"The Apex Tapes"
Gorillaz interview CD 2001, The Apex Tapes

Gorillaz-Unofficial.com presents another fantastic minisite for all Gorillaz fans. This time the minisite is dedicated to Gorillaz' 2001 interview CD 'The Apex Tapes'. Recorded in February 2001, this was Gorillaz' first ever audio interview!

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"Intro: The following cuts are taken from an interview recorded in London in February 2001. Don't ask us how we managed to get them all in the same room at the same time....... but we did and the results are fascinating! Questions, Ins and Outs and durations are given in each case. "

Questions for the Band

Question #1 DJ: Whe're here with Gorillaz.....introduce yourselves, if you will.

2-D: Uh, hello, I'm 2-D, I'm the singer, and uh I play the pianooos and I need the toilet, and 'ello mum you listenin' to the radio...? ...uh, mum?

Russel: Hi I'm Russel, I'm the phat beat machine, and I ain't gettin' no play with no fool sucka. Animal get that chloroform away from me! (?)

Noodle: Oooh, Nudoru da!

Murdoc: Hi, I'm Murdoc, and I play the bass in this outfit -- my hobbies are hang-gliding and cat-changing, hahaha! And this is something that they should never forget, that this is MY BAND! Iiiit's my band.


#2: Did you consider any other names before deciding on Gorillaz?

Murdoc: Uh yeah, I dabbled with, ahh... "Satan's Scrotum"... "Thor's Roar".. and my personal favorite "Number of the Beats" -- I like that one, that one's good.

2-D: I thought ah, "The Pawn Shops" was cool.

Murdoc: Eh.. yeah...

Russel: I like... Midas, and Oblix and Ass Tricks. But Noodle saved us in the nick of time before our first gig.

Noodle: Gorilaaaaz!


#3: Is the connotation of cultural guerilla warfare intended or do you come in peace?

Russel: Guerilla warfare? Chemical warfare? Or expensive bus fare. Whatever it takes to rid the charts of the vermin ebola band virus.


#4: What ws it about 2D that made you confident he'd be a great singer, Murdoc?

Murdoc: Ah... (insert Murdoc laugh) ...I can't remember.. I think I made a hideous mistake, hah...

2-D: Ah, have ya? Anything I can help you with?

Murdoc: Heh, are you joshing yoouu little fag't? (chuckles)


#5: So how did you get the record deal then, I beleive it all happended quite quickly?

Murdoc: Ahh yeah, our first gig at the Camden Brown House turned into like a monster riot, you know, it was bang outta order. And uh, EMI's legendary head-hunter, what's his name again... oh, Wiff.. Wiffy Smith, he was there right, and he snapped us up there and then! And before we know what was going on we were signing our contract in London Zoo with all the tigers, hahaha...


#6: Murdoc, you mentioned the gig at the Camden Brown House, which is now legendary, partly cos there was a bit of a ruck, but there haven't been many subsequent lives shows, why is that?

Mudroc: Nobody's been willing to put us on after the um, incident with the Brown House...


#7: One of the things people find fascinating about the band is you have a base down in south Essex, so what do you get up down there?

2-D: I watch zombie movies all day, uh... Noodle practices 'er kara-tay and prunes her bonzai and.. Russel schools at the local skinhead community...

Murdoc: And I just sit there making pacts with the devil. Hail Satan. (laughs)


#8: A lot of people have been complaining about the manufactered nature of British pop lately and some people have suggested you're actually part of that. What's your take on how you fit into the current scene?

Russel: I'm gonna answer that if y'all don't mind... y'see, all bands are manufactured to a greater or lesser extent. If you take the lowest common denominator, the boy band is a case of "You gonna pay peanuts, you gonna get monkeys."

Noodle: You pay top dolla you get Gorillaz!


#9: So you're all into different styles of music. Murdoc you like a bit of death metal and dub. Russel, your thing's hip hop. Noodle you're into rock axe heroes. 2D likes some 80s pop things, so how do you make all those different tastes fit together?

2-D: Weel, I'll answer this if you don't mind... we got a mixing desk, yeah? and Todd our tech puts all the sounds in 'ere and then we're done!

Murdoc: Bravo brainache, the world is now enlightened.


#10: One journalist has described the Gorillaz as 'Ghetoo ghost punk beatz' and also a "Sensi'n'bongo riffed simultaneous requiem and eulogy for pop." are those remotely accurate?

Murdoc: It ain't wrong, but... it ain't right. We call it zombie hip-hop or dark pop..

2-D: Yeah, or German one-two step fresh lounge, or sweetcore.

Russel: Since when we been callin' our shit "sweet corn"??


#11: Can you each nominate two heroes either musical or not, just so we know a bit about whre you're coming from?

Murdoc: No problem. Uh, Fatty Arbuckle and... Lynyrd Skynyrd, to name just two.

2-D: Tom Savini and John Cassavetes.

Russel: Farah Khan, and Chakah Khan.

Noodle: Richie Sambora to Pikachu to Gorudaku!


#12: Are you into a full blown experimental approach, going the path same as Radiohead for example?

Murdoc: Ohh I'm not going there, ANY path that Radiohead has walked down, eh... gimme an avacado stone and a shoe-on and I'll show you something really experimental, yeah.

