May 18, 2012

Speculation on the new Blur - Britpop re-emerging with a completely new sound ?

Yes, the future's been so different while we're gone... 
Feature Article by

 We are going to try to speculate about Blur's future sounds, and future plans, albeit the limited information out there in the Blur-o-sphere. Read on to find out our theories and analysis. 

Blur is, essentially, making our brains foggy. There has been a bombardment of news, interviews and mixed information about Blur's prospectus in the year 2012. Blur may make new material. Wait- actually Blur may not make any new material at all. Blur are also, definitely, going to be playing one of their most important gigs ever this year- the Olympics Hyde Park summer shows. 

So what is in store for us fans, who have followed, anguished and screamed in excitement about the band we know and love?

To start off, there is some great news for all Blur fans out there. Damon Albarn has revealed that Blur, far from their rumoured disbanding/ splitting up/ fall out, is actively back in the studio recording new tracks.

Damon Albarn appeared on the Andrew Marr show on BBC Radio 1 in the morning of May 13th 2012. He said that Blur were doing some recordings "next week" or "the week after", and that there could well be more than one new song played at the Hyde Park Olympic summer shows.

"A couple, maybe a couple. We're going to do some more recording" - Damon Albarn, May 13th 2012 

This recent development is certainly generating great hype amongst Blur's fan base. Could this, once again, be another comment to throw fans off another direction? Or is it genuine, positive news?

The Blur camp has been full of emotional ups and downs lately. Moods have been soaring sky high with the announcement of the Olympics Hyde Park summer gigs (when it was thought 2009 was their last). Moods dipped to an all time low when previously, Damon Albarn announced Blur are 'over', and that they will quit after the summer gigs.

Damon have also said Blur will not record new songs. The Guardian did a revealing interview where Blur were made to sound like it's over permanently. Damon Albarn later seemingly changed his mind (or perhaps it was the biased reporting) and quashed his statements in ShortList magazine. He, apparently, "completely lost it" when he made those statements.

Damon on the cover of The Guardian interview, which rocked the Blur fan-base 
Guitarist Graham Coxon and Drummer Dave Rowntree also made several statements deeming the bleak future of Blur. Bassist Alex James also said many varied things about the band's prospects, and not all of it was positive. Who can we believe?

Another revealing new development: William Orbit (producer of Blur's 13) made a harsh tweet calling Damon Albarn a 'pig' recently. Straight off his twitter feed was the agressive remark:

"Blur. Awesome band. Damon, brilliant. No question. + hard working as can 100% relate. But as a person, turned out to be a pig."

Could this be the beginning of a feud between Blur and the super producer? We speculate that perhaps Damon and the band recorded several new tracks with Orbit at the beginning of this year, but some how, things did not work out for the collaboration. Maybe Damon was fickle in his choice and opinions, ideas and music talents clashed.

Quite possibly, the news that Blur are "recording again" means that they were re-recording the tracks they recorded with Orbit after being displeased with the results. Orbit is appearing on BBC Radio 6 to speak about this fall-out - but we have to ask, why is he making public attacks on Damon Albarn? Why the bitter remarks? Is this another random massive fall out between strong minded people of the music business?

Damon with violin - back to Modern Life is Rubbish / The Great Escape orchestral, wispy sounds? 
Or, Blur could be reuniting with their early producer Stephen Street for a different sound. After all, Street is producing and remastering the whole Blur catalogue for the 'Blur21' massive compilation box set, set for release in July 2012. They could have chosen anyone otherwise if nothing was up.

No one knows what is going to happen yet this year. Blur, being Blur, keeps us guessing - imagine Damon taunting: "It really really could happen" and then changing his mind!

A very young Blur - will their new tracks sound 'Leisure'-esque?
After all, Blur is an unpredictable band that changes constantly. The sounds range from early Indie tunes like in ''Leisure', to the Britpop sounds of 'Modern Life is Rubbish' and 'Parklife', to the American Rock sound from 'Blur', melancholic / sonic sounds from Orbit's '13' and finally, the low-fi rock of 'Think Tank'.

