Gorillaz: Meet the Collaborators
As well as finding time in their schedule to speak to us for our May cover story, Gorillaz reconnected with some of the esteemed guests from Humanz for a series of quick catch ups about studio methods, Britpop power struggles and Brooklyn royalty.
For the rest of our Gorillaz coverage, visit Gorillaz: Come Inside
Russel hits up NYC fashionista Zebra Katz
You’ve got some wild features on the album. How did you feel when Gorillaz first reached out to collaborate with you, and what did you think of the Sex Murder Party beat when you first heard it?
When producer Twilite Tone first reached out to me about the project I didn’t think much would come out of the initial studio session we had in Williamsburg. After the overall shock and awe of it all, I had another sessions with Damon and the Gorillaz team in London, and then again in Jamaica where I heard Sex Murder Party for the first time. My first impression after hearing it was ‘ohhhhh lets go!’. I was feeling the vibe and inspiration behind how the title came about.
Everyone was wylin’ out on that track. How would you describe the vibe of your verse?
My verse is an ode to all the loves in your life that left you high and dry. It’s about that wallflower in the corner of the party who calmly watches the chaos unfold. Other than yourself, which featured artist on Humanz has the dopest fashion style?
You sure do know how to make a black thang blush. I wouldn’t know what style and performance were without Grace Jones. Grace is my everything!
I feel like I made some of my best stuff when I was literally possessed by the spirits of other MCs. Have you ever felt like you’re possessed by the spirit of someone else?
Each time I hit the stage or begin the writing process I evoke the four corners and summon some divine spirit from a past life or nearby portal to another dimension. It feels good to black-out from reality and let the divine muse inspire and take over.
I was born in Brooklyn. Who’s the best Brooklyn rapper of all time?
All hail Queen Pen!
2D probes Savages singer Jehnny Beth
Murdoc is definitely the most evil member of Gorillaz. Who’s the most evil member of Savages?
I’d say we all have a bit of evil inside. Even if it’s just being mischievous. I’m sure you have that too darling. There’s something inevitably vicious that can develop when you spend so much time with people.
I’ve heard that you do wild crowd surfing at your gigs. I’d be worried that someone would nick my trainers. Do you think I need to make more effort in Gorillaz? I think Murdoc is stealing my thunder.
I’d definitely nick your trainers if I was in the crowd for your surfing! But if you felt like jumping one day you should definitely do it. It’s the best feeling in the world. I never thought I’d be crowd walking one day, but it happened over time as the connection with the crowds grew stronger and I felt it helped deliver the message that I wanted to deliver. I was looking for something to happen because I’m terribly bored at gigs.
Noel Gallagher sang with us on We Got The Power. That was nice. Who do you prefer, Blur or Oasis?
Oh it’s a hard one… I think when I was a teenager I was more into Blur. But now I’m older I’m actually more into Oasis. So I guess both – but not at the same time!
We also reminded people that they’ve got the power to love one another. Why do you think they need to be reminded?
I think the message works in this context because the song comes at the end of the album and at this point a lot has already been said. It doesn’t just stand on its own. It’s a rather dark record in general, so the song comes as a relief at the end and it’s hopeful, but not without consciousness. So it’s my kind of hope! I like to be reminded about love, but it has to come from a dark place, otherwise I don’t buy it.
Murdoc quizzes Detroit rapper Danny Brown
You used to have chipped teeth like me, but I seen you’ve gone and got them fixed. I think ladies like bad teeth. Do you feel like your sex life has gone down hill since you fixed them?
I haven’t actually gotten them fixed – I just cover them up with this nice sparkly shiny diamond grill and my sex life has gone up tremendously. We all know diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
On our song Submission you said you’re “losing faith in a world of sin”. What’s your favourite sin – Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath or Sloth?
My favourite sin is probably Lust. Nothing like wanting something you can’t have, and then actually getting it and realising that it’s not for you…
You also said your “soul is in handcuffs” on that song. I know the feeling mate. When was the last time your hands were in handcuffs?
Had to be over 10 years ago – I was arrested on some old charges and had to do eight months of my life in county jail. One of the lowest points of my life.
You’ve got some grubby lyrics Danny. What’s the muckiest thing you’ve ever said on a song?
Well, I have a lot of mucky lyrics but probably any line from + Will – that whole song’s pretty mucky.
It was a laugh working with you Danny, the members of Gorillaz are so boring sometimes. If you could have a night out with me, no expense spared, where would you take me and what would we do?
Hell yeah. That would be great, definitely let’s go to Vegas hire a bunch of strippers in a penthouse suite and see where the night takes us. LOL.
Noodle meets LA soul diva Kali Uchis
Hot Yoga. Quantum physics. Demon Hunting. Just some of the things I do to chill out after the studio. Kali, what do you do to find calm?
That’s a tough list to beat there, Noodle… Mostly I like to find a quiet place in nature to sit, and write and draw in my journal.
I have no time for conformists, probably because I’m a Libra. Do you relate to your star sign?
I’m a cancer all the way, deeply intuitive and sentimental but very much a fighter.
I gained my powers through the super soldier program. Do any women in your life harness otherworldly powers?
Truly all of the women in my life are super human creatures sent to earth. My mom has hearing powers, you’ll be talking quietly down the street to someone and she will respond yelling out the window from her bedroom.
2D / Murdoc / Russel – Kiss / Marry / Kill?
I’m gonna go ahead and kill Murdoc ‘coz I don’t trust the look in his eyes – like he might kill me if I don’t kill him first. 2D on the other hand doesn’t have eye balls so he’s cool by me, I’m gonna marry him ‘coz I have a thing for gap teeth. And Russel I’ll kiss ‘coz personally I like ‘em skinny, so I can’t marry him unfortunately.
I find martial arts sufficient for dealing with my enemies. What’s your preferred method?
My enemies are all dead to me, we do not exist in the same dimension.
When we hang out in Japan, we’ll probably visit the T -ji Temple in Kyoto. What will we do in LA?
Go to my favourite secret beach full of wild flowers.
I featured you in my playlist of music by inspiring kick-ass women. Which women are inspiring you right now?
One of my favourite writers, Zoraida Córdova.