FedEx crate, outside.
Murdoc: Nothing more. No one there. Just a crate.
2D: We opened it up…
Murdoc: And inside was, Noodle! Our guitarist. WE WERE A BAND!!! We changed our name to Gorillaz there and then, and the rest is history. (cough) Anyway, anyway you should obviously know all this. It’s all in, uh, “Rise of the Ogre” the Gorillaz autobiography. Best book I’ve ever written... Well, only book I’ve ever written... Came out a couple of years ago, and you know what? I think I’ll, uh, I think I'll re-release it now. Maybe even update it. It’s a fantastic tale! It’s better than Wordsworth. It should be compulsory in schools.
2D: I haven’t even read it.
Murdoc: Neither have I. So, yeah, Gorillaz, that’s how we formed. It’s important to get a name right though isn’t it? I had this one band called, “This Show Has Been Cancelled” and, uh, well, no one ever came to see us. Pointless really. So we split up. We did reform briefly about a month later under the name, “We Have Split Up.” But yeah, well, again it was just a waste of time.
2D: You’re an idiot.
Murdoc: SHUT YOUR FACE!
Interviewer: And who or what are your individual musical influences and how do they differ from the group’s influences?
Murdoc: Oh, well, um, you know, it’s all kind of changed now… over the years. There wasn’t nearly so much of it when I was growing up.
2D: He was born a long time ago.
Murdoc: I was, uh, basically into metal, you know? All kinds of metal. Hair metal, death metal, precious metal, heavy metal, scrap metal. Bands like Tygers of Pan Tang, Poison, Ratt, Dio, Twisted Sister, Cinderella.
2D: I hate all that stuff. For me it was bands like, The Jam, Wire, Buzzcocks, uh, Magazine, Ultravox, Talking Heads. I loved all the punk stuff, and The Human League. Scott Walker, I liked.
Murdoc: Yeah, yeah, he’s good.
2D: Now, I don’t know, it’s all over the place. I get sent tapes through the post.
Murdoc: Tapes, really?
2D: Yeah! Tapes.
Murdoc: Through the post?
Murdoc: That’s very odd. I didn’t think they made tapes anymore. They don’t email you a link or something?
2D: No. Tapes through the post. To Plastic Beach.
Murdoc: Over the years, though, my taste has changed, you know, or developed. 'Cause there’s loads of stuff. I mean you can see it if you check out, who I get to play on our albums, you know, like, Ike Turner, The Pharcyde, De La Soul, British rappers like Bashy and Kano, Roots Manuva.
2D: Russel got us all into a lot of the hip hop stuff, you know? He was into old school stuff like ESG, Kool Herc, Trouble Funk, Sly and the Family Stone, Zapp.
Murdoc: And I recorded some stuff with Omar Souleyman over in Beirut last year. And we’ve obviously done loads of stuff with the National Orchestra for Arabic Music, and Cerebral Ballzy I like. I mean if you just want me to list stuff, I can, I can just go…Tom Tom Club, Sparks, New York Dolls, XTC, Johnny Cash, Leadbelly, Yo Majesty, Love, Kinks, Son House, Tito Puente, Photek, Cheap Trick.
Murdoc: Sonic Youth, Clash, Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Skatalites, Aphrodite’s Child, The Congos, Fun Boy Three, Sun Ra.
2D: Chaka Demus.
Murdoc: Sex Gang Children, Lalo Schifrin, Wendy Carlos, Augustus Pablo, Fela Kuti. Look, in one way or another, by hook or by crook, we’ve ended up working with loads of people that we’re into. They all sort of end up in the family. Gorillaz is like a flophouse, for legends.
2D: Collectively, yeah, I’d say we’ve, like, covered most bases. Although Russel’s been missing now for years, yeah, eh since we’ve played the New York Harlem Apollo 2006.
Murdoc: And Noodle, too. I haven’t seen her since the El Mañana video shoot. I had to build a cyborg out of her from the DNA I scraped out from the crash site when she got shot outta the sky. Cyborg plays a lot of guitar on the album. It came out very well! But, eh, the original Noodle… well, one can only hope that she returns. Still, I saw some footage of her with a mask on recently, yeah. It got used actually in our, uh, Melancholy Hill video, so I think she’s safe. She might even be on her way back to us. To Plastic Beach, you know, who knows?
