Interviewed by Radio 1’s MistaJam for the album that keeps slowly revealing its tracks like bread crumbs, Gorillaz offered the music industry yet another historic moment with their first “live” interview in all the band’s animated glory. Sounding at times as incoherent as Keith Richards, Murdoc monopolizes most of the line of questioning, though he does leave room for 2D to explain that he was kidnapped into the band. Murdoc insists, however, “He begged me–he begged me to take him on.”
While not vocal at any point, fellow bandmates–the George and the Ringo, if you will–Russel and Noodle loom over Murdoc and 2D in framed portrait form, ensuring that while they may be absent from the tête-à-tête, they are not forgotten.
For the most part, MistaJam attempts to get to the bottom of the recording process, including all the varied studios Gorillaz went to in order to meet with their many collaborators. 2D notes, “We spent a lot of time in Brooklyn. Love New York City.” At least someone still does, even if he’s not technically real.
Of one of their many collaborators, Grace Jones, Murdoc alluded to a bit of flirtation. “There was a twinkle in her eye,” Murdoc insists of his interaction with the iconic singer while recording with her, once again a testament to his irresistible charm.
And speaking of Murdoc’s overpowering charisma, how Ben Mendelsohn came to narrate the upcoming album is explained by 2D, who states that Murdoc poached him (there’s a lot of references to kidnapping throughout the interview) after seeing him on Bloodline.
As Murdoc talks up Benjamin Clementine’s vocals on “Hallelujah Money,” the first single released from Humanz on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, MistaJam asks if Gorillaz put the song and video out intentionally on that day. Murdoc starts quivering uncontrollably and says yes, after which 2D offers, “You gotta be careful when you say Donald Trump ’cause he gets all panicky.”
In that oblivious stoner sort of way, 2D and Murdoc try to downplay how their band has contributed to the synergy of music and technology, making the best use they can out of the latter rather than using it for the generally evil purpose of mining information for impure reasons. 2D obliges MistaJam’s request to explain the app Gorillaz launched in honor of Humanz that allows fans to enter the lens (incidentally, the app is called The Lenz) of their world, rather Pokémon Go-style.
As the interview, approximately twenty-nine minutes (real chatty characters they are), winds down, MistaJam gets to the fan portion of questioning, opening with: “Who’s your favorite writer and why?” Murdoc immediately replies, “Bob Kerouac.” “Who’s he?” “He’s a distant relation of Jack. He wrote a book called By the Side of the Road.” Clearly, that British wit doesn’t get lost in animated translation.
In the meantime, 2D is going to learn how to thatch in case this whole Gorillaz isn’t a life-long endeavor. Murdoc, on the other hand, will have to find something else to rely on besides twerking, which 2D assumed was Liverpudlian for going tuhwerk, as in “to work.” Oh The Beatles parallels never subside with this band.