Gorillaz, comic strip, music and cover-art
Gorillaz, the Now-Now of the cover-art
The albums of Gorillaz are true graphic art works as the staff on board consists in the unprecedented alliance of graphic designer and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett and musician, singer and songwriter performer Damon Albran.
The story begins when ...Locked up in a shared flat in 1997, binge watching MTV, they came up with the idea of creating a virtual band with 4 animated characters: Murdoc, 2D, Russell and Noodle. Breaking free from true personalities of real pop-rock bands, the 4 characters could embody the most outrageous and caricatural flaws of regular stars and could go through the most extravagant adventures.
Jamie Hewlett is deep into the world of cartoon-strips and fanzines since the end of the 80ies. Deadline, the magazine where he created Tank Girl, a spunky post-apocalyptic heroine with a kangaroo boyfriend, has closed in 1996. He has already designed the vinyl covers for Cud and for The Senseless Things when they met in 97.
Damon Albran has grown up at the crossroad of different musical influences. Leading figure of Blur, an English alternative rock band formed in London in 1988, he is also the leader of brit-pop The good, The bad & The queen, participates in Rocket Juice and the Moon and in other collaborative music projects such as Mali Music.
Leafing through tons of interviews, one cannot but find Jamie Hewlett a friendly and easygoing character. He describes his creative work with modesty as often being the result of flatsharing + music + friends. The first time, flatsharing with Alan Martin listening to London Calling of the Clash resulted in the creation of Atomtan, followed later on by Tank Girl, at another time flatsharing with Damon Albran fueled the Gorillaz project. He compares himself to the Duc of Edimbourg always walking one step behind the Queen, waiting to get Damon’s songs to begin to draw new Gorillaz visuals.
The Gorillaz creations ...
NB: the Gorilla vinyls presented in the picture are displayed in the invisible vinyl frame VinylWaller
Today, Gorillaz is a successful band, with 6 albums, several millions albums sold, multiple awards, mythical live performances, a wide aray of musical collaborations with talented guest stars from different music backgrounds… Gorillaz gave Damon Albran an absolute freedom away from his previous Brit-rock identity to experience all sorts of musical fusion with famous artists and musical influences. Gorillaz gave Jamie Hewlett, the opportunity to give life to 4 mutant characters, through drawings, scenarii, vinyl covers, video animations, screens for live performances, drawings for the brand of clothing that embodies the identity of the band G Foot and for the Gorillaz Tattoo Bus which follows Gorillaz life stage performances.
This collaboration was also the creative starting point of a visual and musical opera -Monkey, Journey to the West- stage adaptation of the novel by Wu Cheng'en.
In addition to their 6 albums – Gorillaz (2001), Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010), the Fall (2011), Humanz (2017), The Now Now (2018) – a large series of singles was released : Clint Eastwood, 19-2000, Rock the House, Tomorrow comes Today, Lil’Dub Chefin, Feel Good Inc.,Dare, Dirty Harry, El Manana / Kids with guns, Stylo, Superfast Jellyfish, Eyes, Doncamatic, Phoner to Arizona, Revolving Doors / Amarillo, DoYaThing, Saturnz Power, Ascension, Andromeda…
Life goes on. A beautiful book about Hewlett Artwork was edited by Taschen last year. After the release of their last album in June, the band went on tour. Their next show is scheduled on October 30th in LA for the Demon Days.