Maybe Blur decided they have outgrown Orbit's sonic, psychedelic sound of the early 2000s and want to embrace something new. Or perhaps Damon's leaning towards more of a 'Fool's Day' feel, the ballads that matches drums and piano tunes together in an almost 'The Good The Bad and The Queen' style. Damon's new opera 'Dr Dee' definitely shows traces of his love for folk, piano ballad pop, which seems to be cropping up a lot in Damon's post-Blur projects.

Hot off BBC 6's twitter - What's up with Billy Orbit ?

Blur's latest song 'Under the Westway' certainly seems to be heading towards the general direction of what we mentioned above. Slow, sad and reflective... could this be Blur's new sound? Piano ballads? 'Apple-Carts'-esque tunes? If so, then it would be very interesting to hear what new tracks Damon and company are currently recording. Maybe Dave's drums will only feature on limited tracks.

That's not to say that Blur will release a new album any time soon. There seems to be no album plans in store for the immediate future. At most, perhaps we will get a few new tracks from the band. Or will these "new tracks" and recordings even see the light of day? What if Damon changes his mind yet again?

Damon, after all, did say he was recording with Graham Coxon again recently (click to read). Is he planning some sort of solo album with Graham only? Certainly, he seems to be getting on with the guitarist very well lately, more so than "the other two" ? Is a Graham Coxon/ Damon Albarn album in the works? Note- Dave and Alex had little to say in the media recently about their band.

Future two man show ? 
Listen to the latest Blur interview chat below (credit to Gorillaz Unofficial for the recording) where Damon revealed there may be more than 1 new song and feel free to leave a comment, vote on our poll and tell us your views on what you think of all the new developments.

Blur can now move on to many possible roads- it's up to the boys to decide which road to take. Which one would they choose ?

Damon Albarn says it's the End of Blur! Read HERE
Is Damon and Graham Coxon recording together? Find out HERE
Check out Blur's rumoured new album HERE


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May 3, 2012

Damon Albarn clarifies that Blur are not ending

Damon Albarn has spoken out finally about The Guardian interview a while ago, when he deemed the 'end of Blur' and possibly Gorillaz, his successful virtual band. The good news? He dismissed the rumours surrounding the comments he made in the article, which definitely helped clear up many of the things he said previously.

In the latest issue of ShortList, Damon seemed quite unhappy about how some of the comments he made got distorted - and even got to correct some of it.

When asked whether Blur will make a new record in the future, he stated that there are no concerete plans as of right now, but that the band will see how it is after their massive Olympics Hyde Park 2012 gigs-  "It would be interesting to see where it would arrive, because it would be very different, I'd imagine."

He also said that "there could be another Gorillaz album", as he was willing to make the music as long as Jamie Hewlett wanted to collaborate and do the illustration.

It seems that the article implied Damon is not saying Blur's over, The Guardian article exaggerated his comments and that the four boys are on good terms. It also seems that the Hyde Park gig this summer will be the make-or-break gig which may just determine the band's future prospect.

Albarn also said he was willing to collaborate with Noel Gallagher "if he [came] on the African Express train this September". The African Express Train will be Damon Albarn's new musical tour, set inside a train, travelling around Britain (click here to read more).

Scroll down for the scans for Damon's ShortList interview below (credits to JackS for the scans).

It's brilliant news that Damon Albarn, the frontman, finally clears up the rumours and mixed messages so prevalent in recent media about Blur. Now, it all boils down to Hyde Park and whether the gig for the London Closing Ceremony will be a success, or a disaster.

Read Damon's full Guardian interview deeming the end of Blur HERE


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April 26, 2012

Gorillaz to make a new album - Damon Albarn on the future of his bands

BLUR NEWS: It's official - Blur is not over! Furthermore, Gorillaz will record another record in the future, even though the date is not announced yet; Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn has repaired their relationship and amended differences and all seems bright and well. 

The Metro featured a plain, no-nonsense interview with Damon Albarn, frontman of Blur and Gorillaz (amongst other projects) and it seems very positive. The interview is printed with little authorial intervention, and is in a question/answer format.

Albarn spoke out about Blur and Gorillaz's future, stating (quote from Metro) :

Are Blur and Gorillaz both finished?

No. That comes from an article which was an interesting take on a very long conversation. I don’t know how we’ll feel when we play Hyde Park. Some days I feel one way and other days I feel the other. If you don’t see something as a career but as an important part of your life, you don’t know how you’re going to feel about it. We want to put on a great performance but nothing’s been said between us about the beginning or the end. 

