With all the social restrictions and now, a month-long lockdown in England to prevent COVID-19 cases from rising further, Damon Albarn has opened up about how the ongoing pandemic has not only hurt the live music industry but also the overall well-being of people.
“It’s a medical emergency but an existential one as well,” Albarn told Sky News over the weekend. “You’ve got to allow music to continue… We are trying to preserve everyone’s health at the moment so passionately, we mustn’t ignore live music in that prescription.”
He added, “If people are willing to perform, they should be allowed to, no one should be forced to do anything but if people are willing then somehow we can make it work so everyone can feel comfortable and participate.”
And while he understands that these restrictions are meant to fight the virus and the UK government’s attempts at providing aid, Albarn still feels they have failed the arts.
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“It’s sadly something that has been in the DNA of all Conservative governments since Thatcher, the diminishing of the value of the arts, it’s very short-sighted and really goes against something I feel extremely proud of,” he said.
But he also points to the U.S. and its influence as another factor, and takes a tip from Billie Eilish who said “we are waiting on the orange man to leave.”
“When I wrote Parklife I was singing about Americanisation, Albarn said, “it’s been with us since post the Second World War, and the Marshall Plan, we are very reliant on America and America casts a long shadow.”
On a lighter note, Albarn also discussed how the pandemic ruined a recording session for the Gorillaz co-founder and Elton John. So they had to do it the 2020 way — through Zoom.
“Somehow we still found that spirit via Zoom. It’s been an important lifeline for creative work,” he said. “I’ve never worked like that, it’s always been an in-the-room process, but it didn’t seem to inhibit music in the end.”
Watch Damon Albarn’s interview with Sky News below.