Since the dawn of the 2000s, a group of musicians have been redefining the music scene. They’ve been hybridizing, synthesizing, and downright mesmerizing. And they’re not even real.
Well, not quite. In animated form there’s 2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboards) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). In reality, this English virtual band is a collaboration of various real musicians, led by permanent frontman Damon Albarn (Blur) and the talents of artist Jamie Hewlett.
Each of their albums has been supported by a darkly humorous, fictitious story, complete with in-depth backstories, biography, character dialogue, and all the other glue needed to bind together the fabric of this motley ensemble. Their believability as a band has been accomplished because of the added touches of script and off-the-record candour, all of which are brought to life through the clever use of multimedia.
Perhaps best known for their music videos, Gorillaz employ a mix of animation styles to reflect their myriad musical inspirations (alternative rock, Britpop, trip hop, hip hop, electronica, indie, dub, reggae and pop). What began as two-dimensional traditionally animated videos and promotional shorts soon evolved into a mix of hand drawn, computer animated and live action pieces. At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards Gorillaz won two awards for their hit “Feel Good Inc.”, plus the award for Breakthrough Video.
Audiences were blown away when at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards, Gorillaz performed “Feel Good Inc. as holographic versions of themselves. To enhance the notion of them performing “live” on stage, Madonna made a surprise appearance during the song, “interacting” with the characters.
Of course, what’s a band without a website? Over the years, and to fit the thickening of the plot, gorillaz.com has boasted a complete interactive experience brimming at the seams with Easter eggs, videos and more, keeping up with the latest innovations in web capabilities. Back in the early 2000s, their site was a Flash masterpiece tour of their fictitious Kong Studios.
And now for the tidbit we’ve been really wanting to share with you, Gorillaz has just released a new album. Entitled ‘Humanz’, this marriage of animation with interaction is highlighted by “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)”. Available as a full 360 degree video, you can click and spin around to catch every event as the song progresses. It’s worth every minute, in our opinion.
If you’ve never experienced Gorillaz before today and are bananas for more, be sure to check out their albums for the most eclectic ride out of England since Yellow Submarine.