In the most high-profile offering of its “3 Artists. 1 Song” campaign to date, Converse Inc. announced on Feb. 9 that Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and OutKast rapper Andre 3000 had teamed up to record an original song for the campaign. “DoYaThing,” the one-off by-product of the collaboration, will be released on Feb. 23, the same day that Converse issues a new Gorillaz footwear collection designed by the art-pop band’s co-creator, Jamie Hewlett.
Unlike previous songs for Converse’s “3 Artists” campaign (which, in the past, have featured collaborations between the likes of Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy and Andrew W.K.), “DoYaThing” began with Converse first tapping Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn for an exclusive shoe collection featuring Gorillaz-influenced artwork. After working out the product’s design last year with Albarn and Hewlett, Converse Inc. and Cornerstone, which handles promotion for the “3 Artists” campaign, convinced Albarn to expand the partnership to a collaborative track. “It was a way to amplify and support the product relationship,” says Jon Cohen, Cornerstone Co-CEO and Albarn’s longtime friend.
Once Albarn signed on, the Gorillaz mastermind reached out to James Murphy, who had yet to record as a vocalist since LCD Soundsystem disbanded last April, and Andre 3000, who has recently provided guest verses to artists like Ke$ha and B.o.B. Instead of e-mailing each other pieces of a song, the trio met up in London last September and hammered out “DoYaThing,” which mixes classic Gorillaz electro-pop with a rattling hook from Murphy and rapid-fire wisdom from Andre.
“We didn’t exchange any ideas at all [beforehand],” Murphy recalls. “Damon was basically saying, ‘Let’s just get in a room,’ which, even if it wasn’t Damon Albarn, is a pretty convincing argument, really. To be honest, I was worried that I should prepare something, but went with it anyway.”
Converse will roll out the Gorillaz shoe line at Journey’s, premium retail stores and on the company’s official website, while Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill says that the line will be promoted on the social sites of the brand and the band. Instead of shipping the song to digital retailers, Converse will post “DoYaThing” as a free download on its website – a move that helps raise brand awareness instead of profit margins.
Says Cottrill, “It’s more about contributing to the music culture versus trying to be a brand that just borrows from the music culture.” Cottrill also confirms that a music video for “DoYaThing” will be released at the end of February, and that Converse is already working on putting together its next “3 Artists. 1 Song” collaboration. Artists TBA.