Interviewer: So guys how did you both begin playing music and what was your first musical instrument?
2D: For me it was keyboards. Any keyboards really, like. My dad, right, he used to find stuff in junk shops and he even customized them for me. I had a Casio VL Tone which I used to take, everywhere with me. It looks a bit like a melodica, uh, which was another instrument I loved. Still do. But, you know, keyboards was the thing that I loved. Stylophones, moogs, synths, electronic stuff, anything that makes a ‘bloopy’ noise. Uh, I was a bit like Brian Eno.
Murdoc: Only, without the talent. Or brains.
2D: Sod off, you old goth.
Murdoc: Right, that’s it!
(crashing noises and glass breaking) (2D screaming and grunting)
2D: Ah, flippin’ ‘eck!
Murdoc: (clears throat) Yes, now, where were we? Oh yeah, yeah yeah, instruments. Well, everyone knows that, uh, bass is best, you know? It’s heavy, sexy, and you can rattle the bowels of the Earth with it. The one I use today is named El Diablo. It was given to me by Beelzebub, the king of the Underworld himself. A, as a present, when I signed my eternal contract with him. I gave him my soul, and he promised to make Gorillaz the biggest band that world has ever seen. So, yeah. It’s all working out rather nicely, really, isn’t it?
2D: Although you can’t really play it, so we keep having to bring in extra bass players.
(Murdoc hits 2D)
Interviewer: Now, Murdoc, it’s been known that you’ve developed some issues with 2D over the years. How do you create music with 2D if you can’t even stand to be near him? Your bio, in the Gorillaz website states that you hate 2D, and 2D also idolizes you Murdoc. So tell me. Tell me a bit about that.
Murdoc: Well, I admit, it’s not plain sailing, I mean look at him. He’s got, well, special needs. But, for me, music is the ultimate goal. Something that you have to rise above petty differences in order to achieve. You know, the greater good. And he does have a very special voice. Voice of an “angle.”
2D: You can’t do without me, simple as that. You’d still be living in a Winnebago in Stoke if I wasn’t singing. Knocking off barmaids on a Friday night. If you were lucky.
Murdoc: And even if he is like dealing with some former mental case, I still think it’s worth it, in the end. And I guess it helps that he’s always looked up to me, you know, as a kind of father figure.
2D: In your dreams, Pedro.
Murdoc: And also, I understand it’s not very gentlemanly to point out that our first guitarist, the one before Noodle, was a girl called Paula Cracker. She was 2D’s girlfriend, uh, who I had a, uh, rather lovely altercation with in the toilets at Kong Studios. (Murdoc chuckling)
2D: RIGHT HAVE THAT!
(crashing, more glass breaking) (2D screaming, panting, grunting) (Murdoc grunting)
2D: No, no you can’t pull that. Ow! For the love of, AH!
(more fighting noises)
2D: Stop it, stop it, get off!
Murdoc: Sit back down, that’s it, like a good boy. Let’s finish this interview, shall we? (2D softly chocking) Just breath into this rag, yeah? Deep breaths... big gulps… yeah, there we go. All better now. Shall we continue? And, um, yeah, you know I think it might be a good idea to direct the next question at me. Uh, not him.
Interviewer: And 2D, you were introduced to the Free Tibet campaign by Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys, and have been an avid supporter of the Free TIbet campaign ever since. Describe what this campaign means to you and how you hope to raise awareness with your music.
2D: (clears throat) Uh, I think, oh…
Murdoc: Don’t ask him anything serious, you just get a load of rubbish falling out of his trap.
2D: Yeah, uh, the Free Tibet campaign was something that a lot of people threw their weight behind, I mean, I think it’s important to lend your position to--
Murdoc: But you gotta ask yourself, haven’t you? I mean, how much trouble are these people in if they need 2D? Yeah? An animated singer from a western pop band as a spokesperson for their cause?
2D: I think it’s important for each and every person to have the liberty and the freedom to live their lives how they choose to. Without the interjection and repression from heavy handed authorities. It’s about basic human rights, really.
Murdoc: He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, though. Do bear that in mind.
Interviewer: You know what guys? I’ve always loved the song Clint Eastwood, but could never figure out what it’s about. What is the song about, I mean, what inspired the song’s title?
