Another day, another Gorillaz headline. I know. I'm sorry. But this one might just be their saving grace: amidst all the Sonos and "mixed reality app" tie-ins, the promise of a TV show, and the official "online event of the century," it's easy to forget that fundamentally, Gorillaz are a band. Yes, they're an: a) enormous; and b) animated band, but a band all the same, trying to hawk an album – Humanz, due for release, finally, on Friday 28 April (ie: tomorrow).
And yes, it's true that when you're trying to shift copies and encourage streams, it's important to market music in innovative and effective ways, but it's also true that it's very easy for that to spill over to saturation point. Furthermore, the best marketing techniques are almost always spontaneous and accidental, meaning that the following is a better sales technique than any focus group could ever have conceived of:
What you see here is Gorillaz, at their Brooklyn show at Rough Trade NYC last night, inviting a fan up onstage with the intention of having them rap the Del the Funky Homosapien verse on one of their most famous tracks "Clint Eastwood." However, the fan selected stated clearly: "I'm tripping balls right now," and then kind of just stood there for the duration of the performance like a bad motherfucker in heart sunglasses. And that is outrageously iconic behaviour, especially in the presence of Damon Albarn who's elegantly aging from angular Britpop star to handsome schoolteacher-who-is-cool-but-who-is-after-all-still-a-schoolteacher.
Basically, the moral of the story is this: off-the-cuff videos of funny and weird shit (and the fact that it features Grace Jones) are so much more likely to get me to stream Humanz than an app, a TV show, a sponsored mission into space or whatever else Damon Albarn is selling. Until you can actually hear the music, none of the other stuff matters that much. That is the simple truth. Marketing departments: be warned.
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(Image via Scott Lapatine on Twitter)