What about Gorillaz? 

When Jamie  [Hewlett] and I have worked out our differences, I’m sure we’ll make another record. 

Will that be difficult? 

I don’t think so. We’ve been through too much together for it to be that big of a mountain to climb. We’ve just fallen out like mates do sometimes. I’m not the only person to fall out with mates and then make up again – everyone does it. 

Are you looking forward to the Hyde Park gig in August? 

Very much so. I love playing with Blur – it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. At the same time, though, I don’t want to cock it all up by staying around too long and making a fool of myself. At 44, there’s a little trepidation about jumping around on stage but I love it. 

Were you happy with your  performance at the Brits? 

Yes. I went there to thank our manager, Chris Morrison, and to have a laugh. I enjoyed myself. We take ourselves a lot less seriously now in the context of things like awards. 

What’s the worst gig you’ve done?

There have been a few but when things did go wrong we immediately rectified them for the next night. One stage in Spain was blown away in a storm but we werent on it, thankfully. 

What are you proudest of achieving?

Pride isn’t something I indulge in. I think everything could have been better. I could definitely improve on my interview technique. 

Have you visited Alex James’s cheese farm? 

Yes I have. I’ve tasted his cheese. It’s very good. What can I say? I’m not a 
cheese expert but it tasted like cheese to me. 

What are people’s misconceptions of you? 

That everything that comes out of my mouth is serious. 

What’s been your most extravagant purchase?

I’ve bought a lot of bicycles over the years but mainly because they keep getting nicked. I don’t go too high-end, just keep it basic. I usually buy them from a shop on Golborne Road [west London] and they’ve seen a few of my bikes cycling down the road with someone else on them. Every time they see it happen, they say: ‘Damon will be in again to buy another one.’

His new interview with the Metro is quite a positive for Blur and Gorillaz fans. It offers a bit more hope amidst the recent rumours that Blur are splitting up again. These rumours were fuelled by myriad of comments from Damon, Graham, Dave and Alex about the uncertain future of Blur and the group’s “last’ gigs.

The Band, all together, with a fan
Plus, Gorillaz is not over...yet. Is Damon saying that there will be a new Gorillaz album? Then he and Jamie Hewlett’s arguments are over? Or will Damon continue to change his mind, in each separate interview he does? It seems all positive here, yet again.

The thing is, Damon seems insecure in recent interviews. He has to stop thinking Blur's all about jumping around and making a racket on stage - it's about the music. Sure, stage antics are fun to watch, and jumping around does show energy. But Damon, it's ok if you just sing, and play "music for the ears".

Maybe it all depends on Damon’s mood – feeling low? No more Blur. Feeling alright? Blur and Gorillaz are back. Or perhaps the “Blur’s future” response “hat” that Graham talked about recently exists. Pick and choose your answer.

Feeling moody, Damon ? 
However, this interview definitely sparked new hope in fans, who thought that the band’s over for good after Hyde Park 2012. It’s a much more hopeful piece of evidence that Blur’s still going strong. 

It just goes to show that, with Damon, anything really, really could happen.

Download and listen to the full Damon Albarn / Stuart Maconie interview by CLICKING HERE (credits to Gorillaz Unofficial). Damon talks about Blur and Dr Dee.

Click HERE to read the full Metro interview, where Damon speaks more on Dr. Dee 

Leave a comment below and vote in our poll - what do you think of Blur's return - is it truly "to the end", or will they remain musically "young and lovely" ?
Read Damon's full Guardian interview deeming the end of Blur HERE

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April 8, 2012

The Death of a Blur (and possibly Gorillaz) - Damon Albarn speaks out

BLUR NEWS: Damon Albarn has spoken out about Blur's future, and it does not look bright. The Guardian featured an insightful, in-depth interview with the Blur, Gorillaz frontman on April 7th 2012. It also featured several new Damon Albarn pictures, taken against a nature backdrop.

The article goes, as follows, because we could not have written it better (SOUCE: THE GUARDIAN):

Damon Albarn: Gorillaz, heroin and the last days of Blur
Do Blur have a future? Are Gorillaz gone for good? Is his feud with Noel Gallagher really over? The heroin issue… Damon Albarn answers some tricky questions
John Harris
The Guardian, Sat 7 Apr 2012

You get a good view from the top floor of Damon Albarn's west London studio: the uneven sprawl extending out towards Kensal Green and Wormwood Scrubs. The first thing you notice, though, is the huge elevated road celebrated by Albarn's band Blur, whose single For Tomorrow crystallised the queasy alienation of London living as a matter of being "lost on the Westway".
Soon enough, Albarn tells me, what we can see is set to be transformed by a 34-storey student hall of residence. He is not best pleased, and having registered a planning objection, his pain has been poured into a new song he plays me just before I go home, full of references to "men in yellow hats" and a world "where the money always comes first".
This is Under The Westway, premiered by Albarn and Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon at a charity concert in February, now recorded by the group as a one-off single and set to feature in the huge show they will play in Hyde Park on 12 August, as part of the closing festivities for the Olympics. "We recorded it live," he says. "One take. It's the first Blur song where it's been one take, because previously I never finished the lyrics before we recorded. This time, I'd done that, so we were actually able toperform it."
A tentative smile. "Which is quite nice, because I don't really see any more recordings after this. So it's nice to have finally done one song where we did it properly."
This is big news. Having seemingly been laid to rest in 2003, Blur got back together five years later. In 2009, they played at Glastonbury, Hyde Park, the Oxegen Festival in Ireland and the Scots festival T In The Park. It looked as if that was probably that, but ever since, some people's hopes that Blur might make a new album and return to the touring circuit have been regularly tickled – by news of rehearsals and recording sessions, a stand-alone single titled Fool's Day (2010), and of late, their performance at the Brit Awards and the announcement the Hyde Park gig. In what remains of the music press, the four of them are regularly exhorted just to get on with it and decisively reunite.
This is what the popular culture of the early 21st century is like. Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses are both back together. Pulp reunited last year; Blur's old adversaries Suede were also on the road. This summer, you can once again see Queen without Freddie Mercury.
Albarn, though, is going against the grain – and what he's talking about sounds like a full stop, certainly as far as new music is concerned. "I believe so," he says. "I believe so. I find it very easy to record with Graham. He's a daily musician. With the other two, it's harder for them to reconnect. You know what I mean? It's fine when we play live – it's really magical still – but actually recording new stuff, and swapping musical influences… it's quite difficult."
So no more Blur records?
"No, I don't think so."
And will you play live again after Hyde Park?
"No, not really."
This is even bigger news. So that's it?
"I think so, yeah," he says. A little later, he goes on: "And I hope that's the truth: that that's how we end it. I don't know: you can write scripts, and they always end up going… [pause]… well, one thing I've learned, and I'm sure you're exactly the same, is that everything I think I've got totally sorted out, and I know exactly what's going to happen – it never works out that way…"
So how should I put it? That in all likelihood, this is the end of Blur?
"In all likelihood, I would say. [pause] Oh, God…"
I meet Albarn at 10 o'clock on a Thursday morning, the day before he turns 44. Whenever possible, he keeps office-ish hours at his west London base ("10 till 5 or 5.30, five days a week – all school holidays off"), which partly explains a work rate that makes most musicians look like sloths. A self-titled album by Rocket Juice And The Moonhas just been released: the work of Albarn, the renowned Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, Michael "Flea" Balzary of Red Hot Chili Peppers and a diverse supporting cast. In the role of producer, Albarn has just finished a record by the soul icon Bobby Womack. He is also starting a new solo album. Yet he does not have the appearance of a man burdened by work: he explains all this while sporadically tugging on an early-morning joint.
Before I set off to meet him, I spend an afternoon going through 1990s music magazines. Tucked into a copy of Select from 1998, I find a photocopied handbill for a production of Jacques Offenbach's operetta Orpheus In The Underworld, staged at Stanway Comprehensive in Colchester in the early 1980s. The cast list features Albarn as "Jupiter (King of the Gods)", while Coxon is a bit further down, playing "Styx (servant of Pluto)".
"How have you got that?" he marvels. He says he must have been 12 or 13 at the time.
As school productions go, it looks quite high end. "You should have seen it. It wasn't that high end. But we were incredibly lucky: we had a fantastic music teacher, Mr Hildreth. We did Orpheus, Oh! What A Lovely War – fantastic. We did The Boy Friend – not so fantastic. We did Guys & Dolls – incredible. And we did a bit of West Side Story as well. A really nice cross section."
And do you recall what playing Jupiter actually involved? "A lot of cotton wool for a beard. And a piece of lightning made from BacoFoil and card."
The memories chime with another of Albarn's summer commitments: a second staging of Dr Dee, the opera that premiered at last year's Manchester International Festival and is now set to arrive at the English National Opera in London in late June, as part of the cultural Olympiad. Its subject is John Dee, the mathematician, alchemist and confidante of Elizabeth I, and it's less a straightforward story than an evocation of a very English mysticism that Albarn's songs project on to the country of today. His intention, he says, is to "sing about the past, but feel it in the present".