Murdoc: Oh you know. Melancholy. Hope. And sweet, sweet dubby reggae. That was one of the first tracks I wrote for this band. Instant hit. You know, it’s all built up around my deep, twangy bass. That and, uh, a little button marked ‘Reggae Setting’ on my, uh, Honda Zedd Chord Hit Making Machine.
2D: With the lyrics…well it’s not actual sunshine (laugh), you know. I don’t have sunshine in an actual bag, you know. I’m not even sure that’s possible, uh, I’d have to check with someone like Stephen Hawkings on that. Uh, I did have a bag though, but it wasn’t actually sunshine inside the bag. It was some old gym clothes and some shoes and a paperback.
Murdoc: Oh, Chr — we finished the track off at, uh, Geejam Studios in Jamaica in about April/May 2000. Blimey, though, it was over ten years ago, now. That track’s still a monster. It’s actually like a big, clean, inky canvas for rappers of all sized to come paint their rhymes onto. That one’s had raps by Del Tha Ghost Rapper, Si and Life from Phi Life Cypher, Tinie Tempah’s had a crack at it. Eh, Snoop Dogg at Glastonbury, Bashy and Kano did a version, and, uh, Eslam Jawaad, ah, threw his set into the mix recently in Syria and, uh, Damascus. This show we did at the citadel. It’s a truly continental cut that Clint Eastwood song. A frequent flyer.
2D: We call it Clint Eastwood because it had, a kind of Ennio Morricone feel to the melodica line. Like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or something. So we went with that as a theme, and also calling it Clint Eastwood had a kind of, old reggae vibe to the name.
Murdoc: I’m not sure why you’re actually still talking here. I mean, you had nothing to do with that track, other than singing my lyrics.
2D: The version that the Gorillaz Live band are now doing is great. Ah, very heavy, you know? Paul Simonon’s bass is way better, way heavier, than the original now. In fact we should record it with the proper bass on there. Instead of that codham fisted clumping you do.
Interviewer: Dirty Harry focuses on a war in the middle east, yeah? and features the Children's Choir of San Fernandes. What are the songs meanings, and how does the addition of the children's choir affect the song's themes?
Murdoc: This is one of the first ones Noodle made with Danger Mouse, who took they, uh, production wheel for Demon Days, our enormous selling second album. It was built up around an old Gorillaz jam.
2D: Russel wanted the drums to sound like something Clyde Stubblefield would put down, or Ziggy Modeliste from The Meters, instead of just sampling a break beat, he tried making a beat that people would sample from the original hip-hop era.
Murdoc: Then we sampled it, cut it up, and made it sound like a break beat. Bit pointless really, but we were jamming ‘round a keyboard riff that sounded something like “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash.
2D: Danger mouse added the San Fernandes Youth Chorus.
Murdoc: I think It’s always quite powerful when you get kiddy-winks singing along to serious themes, don’t you? I-I think it’s right though, isn’t it. Children are our future, eh? If you infect them when they’re young, you can usually keep them for life.
2D: These kids are growing up out of a climate of conflict, where intolerance has been encouraged, and there’s a sense of, uh, fighting for something you’re being manipulated into backing. It can’t be good in the long run.
Murdoc: All you can really do as a musician is trying it off for a different view, yeah? Something a little more conciliatory.
2D: So Bootie Brown, from The Pharcyde, skids into the middle of the track and just like unleashes his machine gun peace rap, you know. Bootie’s rap humanizes the position of the soldiers, the fighter as an individual.
Murdoc: You add the Arabic strings into the mix then you got the whole picture, yeah? It’s a handshake from both sides. Uh, a bigger overview.
(beer can opening)
Murdoc: I think it’s time for a quick almaza, don't you?
Murdoc: Yeah, um, the name though, yeah. I-I think you’re reading too much into it. The song we did, Clint Eastwood, came first. And we needed another hit, like Clint Eastwood. So, we named the track "Dirty Harry". Which is a bit like Clint Eastwood. When you look back on you can see that political connection. Actually, um, have you got any rum? I-I'm beginning to come ‘round, and, uh, it’s not a pleasant feeling, I can tell you. Being in focus. Please?
