June 25, 2013

Jamie Hewlett - We will release a new Gorillaz album

News on Damon Albarn's virtual band Gorillaz had been sparse and few this year, but the latest snippet of information may just make a fan's day. Jamie Hewlett has confirmed that there will be a new Gorillaz album out in the future, but only after Damon's main band Blur has put out their new record.

Jamie revealed the new Gorillaz plans that he and Damon discussed for the future whilst speaking at a launch event for the pair's opera 'Monkey Journey To The West' in New York city recently. A fan that attended the event claims that Hewlett talked about the future of Gorillaz, but admitted he would have to wait for Blur to make their album first.

The fan on Gorillaz fan-site Gorillaz-Unofficial claims that Jamie Hewlett said: "There’s a five- year gap between the albums because they take a long time to do and and they’re very exhausting and when you’re finished you feel like you need to go do other stuff." 

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Jamie also added: "So Damon’s touring with Blur – he's doing a world tour with Blur at the moment and then they’re working on a new album so there isn’t really time for him, and I’m doing other stuff as well. So I think it’s, um, we’ll come back to it when the time’s right." 

The Gorillaz animator and comic artist also talked about how difficult it will be for a new Gorillaz record to be commercially successful. He is reported to have said that "the music industry’s changed so much since we started doing Gorillaz. There’s no money in the industry so you know you get these amazing new bands, like The Strypes from Ireland, kind of 14 years old [sic], you know, the best rhythm blues guitarist you’ve ever seen. Age 14, make songs and film it in their bedroom. It doesn’t cost anything, and so Gorillaz is kind of expensive. It’s expensive to do because it’s animated."

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Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett had previously released four Gorillaz albums, including the commercially successful 'Demon Days' in 2005 and their latest, semi-experimental 'Plastic Beach' record in 2010. The musical pair had a fall-out late last year, but is currently reported to be on good terms.

During Blur's world tour show in the Asia World Expo at Hong Kong, Damon Albarn announced to the audience that the band were heading back into the studio. "So we have a week in Hong Kong, and we thought it would be a good time to try and record another record," he said at the time.

Blur are reported to have made a demo tape during their week in the city, using up time that would have been spent rehearsing for the cancelled Taiwan gig.

Additionally, Alex James recently reported that Blur's new recording sessions are going "very well".

Will there be a new Gorillaz album out?

What's next for Blur and Gorillaz? Will there be two new studio albums released, one after the other? Or will plans suddenly change yet again? And what about Damon Albarn's solo album that is still the making? The original report is not official, and the confirmation claims are based on a fan comment - to what extend are the rumours true?

All that is official for now is that Blur will be heading to Dublin's Irish Museum of Modern Art on August 1st 2013 to play their only show in the British Isles this year. The date marks Blur's first show in Ireland in four years.

Blur Tour 2013 - Full dates and rundown  HERE
Blur @ Coachella- video and image gallery HERE 
Damon Albarn- "We are going to try to record a new album" HERE
Blur Europe Tour News  HERE
Order the new Blur: Parklife (Live at Hyde Park CD / DVD) HERE


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March 29, 2013

Monkey: Journey To The West to kickstart in USA - Damon Albarn does Opera

To the West it goes - Damon Albarn's opera "Monkey: Journey To The West" is journeying  truly to the 'west' of the world map. Fans in USA will be able to witness the show because the opera will be playing in this year’s Lincoln Center Festival.

The production, created by Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz partner Jamie Hewlett, originally premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2007. The new set of productions will be Monkey: Journey To The West's New York debut. It will be staged 27  times at the David H. Koch Theater, from July 6 to 28.

“It sold more tickets than any other single event in the 36-year history of Spoleto,” said Nigel Redden, director of the Lincoln Center Festival, “But it’s never been in New York and to some extent, many artists feel their work has not premiered in the U.S. until it has premiered in New York.”

Monkey: Journey to the West is a tale about a monk's perilous, adventurous and self-discovering journey from China to India while he searches for sacred Buddhist scripts. The opera is headed by legendary director Chen Shi-Zheng and features original music from Damon Albarn. It combines theater with illustration (by Jamie Hewlett), Chinese martial arts, acrobatics and dance. An official album of the soundtrack was released in 2008.

"A high-octane, 90-minute rock 'n' roll circus…breathtaking." —Guardian 

"A life-enhancing triumph." —Evening Standard (U.K.) / "The event of the year." —Time Out London

Even though Damon Albarn hasn't revealed any new plans for Gorillaz material, it seems that his previously rocky relationship with Jamie Hewlett has repaired, replenished and rejuvenated. After all they will be working closely together for the new set of shows in America.

Perhaps Damon Albarn will decide to release new Gorillaz material, if all goes well with Jamie and the opera. A good plan after the Blur shows of 2013?

Monkey: Journey To The West (Lincoln Centre Festival 2013)
Date Time 
Jul-06 8:00 PM (preview) 
Jul-07 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM (previews)
Jul-09 8:00 PM
Jul-10 8:00 PM
Jul-11 8:00 PM
Jul-12 8:00 PM
Jul-13 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul-14 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul-16 8:00 PM
Jul-17 8:00 PM
Jul-18 8:00 PM
Jul-19 8:00 PM
Jul-20 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul-21 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul-23 8:00 PM
Jul-24 8:00 PM
Jul-25 8:00 PM
Jul-26 8:00 PM
Jul-27 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul-28 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM