Blur Head Back To The Studio
Following the news that Blur are about to head back into the studio, Damon Albarn has been talking about the pressures of juggling his side projects, his Gorillaz wish-list and why he still wants Graham Coxon back in the group.
Currently working on three different projects, Albarn is currently splitting his time between the new Blur EP (their first new material since 2003's 'Think Tank'), a new Nigerian collaboration and a new Gorillaz record that he's described as "pure unadulterated pop fun".
Of the three developments, it's likely that the first to see the light of day will be the new Blur EP. While the songs are reportedly written, they aren't expected to take shape until the band begin work with 'Think Tank' producer Ben Hillier.
"Why make an EP? So I don't get too much hassle from Alex really," Albarn explained in an interview with 6 Music, "I know roughly what I want...but that's one nice thing about having something that's been consistent throughout my life, is that it's going to sound a certain way really. Sometimes that's quite a relief."
Despite former-guitarist Graham Coxon's continuous protests in the press, Albarn has also revealed that he's still genuinely keen to get him back in the band.
"Blur's like a family with one brother no-one talks to... It is a realistic prospect - the only reason he's not in the band is because he didn't feel he was getting enough say" Albarn explained "We're totally capable of making music together. I can forget about all the other things."
Returning to his Gorillaz side-project, Damon has added The Bees and now-infamous remixer and producer Dangermouse to his wish list of collaborators for the new set of songs. "I've been working with Dangermouse. It's gonna be great. Gorillaz is just pure unadulterated pop fun for me."
In the past the Gorillaz 'family' has included rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura and graphic artist Jamie Hewlett.
On the Nigerian front, Albarn's flying out to Africa later this month to work in Fela Kuti's studio with his drummer Tony Allen and other member's of the Afro-beat pioneer's band on a new collaboration. "They're all my songs and I'm singing, so there will be focus on me, but we'll have a name that isn't my name. I don't believe in the idea of a solo record. I'm looking for a country guitarist at the moment. There's gonna be a lot of slide guitar - sort of Afro-country."
However, after this spate of work Albarn has implied that there are no plans for a new Blur album just yet, indicating that he may branch into other areas of the media and arts. "After I've done these records I'm going to take a long time out, possibly to work in theatre for a few years."