Albarn suspects that at least some of the production's hosts remain sceptical. "I know for a fact that there are some high up people at the English National Operawho are not particularly amused by my presence this summer," he says. "But, you know, I promise to clean up and shut the door at the end. I won't leave any mess."
What's fascinating about the production is that, for all its musical exotica and historical subject matter, Dr Dee has qualities that run through just about all the music Albarn has created since the late 1990s, whether with Blur, his hugely successful pop project Gorillaz, the short-lived quartet The Good, The Bad And The Queen, or in collaboration with the Chinese musicians who worked on the music for the jaw-dropping musical production Monkey: Journey To The West. All exude a craving for the sublime, and the abiding impression that the essence of what Albarn wants to convey is best captured by music, rather than mere words. This is hard stuff to explain, but he comes close when he says this: "I write emotionally. That's the only way I can do it."
And therein lies a tale. In the past, Albarn has talked about a point in the late 1990s where he broke through "the barrier of self-consciousness" and "never really looked back". And I wonder: what triggered it?
He mentions 13, the fuzzy, experimental, Blur album put out in 1999, and written in the aftermath of his split with Justine Frischmann, the one-time leader of Elastica, a band whose brilliance was almost completely snuffed out by heroin. He then goes quiet. "Well… a lot of things triggered it. I can't talk about this area, really. It's not really…"
He gets up, goes to the window, and distractedly looks at the view. "How does one talk about one's journey through life? It becomes a very different thing, doesn't it?"
Five minutes later, we're sitting on the balcony, talking about 13, whose second half is among the most underrated swathes of music in his career. And I ask him again: what happened?
"Oh God. Well, what do you think happened? Be honest."
Albarn has been asked about this before: in No Distance Left To Run, the documentary released after Blur's reunion in 2009, he talks very cagily about this period – when Britpop's garish colour scheme was replaced by much darker shades – and offers nothing more specific than the observation that "a lot of people's lives were fairly muddied by heroin". So, I give him my interpretation of what changed his approach to music: that he had an experience common to a lot of musicians from bohemian backgrounds. For all its grave dangers, that drug – perhaps in moderation, if such a thing is possible – sometimes opens up a side of them that they didn't know existed.
"That's an astute observation on your part," he says, "and I wouldn't disagree with it." For some reason, he then shakes my hand.
What's long struck me, I tell him, is that he wasn't exactly subtle about it. "I'm never subtle!" he laughs. In 1997, Blur released Beetlebum, the single that seemed to capture smack's soporific, ethereal effects, and ended with a refrain of "He's on/He's on/He's on it". On 13 there was a song titled Caramel, seemingly referring to the brown goo produced when heroin is heated up, and Trimm Trabb, a picture of sedated solitude in which Albarn sings, "I doze, doze away." But even though Frischmann's drug problems were becoming well known, nobody who wrote about Blur – myself included – seemed to cotton on (much like, perhaps, when Britain averted its eyes from the fact that YMCA by the Village People was a joyous hymn to the gay lifestyle).
"I thought everyone did," he says with a groan. "I thought everyone was just being really nice, and not making too much of a deal of it. Cos, you know, although I totally agree with your astute observation, the reality of any experimentation is that it can become habitual, and it can take over your life… [pause] I would never, ever disagree with the enlightening abilities of drugs, I also… you know… respect their potency. You have to have very good intentions, otherwise… even the best intentions in the world can go awry."
And did they with you?
"I think inevitably, they do with anybody who… you know… has that innate, spiritual kind of yearning."
In other words, nobody manages to do heroin on their terms.
"There's no such thing as our terms. There are only universal terms that we all have to abide by. And live with."
Interestingly, during the time we're talking about, heroin sent a lot of musicians into torpor and silence, as they hid behind their curtains. At the very least, a lot of them slowed down. Some of them probably even checked into California opiate addiction treatment centers or something. But Albarn didn't. "No. I've always got up in the morning, excited about making music. I genuinely feel lucky in that sense."
He regains his coherence. "It wasn't just that that changed me profoundly. It was going to Africa. That was a rehabilitation, in a sense, from that previous experience. And the opposite: it was all about clarity: freedom through clarity. An amazing, beautiful, humbling experience."
Albarn's partner, and the mother of his daughter Missy, is the artist Suzi Winstanley, who works in collaboration with Olly Williams: their working lives are centred on expeditions to remote parts of the world, where they produce paintings of both wild animals and the landscapes in which they live. She and Albarn became a couple circa 1998, and she gave him one particular idea that would quickly change his life: "She'd been travelling in Africa for 10 years previously. Going there was something I'd always wanted to do, but she inspired me to do it." In 2000, he went on an Oxfam trip to Mali and was profoundly affected by just about everything he experienced.
"It was just a really inspiring, colourful, bright, gorgeous place, you know? Apart from the music, which really is like a river that flows through Bamako [Mali's capital], I think the recycling market was the thing that stayed with me. It's just so huge…" He points to the top of a nearby street, and then indicates an area of around a square half-mile, at least. "You have women and children essentially, in temperatures up to 100 degrees, on the rubbish, picking out anything that has some use… they take the plastic and metal and rubber, and that's given to cleaners and renderers and preparers, and then down to where the road is, where there are ploughs, and rockets, and computers, all for sale.

