Since Damon Albarn released “Hallelujah Money,” the first track off his virtual band Gorillaz’ fifth studio album, Humanz, on the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was clear that the English musician had a few things to say to the 45th President of the United States. However, with the debut of Humanz a week away, Albarn is determined to keep Trump’s name out of his mouth.
Albarn recently sat down with Billboard to discuss how the group’s stellar list of featured artists was inspired by his 17-year-old daughter, how he wants to be replaced by holographs on stage during live performances, and the inspirations behind Humanz.
Like 2005’s Demon Days, which Jamie Hewlett, the other half of Gorillaz, says was inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks, Humanz taps into end-of-days themes, and was largely inspired by imagining, “What would happen if the world was turned, in some unthinkable way, on its head?” In other words, Donald Trump:
“Trump’s ascension was one of the sources of energy that we meditated on, when it was like, ‘Ahh, that’s ridiculous, that could never happen,’” he explains. Humanz is not a conventional protest album against the American president as much as a party record for the apocalypse that his reign might ultimately lead to; “The sky’s falling, baby, drop that ass before it crash,” Vince Staples proclaims on “Ascension,” which has peaked at No. 11 on the Rock Songs chart.
However, while the 2016 U.S. election is the obvious catalyst behind Humanz‘s content, Albarn tells Billboard that it was important that all references to Trump were removed from the album’s lyrics.
“There’s no references to [Trump] on the record — in fact, any time when anyone made any reference, I edited it out,” he says. “I don’t want to give the most famous man on earth any more fame, particularly. He doesn’t need it!”
Head over to Billboard to read the full interview.
Gorillaz characters 2D and Murdoc also participated in a live Q&A on Thursday, and the band released an ad for their new Lenz app, which included a clip of new track “Charger” featuring Grace Jones. You can watch both of them below.
Humanz drops on April 28.