Interviewer: Now one of my favourites “Feel Good Inc.”, was awarded a Grammy award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2005. Did you feel this song was going to be a major hit when you are recording with De La Soul?
Murdoc: Yeah! Feel Good Inc, yeah. I saw it’s potential from the very first beat. It was like, panning for gold. Amongst the, uh, brown murky waters, I saw this track all shiny and glimmery, shining like a-a big rock of gold. It said, “Play Me, Play Me!” and that, I knew soon as the De La Soul boys dropped their glorious rap about Motown's and ghost towns. This one, was gonna explode.
2D: Against my melody bit, the raps, they like, they like really take off.
Murdoc: I think the De La Soul boys would be mucking about with canisters of Nitrous Oxide all morning because, to be frank, they were giggling their backsides off when they came in.
2D: It looked like they were going to out-cartoon us! You know. Lyric wise, the first part of this came from when I was passing the wind turbines out near Palm Springs. I think I was going to the Coachella Festival and I passed, like, this huge field full of those wind turbines, farming the land. So I started really with the chorus section and you know, built it up from there. (off key) Windmill, windmill, for the land, turn forever, hand in hand!
Interviewer: So let’s touch on a more serious note guys. Kids With Guns. It focuses on a very serious issue and the chorus reads, “and they’re turning us into monsters, turning us into fire, turning us into monsters it’s all desire.” And the music compliments the lyrics, with a temperamental and emotional vibe. Discuss what methods you use to create the music and lyrics that gave off this feeling.
Murdoc: I get all curled and metallic like I was having a big meth calm down. Bleh! It seemed to do the job though. Look, the only point I was trying to put across is that, in order to fight monsters, right, you have to become a monster of some sort yourself. Take out all the soft, fluffy bits, and become a bit empty. Turning us into monsters, yeah. Just dead lifeless eyes staring down a barrel of a gun. Kids 'ay?! Don't you just love 'em?
2D: You know when you send people into battle, you have to turn them into a certain kind of thing that can go out, and potentially kill. Anyway, maybe it's not good to be too specific but when you, uh, you know...
Murdoc: It’s a strong image isn’t it? Kids with Guns. Like that picture by William Klein “Gun 1”. Check it out. The kids got a lovely screwed up face and the gun is pointing right into the camera. Gorgeous. It’s only a picture though.
2D: We were joined on this track by Neneh Cherry, yeah. Raw Like Sushi was another album that I loved when growing up.
Interviewer: And on your new album, Plastic Beach, you worked with Snoop Dog, Lou Reed, Bashy, Mos Def, De La Soul, Gruff Rhys, Mick Jones and Paul Simon to name a few. I mean the list goes on, doesn't it? What are some of the interesting stories you have that occurred when you were creating the album with these amazing musicians?
Murdoc: Oh, I’ve got loads, loads. I mean how could you not when you're taking so many of those legends, putting them together and brought them out to Plastic Beach. Legends of punk, legends of soul, new UK grime rappers, talents old and new. It's like a catalyst for a big adventure, isn’t it? Actually, you should’ve seen some of the poker games we've had. Some of them lasted four or five nights.
2D: Obviously I had to work all around this mess. Plastic Beach became like the stone’s place when they recorded Exile On Main Street. It’s just ours, instead of being like a sunkist mansion on the south of France it was a floating piece of garbage in the middle of the Pacific.
Murdoc: Working with Snoop was great, yeah. Out of the green airy fog that surrounds Plastic Beach, this silhouette of pimp fur and French braids just loomed in. He took a look around the joint and kind of just, uh, “Welcome to the World of Plastic Beach” exhale. And after a bit of crack-a-lacking in the bubble bath, we were up and running. With White Flag, Bashy and Kano came out to Plastic Beach and their first reactions were recorded live as they hit the shores. Those lyrics, those raps were literally the first words those two spoke. I-I brought them over to Plastic Beach via a crate so they didn't know exactly where they were or what to expect. See, I crow-barred open the crate and as they set foot on the jetty and I shoved a mic into their faces and recorded their reaction, into my silly little tape recorder. Ta Da! Never-er a truer rap spoken.
2D: Although the National Orchestra for Arabic music was recorded differently though, wasn’t it?
