#AlternativeFacts Podcast: Why Gorillaz Are an Immortal Band, Inside Hamilton & Rostam's Collaborative Genius

J.C. Hewlett

What’s the premier Damon Albarn-led band -- Gorillaz or Blur

As much as you might love “woo-hoo”-ing to “Song 2,” Gorillaz has an excellent chance to outlast Albarn's first big group and continue crafting electro-rap jams long after Blur hangs up their guitars for good. In fact, Gorillaz could keep rockin’ long after most any band is dead and gone. Cartoons don’t die -- hell, they don’t even age -- and Albarn himself has mentioned he's open to passing the torch to another (human) Gorillaz mastermind when his time is winding down.

“They’ve done a pretty good job through 15 years since their first album came out,” Billboard senior associate editor Andrew Unterberger says. “They’ve managed to stay relevant in the conversation.” Unterberger profiled Gorillaz for Billboard’s April 29 issue, and on this week’s #AlternativeFacts he gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to interview Albarn at his New York City hotel. “He was very excited. He seemed proud of his entire career and he wanted to talk Gorillaz.”

And there are not one, but two great interviews in this episode! Also chatting with host Chris Payne is Hamilton Leithauser, former frontman of NYC indie rockers the Walkmen, currently promoting the spellbinding album he recorded with former Vampire Weekender Rostam last year. 

“We clicked pretty fast as friends,” Leithauser remembers, thinking back to sessions for his debut solo album (2014’s Black Hours) and later, last year’s chamber pop masterpiece I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. Those songs are the centerpiece for the upcoming live album Leithauser talks about on the ‘cast; details are available here

Leithauser has new solo work on the way and he’s excited about Rostam’s forthcoming solo project, too: “I’ve heard maybe half of it now. I’m very excited for it.” He also told the story of how he first met V.W. frontman Ezra Koenig:

“We used to have this studio up in Harlem… One day somebody in the band decided we should have an intern. I don’t know why… somebody put flyers up at Columbia for interns. They ended up hiring Ezra. This was long before Vampire Weekend.” 

#AlternativeFacts is a new weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes. 

A new episode posts each Thursday, so check back May 11 for the next installment!