Damon Albarn discusses new citizenship and ‘sense he wasn’t just English’

The musician has been given Icelandic citizenship.
Damon Albarn discusses new citizenship and ‘sense he wasn’t just English’

By Naomi Clarke and Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Reporters

Damon Albarn has described being made an Icelandic citizen as a “deep” moment as his mother’s family are originally from Denmark.

The singer-songwriter, composer and musician, 53, rose to fame as part of Blur, who are often credited with helping define the Britpop genre, and was awarded his new citizenship last year.

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, he said: “It’s a deep one because my mum’s family is originally from Denmark, so I’ve always had a sense that I wasn’t just English.

“When I went to Iceland, the first time, it was as a result of a recurring childhood dream of levitating over black sand, but they had no geography to it.

“Obviously it could have been New Zealand and we’d be having an entirely different conversation now, but I’m glad that it was Iceland that I identified with.”

He also spoke about the upcoming Gorillaz film, saying it is a project they have wanted to do for a “very long time” and that the forthcoming movie has been through “many incarnations”.

He formed the virtual band in 1998 with illustrator and designer Jamie Hewlett, and they went on to enjoy chart success with singles like Feel Good Inc and DARE.

Albarn revealed he is currently having writing sessions with Netflix in Malibu for the upcoming full-length Gorillaz film.

Gorillaz at the O2 Arena – London
The virtual band have produced seven albums over more than 20 years (Luke Dyson/PA)

He said: “It’s really exciting to do that. It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a very long time.

“It’s been through so many incarnations. Gorillaz doing a movie. Honestly.

“But Netflix, I don’t know. Apart from them kind of running this city now, I mean – It’s just extraordinary to see how ubiquitous they are now.

“They just seem like they’re a good creative team, you know?

“But I can’t say anything more about it, obviously.”

Albarn has also enjoyed a successful solo career and is releasing a new album, titled The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, on November 12.

The English artist explained the record originated from three sessions with orchestral musicians who came and sat in his front room in Iceland and played music inspired by the changing landscape.

He told Lowe: “You’d just incrementally watch the light… move with it. So this really lovely music was coming out of it.”

The musician also spoke about a cooking injury which saw him accidentally cut his finger off while making pesto.

He explained: “I actually cut my finger off last Christmas Eve. I was making a pesto, and I had a hand blender and I just made it. I thought, “Hmm, that looks good.”

“But instead of just tasting a bit from the bowl, I decided to stick my finger into the blender, pick it up, and press the button. I put it in, pressed the button. Then I had to pull it out, and it completely severed.”

After finding what he said was a “fantastic surgeon”, his finger was re-attached on Boxing Day.

The full interview is available on demand on Apple Music.

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