Murdoc: Yeah faceache, that’s true. For that I actually, uh, had to go to Syria. I was in disguise as, uh, so many people were trying to kill me, um... I was like, uh, I was like dressed up in this sort of big smock. It was a bit sort of Peter sellers. But, you know, needs must, if you know what I’m saying. So I got over there and I worked with a guy named Issam Rafea, brilliant conductor, who conducted the Syrian Orchestra which you can hear in the beginning of White Flag. Since then when the Gorillaz play live the Syrian Orchestra have joined us in one form or another, and, uh, of course, Gorillaz went over there to perform a concert in July. The first major western band to ever perform there. Which is, another small step for mankind.
Interviewer: Stylo! A song featuring hip hop artist Mos Def and funk musician Bobby Womack, contains a lot of heavy vocal solos and interesting electronic instrumentation. Describe the experience you had in the studio when you recording this track.
Murdoc: Stylo! Yeah, this was the first single to come off the album. Uh, in fact, this one got stolen just weeks before the release. Some pirate shot up my island, nicked it and leaked it online. You can't plug holes like that anymore in the brave new digital world. This is a new sound for Gorillaz. An electroish crack funk sound with a little bit of politics, and a whole lot of soul going down. With Stylo, I wanted the music to feel euphoric, whilst still putting across how precarious, how tightly packed situation is now. worldwide. Where we’re at now as a species on this overpopulated planet. Coming on to the overload, overload, overload. Can you feel it kids, can you feel it, eh? The funny thing is since man could pick up a pen and put his thoughts on paper we’ve always had a sense of the apocalyptic. Eminent doomsday. But, you know, yeah, I think, something's gotta give. It’s like rubbing the impossible to burst. I think you can hear that in Bobby Womack’s chorus. He just explodes into the track. I mean how good is it to get Bobby Womack on the record, and now on tour, with Gorillaz! That was the first recording he’s made in what, fifteen/twenty years? So what an honour. For him! Only joking. So the vocals for this were recorded out in New York. Same time that I hooked up with Mos Def, yeah. He’s great. Great rapper, great actor, really vibrant presence. Him and Bobby worked really well with 2D here, so the whole track came together. When I first met up with Mos it was, uh, at The Box club in New York. He wouldn’t stop yapping about the Boogieman. I think I was just the cocktails talking but Mos said “He’s a dark entity. Made up of all the evil in the world. Swirling black shadow, with a gas mask for a face. He’s a war unto himself.” I shrugged and let Mos spit all this out. I didn’t really take it in. I just wanted Mos on the album so I put up with it. Turns out that Mos was right. We’ve got the Boogieman on film now. I'm definitely looking over my shoulder more often. No doubt that’s, uh, another battle I’m going to end up having. In fact, I'll tell you where you can see the Boogieman. He turns up in the footage we used for the Stylo video. It’s enough to send a chill right down your spine. Look, (clears throat) why don’t you, um, top my glass up. Uh, stick the record on and, uh, we’ll have a little listen, eh? How ‘bout that?
Interviewer: The video for Stylo features Bruce Willis as a bounty hunter. Can you summarize the video for us? Y’know, what is it like working with Bruce Willis?
Murdoc: Yeah I can summarize it. Someone hired Bruce Willis, or some kind of Willis lookey-likey, to try and blow my brains out. In the desert. Swine. I had some camera crew follow me around, you know? Some guys I hired, and they caught the whole thing on camera. Quite well, I thought.
2D: I was next to Murdoc, who was driving, I was like really, really, really hungover that day. I remember I was using this kind of, clown mask to hide my headache. It didn’t really work.
Murdoc: And we had Cyborg Noodle in the back. We were minding our own business, tearing through the desert in the black Stylo Camaro. All of the sudden I noticed that I was being trailed by this cop car. Next thing, Cyborg goes mental and starts shooting at the cop. I tried to pull her in but it didn’t work. The car flew off the road then we launched into this, massive billboard. At which point Cyborg start having a digital fit! Next thing this red car pulls up alongside with Bruce Willis in it. He’s taking pot shots at us!
2D: I alway thought you two got on.
Murdoc: Yeah, me too. Maybe he’s just got a grump on, you know, cause I stiffed him with that sarky bill at Nobo that one time. But you know, boy, that’s a bit dramatic to hunt me down and try and kill me. Eventually, just to escape this nut, I had to drive the car off a cliff! Straight into the sea!
