Gorillaz Do Their Thang With Converse

Converse. Gorillaz. Coverse. Gorillaz. The more we think about it, the more we like it! The virtual band has collaborated with the sneaker giant to come up with 4 pairs of shoes that are inspired by the members – Murdoc, Russel, Noodle and 2D. That’s not all; Gorillaz also worked on a track with Converse in collaboration with Andre 3000 and James Murphy, which will be released on 23 February. We are stoked! There is a hell of a lot of surprises in this track, you’ll have to read on to find out! A quick chat with the seemingly fictional (but very real) Murdoc and 2D reveals more about the footwear collaboration and the track, DoYaThing.

How did the Converse and Gorillaz collaboration come about?
Murdoc Back last year I met up with the good people over at Converse. We had been talking about a “Gorillaz/Converse” hook up for a while. Everyone loves Converse, and they wanted to see if we, Gorillaz, could help sell their soles. And Russel’s never really out of his, so it seemed ideal.

Can you tell us how the footwear collection was born?
Murdoc The plan was to get a range of the shoes together using Gorillaz own special artwork. So, I put in a call to our art-and-video director Jamie Hewlett, and see if he’d like to put something together with us. Which Jamie did and they looked great. I think they need to be worn in a bit, to give them that skuzzy feel, but they look really good.

And next to the footwear collaboration, you also worked on a track with Converse, tell us about that.
Murdoc Converse said it’d be good to have a track, y’know….some music. And I thought it’d be wonderful to put something together with Converse, music-wise. It’s what we do, Gorillaz. Music. We’re known for it. And I liked their whole “Three artists – One Song” idea. Gorillaz are all about the collaboration, aren’t we, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

How does the collaboration with Converse rank among the past music collaborations the band has done with the likes of Snoop Dog, De La Soul, Lou Reed, etc?
Murdoc I think in a funny way it’s one of the very best things we’ve every done. It seems to encompass every aspect of the Gorillaz oeuvre, almost like it’s got a little ingredient from each period of the Gorillaz back catalogue. It’s hip-hop, it’s funk, it’s rock, it rolls…It’s got it all. It does its er…‘thing”, y’know!

How long have you wanted to work with James Murphy?
2D Sound Of Silver is a great album. A fantastic piece of work. I’ve always been a big fan of keyboards and technology and bloopy noises and Krautrock and everything else.…so LCD Soundsystem really works for me.

What about Andre 3000 made you guys want to work with him on this track?
2D He’s cooler than being cool, isn’t he? Gorillaz love Outkast, They’re one of the few outfits that all four of Gorillaz love. Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and Stankonia are great albums. Like Sly and The Family Stone or Parliament, Outkast always capture that really colourful, really liquid, playful funk and wrap it round with lyrics about love, and politics and truth and fun… It was a real pleasure for me to sing alongside Andre.
Murdoc Andre’s lyrics are really great too, incredible…very fluid. He’s an incredible rapper, so tight. And the lyrics just pour forth like a tidal wave out of him. And – as Andre sings in this cut – he really is the ship.

We’ve heard that there are some outtakes from the song that may see the light of day soon? Care to shed any light on that?
Murdoc Hmmm….not sure they’re outtakes, more ….different versions. There’s a fair few versions to come out the oven…there’s an extended mix that’s knocking on for 12-13 minutes. That’s “DoYaThing” on full throttle. It’s “The Director’s Cut,” i.e. my one. It’s a real epic.

Was it tough cramming 10 years of your band’s history on to 4 shoes?
Murdoc Not really. That’s what it’s always been really. 4 pairs of shoes. Me, Russel, Noodle and er…the other one. “2D”. Always forget his name. But, the whole history of this band has been just four pairs of shoes. Only this time, they’re available to buy through Converse.

The Gorillaz X Converse Launch will be held on 24 February. Details to be announced soon!