Cartoon hip-hop/popsters Gorillaz are going on tour, confirming nine North American stops, beginning February 23rd in Toronto, in support of their platinum self-titled debut.
Which begs the obvious question, how? “It will definitely involve big movie screens and lights,” says the band’s producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura. “The musicians will be behind the screens and backlit onto them. Two-dimensional figures have problems when projected because they get distorted – so it’s a matter of making it look good.”
Gorillaz – which also features the artwork of Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett and the vocals of Blur’s Damon Albern, Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien – have done some live dates in the U.K., but the upcoming shows will be their first in North America. “Gorillaz started as just a cartoon, and got bigger,” Nakamura says. “We didn’t really think about a tour. But it’s not really a problem – or it’s a problem worth dealing with.”
The band will perform some new songs, including recent collaborations with Redman and D12, as well as songs from Gorillaz. The band’s next studio project will be an original score and soundtrack for an upcoming animated film, naturally starring the animated Gorillaz. “What the film will be is really a question for Jamie,” says Nakamura. “If it were up to me, it would just be them driving around in a van solving mysteries.”
As ever, Nakamura is in the midst of many other projects, in various stages of completion. On February 19th, he’ll release Wanna Buy a Monkey?, a collection of songs he’s worked on and other songs he likes – featuring everything from the Gorillaz B-side “Latin Simone” to “Smoothness,” an unreleased song he produced in 1992 with Black Rob (then “Bacardi Rob”). He and Prince Paul, his partner in the group Handsome Boy Modeling School, contributed music to the new John Leguizamo movie, King of the Jungle, and they are discussing recording a follow-up to their debut album, 1999’s So… How’s Your Girl?. Nakamura is also planning to record an album of his own, with help from some of his prior collaborators.