2D: Is... this a dream you had?
Murdoc: No, you fool! You were there too, don’t you remember? Anyway, I was so traumatized by all this. My therapist told me to try and turn it into a positive experience. So, I used the footage to make a video for our Stylo single. It’s all out there on the world wide web, check it out. You won’t see anything finer you know.
Interviewer: Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett served as the producers for Plastic Beach. What kinds of methods and techniques did they use to help you create the album?
Murdoc: A lot of channelling. You see, in my dotage, I have come to realise that I’m not, um, hundred percent sure I truly exist. I may, and just may mind you, been born and thrust forth out of the collective minds of those two horrors. It doesn’t make me any less real but, uh, they did give me substance… or substances. I’m not sure. This interview is dragging on a bit, isn’t it? Can we, can we sort of pick up the pace a bit?
Interviewer: I think Glitter Freeze is one of the most interesting tracks on Plastic Beach. I mean it's fill with loud electronic synthesizers, features Mark E. Smith from The Fall on vocals. What was going through your mind when you created the song?
Murdoc: Rum. Rohypnol. Something exotic from the Navajo Nation. Little tinctures. Technicolor images of huge ships crashing in dirty, broken waves. The roar of the ocean smashing into angry, howling boats. Black, harrowing gales, spitting hurricanes against the shore. Was all chaos and madness being conducted by a toothless, barking pirate named Mark E. Smith from The Fall. That was going through my mind. It’s my version of Fantasia or maybe some mad old navel painting. It’s kind of, effective, don’t you think?
2D: Mark E. Smith tried to ram raid our island, Plastic Beach. He sailed in on the ghostly pirate ship and tried to smash his way into the recording room.
Murdoc: It’s a bit chemically synthetic. Glam rock stomp sat on a boat. Do you like it, do you? I think what the breakdown needs though is a great big air raid siren creaming its way into the middle. To let you know that there is danger coming your way.
2D: We did a few different versions of this actually. There’s one when I’m humming all the way through. Which sounded good. I wonder why we didn’t use that one.
2D: Yaaeary! Stop It!
Murdoc: Yeah, I wonder too. A track with you humming all the way through. Can’t think of why we wouldn’t have used that.
Interviewer: "On Melancholy Hill" the video that contains computer animated graphics with additional plastic looking images, I mean, how was this accomplished and how much planning did it take to create this, unique music videos?
2D: I don't know what you're talking about. It's just us in the video.
Murdoc: Well it's a little a little more then that, you dollop. This was one of Jamie's, yeah, Jamie Hewlett's ideas. He filmed us from where the Stylo video ended, it takes off from that point. So we're still in the, uh, the shark submarine, travelling towards what, for the, the viewer, is an unknown destination. See, I know where we're heading over to Plastic Beach.
2D: That's when the Cyborg Noodle went and coughed up that octopus. That frightened the life out of me.
Murdoc: If only. Anyway, this is where it gets good. I spotted this lump of rock, you know, this outcrop in the ocean with this manatee sunbathing on it. I'm not sure exactly what I had taken that day but the, uh, visuals were really strong. I started heading for the manatee in my snazzy little submarine. And then in the video, you can see we got some serious backup, you know. We joined by a host of other submarines of all shapes and sizes, all travelling to the same destination with me. And in the subs, guess who? My pals from the album! Lou Reed, Gruff Rhys, Snoop Dogg, Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, De La Soul. The boys! But then, you know, it gets a bit darker. We can see that the manatee is covered in barbed wire and it's... it's... the Boogieman! Trying to take the poor creature down under, into the murky depths of the ocean. (deep breath) So yeah, yeah, Melancholy Hill, that's a place on the island, the Melancholy Hill on Plastic Beach. It's that feeling, that place that you get in your soul sometimes, like someone's let your tires down, yeah? A bit deflated. I normally get that around Tuesday morning, clears up again around Thursday and I'm ready to start all over again. (another deep breath) But, it all seems quite real when I'm going through it.
2D: I only really joined the band to make music. And now, I'm being held captive by a basted bass player, in an underwater submarine, being attacked by sodding pirates, who are trying to take over this rotten piece of broken plastic in the ocean, that Gorillaz call home. All this, just ta make a video. It's making me want to DIE!
