“Visiting North Korea was like going into the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. It felt like I was falling under the spell.”
Gorillaz member Damon Albarn described his 2013 visit to North Korea in the interview at Jisan Valley Rock Music and Arts Festival held in Korea on July 30.
Lead singer of the British rock band Blur, Albarn co-founded the virtual band Gorillaz in 1998 with comic book artist Jamie Hewlett. Gorillaz, which has earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band, consists of animated members 2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboards) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion).
It appears that Albarn’s visit to North Korea has deeply affected his career as an artist. Through Blur’s 2015 album The Magic Whip, he released a song titled “Pyongyang” and recently released music video for Gorillaz’ “Sleeping Powder” is set in Pyongyang, where member 2-D sings in the middle of the crowd formed by fan dancers and mass game performers.
Albarn, who took pictures used in the music video himself, said that he traveled Pyongyang while he was conceptualizing musical Alice in Wonderland which he was in charge of the musical direction. “People living in different shapes inspire me,” he added.
Albarn is visiting South Korea for the first time in 20 years, since his previous visit for Blur’s tour concert. He mentioned his visits to Bongeunsa and Hwanghak-dong flea market, in addition to samgyetang he had for lunch, which “gave energy for the concert.”
The virtual 4-member rock group Gorillaz impressed tens of thousands music fans as the headliner for the last day of Jisan Rock Festival on July 30. Albarn sang on the stage himself while virtual members were performing through the video. He also showed his enthusiasm by interacting with fans among the crowd several times.
Original article by Park Soo-yoon
Translated by Heewon Kim