03/27/2017 by Julia van der Doesch
Humanz is the upcoming fifth studio album by British virtual band Gorillaz. The album is scheduled for release on 28 April 2017. The album was announced on the band’s official Instagram page on 23 March 2017. According to a press release, the album was recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago, and Jamaica and produced by Gorillaz, The Twilite Tone and Remi Kabaka. It is the band’s first album since 2011’s The Fall.
Gorillaz released their fourth studio album The Fall in 2011. Around the same time, internet rumours had circulated that Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett had fallen out and that the band had split, which People Magazine subsequently reported as true. Representatives for the band denied the rumours in a statement to Pitchfork. Gorillaz released a single commissioned by Converse entitled “DoYaThing” on 23 February 2012. In April 2012, Damon Albarn was interviewed by The Guardian, where he said Gorillaz were “unlikely” to release new music, citing Hewlett’s dissatisfaction that his animation had become less central to the band and their performances. In June 2013, Jamie Hewlett told Consequence of Sound, “I believe there is a future for the Gorillaz. But Gorillaz is quite a complicated and expensive thing to produce. So, I think we need to wait a little bit to see what happens because usually in the music industry everything changes.” Albarn released a solo album, Everyday Robots, on 25 April 2014. In October 2014, Albarn was said to be “in the process of reactivating Gorillaz for a 2016 release.” In an Instagram post on 30 January 2015, Hewlett posted new drawings of fictional band members Murdoc and Noodle. He also responded to a fan’s query by stating, “Yes Gorillaz Returns.” Damon Albarn’s band Blur released their eighth studio album The Magic Whip on 27 April 2015. Before Blur’s tour in support of The Magic Whip, Albarn said, “I’m starting recording in September for a new Gorillaz record.”
On 19 January 2017, a new song entitled “Hallelujah Money” featuring Benjamin Clementine was released alongside a music video as a non-commercial single on Uproxx’s YouTube channel.
On 23 March 2017, four new songs were premiered on various radio stations: “Saturnz Barz” and “Andromeda” on BBC Radio 1, “We Got the Power” on Radio X, and “Ascension” on Beats 1. The same day, all four songs were released for download, and a music video for “Saturnz Barz” was released, being the first music video featuring the Gorillaz characters since 2012’s “DoYaThing”.
The same day, Gorillaz renovated their website and announced a secret live gig at Printworks Nightclub, London, on 24 March 2017 evening, featuring the first full performance of the album, and made a livestream on their facebook page at the event.