Murdoc: Okay, yeah! Despite the obvious trauma involved, this has to be the best Gorillaz video yet. And Noodle, the real Noodle's back! I-I don't know where she is, but this footage shows her being shot at and then escaping into a life boat. It's definitely her though. And Russel's in it too. I don't know what he's been eating but, he is giant. Giant!
Interviewer: Your music videos tend to have a heavy amount of digital production and computer generated graphics, so how did you begin to create these videos and what methods and technologies did you use to create them?
Murdoc: Ahhh! There's a variety of methods, sometimes I get out video director of, uh, choice, Jamie Hewlett, and say "look, this is the idea, okay?" Other times he's had a lesson to the track and he'll sketch a couple of ideas out. Sometimes we'll meet up and talk about it. Sometimes. I might mime the video out and then kind of, e-mail him a link. One time I got inside a box and mailed myself to him. It's always different. Once we've filmed the basic premise, you know, all synced up to the track, right. We'll send it over the, uh, Oompa Loompa's at Passion Pictures, and they'll, uh, get to work in their little underground mines, adding effects and extras. Just to give them the extra WOW factors.
Interviewer: So... What goals do you have for Plastic Beach, guys? I mean, what do you hope your fans will get out of this new and amazing album?
Murdoc: GOALS?! We've already done it! Plastic Beach is the document! That's the evidence! The third part of the trilogy! The third panel in my triptych! Look, I've said it before, but all this, is, you know, is a drawing, a sketch. Plastic Beach the rotting dump in the ocean is our home, for now. But the album is a picture postcard from here. A postcard from the edge of the world. From way back where you are, it might look like luxury, yeah? But as you get closer you'll see it for what it is, a horrible lump of plastic that's been painted pink. It's a fake luxury, transparent. So maybe it's, muh, I don't know, a warning, or a message. That maybe we shouldn't turn our world into a spray-painted skip, you know? But other goals, I don't know, I would like to play one of these Gorillaz concerts that's been cropping up. You know it's quite possible that, what happened all those years ago, is that Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, conjured us, Gorillaz, up. Four mad separate characters now made flesh. And now it seems they seem to be having quite a hard time sticking us back in the lamp. Boo Hoo! We're here now, and not even with the clashers back up are you going to defeat us. I'm more then happy to go to war with those goons. For real! I've been denied entrance of my stage many, many time now by those, ego-grabbing charlatans. Well I'm coming back see. And blood will spill! How's that for drama?
Interviewer: Aaand is there anything else that you want to tell your fans about the new album, Plastic Beach?
Murdoc: Um... Yeah. Well, it might jus the missing part of the jigsaw, real fans will know what I'm talking about, you know? Oh, and yeah, there is one other thing, Plastic Beach, this place I'm on. I think there is something very odd going on here. You see, I just noticed, and it's easy enough to point out, that each leap of evolution and innovation have been shorter, and shorter amount of time. The universe was created 14 billion years ago. Earth 4 1/2 billion years. Man arrived in its earlier state about 4.5 million years ago. And then we evolved into this state, Homo sapiens, around 200 thousand years ago. The earliest cities appeared around 6-7 thousand years ago over in Mesopotamia. And then we've been at war, ever since really, right up until the last 100 years. Then we really kicked off. Population of the planet had gone from 1 billion to 7 billion in the last 100 years. And every single piece of digital information and technology has exploded in this last century. We are crammed packed and it's getting more and more. Escalating. The over load. Humanity is now squeezed into this tiny plastic bubble. Everything getting fasted and fasted whirling towards an inevitable conclusion. A single point on the horizon, or in the middle of the ocean, say. The entire of time and history and evolution is heading towards a certain point. Point Nemo. Plastic Beach. That's what Plastic Beach is, I reckon, the end of days, the point of no return. It's right here. It's right now. It's upon us. The future has finally come on, today... Does that make sense? Yeah? Right! I'm off for a tinkle, great talking to you. Come on 2D, let's grab a quick sharpener, last one at the bar is a wanker. (Murdoc leaves with a bang of a door)
2D: Uhhh... Thank you, and goodnight.
(end of interview)