"It's shocking in the sense that you think, 'This is really hard work.' But it's very practical. And extremely honest, and very productive. And if you could translate that humility, and ingenuity – well, there are lessons for all of us."
He has been going back ever since: Mali Music, an album made with some of the country's most notable musicians, was released in 2002, and African influences in Albarn's music remain a constant: the aforementioned Tony Allen was a member of the The Good, The Bad And The Queen, and is at the heart of Rocket Juice And The Moon (whose album also features the Ghanian rapper M.anifest), as well as being involved in Dr Dee; the same production's cast of musicians includes Madou Diabate, a virtuoso player of a Malian instrument called the kora.
Albarn's first visit to Mali capped a run of apparent epiphanies that had started with a visit to Iceland in 1996, and another "cleansing". "I used to have a recurring dream, as a child, of a black sand beach. And one hazy, lazy day [laughs], I was watching the TV and I saw a programme about Iceland, and they had black beaches. So I got on a plane, and booked into the Saga hotel. I didn't know it meant Saga holidays, for older people – I thought it was Saga as in Nordic sagas. But it was actually an OAP cruise hotel. I was on my own: I didn't know anybody. I went into the street, Laugavegur, where the bars are, and that was it."
What is it like since its catastrophic banking crisis? "Icelanders are a bit more durable. They're true existentialists. They really understand their environment and why they are all connected to it. I think it's to do with having lots of space."
Albarn was last there on New Year's Eve, when just before an early-morning drive back to the airport, he saw "the best Northern Lights I've ever seen… this blue, green, illumination, just flying across the whole of the sky".
So: Iceland, his drug-assisted artistic breakthrough, two months in Jamaica in 1999 ("An absolutely wonderful time," he later said. "I really felt like I'd escaped the darkness") – and, let us not forget, the birth of his daughter not long before. "All powerful experiences," he agrees. "And having a child, the most powerful of all of them."
Among the first products of Albarn's rebirth was Gorillaz, the project fronted by four cartoon characters and created in collaboration with Jamie Hewlett, the artist with whom he shared a house in between the end of his relationship with Frischmann and the decisive start of his life with Winstanley. To date, four albums, smattered with such wildly diverse guests as Shaun Ryder and Lou Reed, have been released under that name, and brought Albarn success often even greater than he enjoyed with Blur: certainly, Gorillaz has taken him much closer to the American mainstream than his first band ever managed.
"Gorillaz was a really wonderful, spontaneous thing," he says. "It started with two people sitting on a sofa, going, 'Let's make a band.'
'All right, I'll go into my studio and draw some characters.'
'I'll go in mine and make a tune, and we'll put them together.'"
Which brings us to another of today's revelations. Will there be more Gorillaz music?
"Er… unlikely."
That's a shame. Do you feel you're done?
"Jamie does, which is fair enough. I think we were at cross purposes somewhat on that last record, which is a shame. So until a time comes when that knot has been untied…"
The project's demise, he says, is a "long story", which seems to have reached a head in 2010, when Gorillaz toured as a huge band, and Hewlett's visuals were not nearly as central to the show as they had been. "It was one of those things," Albarn says. "The music and the videos weren't working as well together, but I felt we'd made a really good record, and I was into it. So we went and played it."
So are you and Hewlett talking? Did you fall out?
