The general description of their music is alternative rock and hip-pop but…are we really sure that this can deeply express who are Gorillaz?
The visual members of this so called collective are all skillful musicians but totally miserable animated characters:
2-D Vocals, Keyboard deeply influenced by Butorphanol Tartate, Phil Oakey and Lucio Fulci.
The Japanese Noodle to the Guitars influenced by Haiku Poetry, Lao Zi and Richie Sambora.
The man-mountain Russel Hobbs to the Drums has influences coming from Farrakhan and Chaka Khan.
The satanic Murdoc Niccals to the Bass and drum machine, he is influenced by Sabbath, Dub, J Andrew Anderson, Dennis Wilson and Satan.
The only permanent member is Albarn Damon vocals, bass, guitar.
Jamie Hewlett illustrator, visuals.
Mike Smith as keyboard.
Cass Browne drums and percussion.
Why this love for Monkeys?
Jamie Hewlett (co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl) and Damon Albarn (leader of Blur) called their project in 1998 Gorillaz in fact they are both born in 1968, which is the year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar.
Monkey: Journey to the West it’s also the title of the final opera, inspired by a Chinese theatrical old plot, and reinterpreted by Hewlett and Albarn for Cirque du Soleil.
Where do they live?
Plastic Beach is an island made of junks, crazy atmospheres, the unusual is routine, and the disgusting is the normality and is also the home of Murdoc from Gorillaz.
Formally formed in 2000 Gorillaz introduced the world to the animated four-piece, with their first single Clint Eastwood. Gorillaz.com attracted anything up to half a million visitors a month.
There was a manga, a vampire and Clint Eastwood…No it’s not the start of a bad joke. As we clearly understood Gorillaz have many focuses: on Chinese or Japanese cartoons, tradition, and animation, a great consideration for Clint Eastwood and they are also big fans of zombies and vampires. Many of their songs include horror quotations from movies like “The Amityville Horror,” “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Resident Evil” and “Shining”.
They are famous for loads of cooperation with other bands and artists, for example the second album Demon Days launched in May 2005, famous for the singles “Feel Good” “DARE” and “Dirty Harry”, features with guests like Ike Turner, Dennis Hopper, Neneh Cherry and De La Soul. When they are asked to describe themselves they are one of few bands that have the lucky and the opportunity to say the truth: “You know, the most successful virtual band ever!” But they are not only that, with the music video “Stylo” featuring Bruce Willis in 2008, they are also known to be the most viewed band on YouTube, 900.000 views in the first 24 hours.
Gorillaz are one of the most versatile and eclectic band of our time; they diversify, reinvent, experiment the art of making music in every other facet, touching sound and caressing new strings without fear of exceeding or cross the threshold of the cacophony. They quietly dare behind the scenes and occasionally give us a new single that surely will become the hit of the moment. At first these new bits will appear strange to us but after a few listens we will refine our ear to the unusual melody without being able to do without it.
Slow county of the first album it’s recalling Clearly the reggae bits, the last single, “DoYaThing”, instead features the hip hopper Andrè 3000 and the disco-electro tunes of James Murphy.
Every time this curious virtual band reinvents and starts to test itself not only musically but also visually. Having chosen a virtual imagery channel is unique and is a great modern idea but it could runs the risk of recurrence and repetition, the protagonists have to shock and astonish their fans every time with their never ending boringness faces.
Actually if we could pull over their music to a state of mind we would surely see ourselves on an immense landscape, remote, anonymous. You are driving aimlessly toward the horizon, inside your dirty old, but cool, car. Mischievous, no rules, with some contempt of society, to your right or left, your faithful traveling companion, he will be preferably as ugly and smelly as possible, and he will surely invoke a Japanese-Chinese cartoon, he will look at you with confidence and say “Wazzup man?!”, while chewing a chewing gum, obviously not caring about elegance and rules of bon ton.
The soundtrack on the background will be a very cadenced rhythm; your head would go up and down naturally and repeatedly, as the best hip-pop songs, for hours, without disconnecting your concentration for a second. Everything will make sense, because nothing does in that reality, so you have the feeling that you are safe in such a situation, nothing has changed. Let’s go on, on the road, in the street, it Feels Good.
2005 Demon Days
2010 Plastic Beach
2010 The Fall
“DoYaThing” featuring Andrè 3000 and James Murphy