Gorillaz are hoping to enlist country icon Dolly Parton for their next record, and have already written the track, says illustrator Jamie Hewlett.
Speaking to DIY for this month’s cover feature - out tomorrow (Friday 6th) - Hewlett reveals that a new offering aimed at the ‘Jolene’ legend is one of “five or six” new songs that Damon Albarn has already begun work on for the follow-up to October’s ‘Song Machine Season One: Strange Timez’ release.
“I suggested working with Dolly Parton imagining Damon would throw it back in my face and he turned around and was like, ‘Are you serious? I fucking love Dolly Parton’. So we need to find a way of getting in touch with Dolly,” said Hewlett. “Damon’s already written the track, I think! We had this conversation three weeks ago when he was in Paris, and I spoke to him the other day and he said, ‘I’ve written that one’.”
Elsewhere in this month’s in depth Gorillaz chat, Damon speaks out about how the current Tory government have handled the welfare of the arts sector throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think people will realise that unfortunately the malign spirit of Brexit [is that] it’s really mean,” he says. “And when people really realise what some of the architects of that thing have in their mind - their capacity to dream is very limited, it seems. Hence a lack of empathy with people who DO have a capacity to dream. Great. Let’s all get fucking drunk and take heroin, you know what I mean? Because that’s what people will do if all their dreams are taken away from them. No one wants that.”
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Celebratory and instinctively inclusive, no band could have done it better.
All in, it’s classic Gorillaz: a mixed bag mostly stuffed with delights, that fares extremely favourably on the banger to clanger ratio.
‘Song Machine’ might have been born from a playful spirit, but it’s also an album that finds Gorillaz holding a mirror to the modern world’s divisions, and offering up a far more utopian alternative.
The LP fizzles with a self-made, impromptu energy.