"Erm… well, that sounds very juvenile, doesn't it? But being juvenile about it, it happens. It's a shame."
By contrast, one very unlikely friendship has recently been cemented. Seventeen long years ago, in the wake of their famed 1995 fight over the number one position in the singles chart, Blur's rivalry with Oasis turned poisonous and was reflected in a particularly nasty standoff between Albarn and Noel Gallagher. It was stoked by the class differences between them, and gleefully talked up by the press. But earlier this year, they had a chance encounter, began to get on – and marked their joint attendance at the Brit awards by posing for the cameras, locked in a stagey embrace.
"I met him in Mayfair, in a nightclub. What normally happened in that situation was, we had a way of looking a certain way and walking past. It was like a code. But we broke the code that night, instantly. We looked at each other and said hello, and it made all the difference. A lovely man."
A man who, in 1995, said he hoped Albarn would "catch Aids and die".
He shrugs. "I know. There you go. I like his sense of humour. I like people I can be daft with."
Part of their rapprochement, he acknowledges, is that back in the frenzied era of Britpop, they had similar experiences at the exact same time. Coincidentally, they will soon have something else in common: an artistic life without the band that made their name. Which brings me to the last question: with Blur and Gorillaz gone, how will Albarn feel, setting out on a future with neither of his most famous brand names to help him?
"I'm just doing what I always do. It's a bit daunting sometimes, but it's important to keep challenging yourself. Maybe that's really old-fashioned." He thinks for minute. "I'm not old-fashioned, though. I'm…" He gropes for the right word, and then gives up, evidently itching to get back downstairs to work on some music. Below, the men in yellow hats are hard at work, getting ready to blot out the view for ever.
Again, no official news from Blur, but this interview seemed to suggest it's all over and that Hyde Park will be Blur's last gig. Alex and Dave are leading independent lives away from music, and perhaps Damon feels that it's difficult to record with them again. And yet, Damon does have control of Blur's future no matter what. 
But is this for real? Since the 2009 reunion, there has not been any new material, and Damon seems content to be on good terms with Graham Coxon again. He did say that Blur will never be together again way back in the early 2000s, but look what we have in 2012 again. 
If Hyde Park is going to be their last, then it seems likely the band's new box set will contain some footage or live recording of the final gig. Producer Stephen Street is currently remastering all Blur's tracks for a fixed release (click to read)
On a positive note, Under the Westway is going to be released as a single some time soon. One little piece of good news amidst these recent developments. William Orbit, super producer, did tweet recently (click to read) about Blur being "over" because Damon "is a shit" to the rest of the band. 

From what it seems, the recording sessions for Under the Westway were supposed to produce more new tracks, but for some reason Damon felt it wasn't working anymore. Or perhaps he had another fall out with Alex and Dave? 
Guess it's another long, and slightly depressing wait for some form of announcement (sad news?). Let us know what you think by commenting below or voting in the poll. 
Read all about Blur talking about their future HERE
Check out Blur's rumoured new album HERE

New tear jerker song HERE and check out their newest track HERE and read our REVIEW HERE.

Analyse other rumours and articles reported by us HEREHERE and HERE
Read all about Blur being BASHED AT THE BRITS HERE 

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