In 1998, Jamie Hewlett drew a virtual band that became world famous. Gorillaz consists of four cartoon members with four distinct personalities: 2-D, Noodle, Russel Hobbs and Murdoc Niccals, who are brought to life by Hewlett and an ever-evolving crew of musicians. They just made the freshest comeback of the year with a new album and tour, Humanz, visually powered by Hewlett’s live animation, 360 music videos, detailed backstories, covers, and virtually every single element of the band’s stage presence. His impact on our generation’s visual culture runs deep, and Gorillaz is just one of his many projects, from comics to opera.
In the age of artificial intelligence, a virtual band is appropriate, and Gorillaz have cultivated a soundtrack for a lifetime, with a 20 year history of showing up right when we need them most. They’ve helped an entire generation dance through the darkness, and in the words of Gorillaz guest star Vince Staples, “The sky’s falling, baby, drop that ass ’fore it crash.”
Kristin Farr: Happy Birthday! It’s nice of you to do the interview today.
Jamie Hewlett: Aw, thank you. I don’t have time for a day off. It’s all good.