2-D: I think the day-time TV show called John Claude Van Damme's Big Bag 'a Chat would be quite experimental.


#13: Stoopid grooves are big on the record, is stupid the new clever when it comes to music?

Russel: Stupid is the new clever, like grey was the new black, like Thom York was the new Marty Feldman!


#14: You were just on the cover of Dazed and Confused before you'd even had a hit so there's already talk of hype, doesn't that concern you?

2-D: Do you know how much salad we had to toss to get that kind of coverage? Besides, it's hip to the hype.


#15: Some bands seem to view the charts as a gladiatorial arena, do you feel you've got to put a few current artists to the sword?

Murdoc: This is evolution. If you're old, bald, or in the way, we'll push you over (snicker)... Have you ever seen a fully-grown naked man grasping his broadsword? (snicker)


#16: Well which artists get the thumbs down then?

Russel: Russel: Yeah, Mick Hucknall.

Murdoc: Ohhh Mick Hucknall (snicker)... listen I hate gingerdread men, y'know, they just make me BARF UP, you know what I'm saying? I mean, death is the only fate befitting that ponce, whereupon he will suffer eternal torment in Hell, haha!

Russel: Sounds about right to me, the sucka.


#17: Under what circumstances was the album recorded?

2-D: Well uh, we recorded the album in Jamaica and I was on the studio roof recording the vocal for "Sound Check" and.. while I was singin' I was, lookin' up at the stars and this giant vulture -- that the locals call Johnny Bird -- swooped down an', took me into the mountains and left me there with a Rastafarian medicine man called Wobbly. I stayed there for a week and he fed me with vegan food an' educatin' me in the ways of Ja Selassie the first, but I can't remember a word he said.

Noodle: Kinguston Jameika (speaking in Japanese)

2-D: Yeah.


#18: 5/4 is a great stomping tune with a lyrics that says "she killed my daddy" and then "She made me kill myself" what's that all about?

2-D: No, no, the lyric is "She turned my dad on". The song is about Linsey Dawn Mackenzie.. she always made my dad make a grab for a cushion for his lap.

Murdoc: Hehehe, she's got athlete's beaver man. Hehehehe..

2-D: Ew..


#19: The single 'Clint Eastwood' has a reggae rap feel to it, kind of Augustus Pablo meets Melie Mel, do you think that psycho geographically the record's located between North and South America... maybe like Costa Rica perhaps or Aruba in the Southern Caribean, maybe?

Russel: Well, Augustus Pablo's base player, Junior Dan, jammed with Murdoc on that track, and 2-D added that solid reggae vibe, on his suzuki army cord (?). The rap, y'all know, was provided by my dear departed high school pal Del, whose spirit now lives inside of me.


#20: What's the story behind the raggae style Ed Case remix?

Murdoc: Um, the boom-boom bling-bling boys were at the studio next-door to ours, they stole some master tapes and some stickers, and went to Radio One's stream team.

2-D: No.. We got it done for notin' in ????, and you got it on the stage and did a live PA high on rum punch!

Murdoc: Same thing in by books.


#21: Punk and M1 A1 on the other hand display affection for British towerblock punk, are you nostalgic for those days at all?

2-D: Well, the funny this is I'm only nostalgic about things that've happened in the past.


#22: Joe Strummer or Malcolm McLaren: who got it right?

Murdoc: McJones and Johnny Rotten, thank you very much.


#23: Rock the House is a funky dance thing with another fine rap from Del but it's at odds with your Ibiza/superclub/superstarDJ/Garage tendecy in dance music, so what do you think of the state of club music for the masses?

2-D: Well... in the same way that Hazy Fantazy can mutate into Jeremy Healy, taken the punky fun song to the dance floor for a beefer, and still maintain the size-to-leg ratio, yeah? But, you can't turn a fat boy into a house mutton, right?

Murdoc: ..What has John Wayne's big leggie got to do with anything anyway?

Russel: I think we all know what Chuck D had to say about that good old boy.


#24:Latin Simone has a bit of an an enormous Cuban ballad feel, what's the story behing that tune and whose that Simone bird?

2-D: ...uh... we know who Johnny Bird is..

Murdoc: Yeah, Johnny Bird is like this big vulture, y'know with like Cuban heels, man... and he's got like these trousers y'know and they sort of... lightly flared and nestling gently on top of his casual shoes. (laughs)


#25: Have you thought about Caht-back?

2-D: Yeah I think that Fattie Small's got 'im...

Russel: Fattie Small, I can turn Biggie Smalls man, forget him he knows not what he says!

Murdoc: Amen! -- Bugger! oh, sorry, I meant to say "Hail Satan!"


#26: M1A1 is the last track on the album and it has avoice shouting "Hello! Is anyone there?" against an early phrase Howard Devoto-esque riff and a distinctly JG Ballard backbeat, how did that all came about?

Murdoc: I've absolutely no idea... (laughs) No, seriously, no, I've always been a big Howard Devoto fan you know? I love him, I love Howard, a lovely big man. And, uh, I was listenin' to Magazine right, while driving up to Stoke to see my lovely old grandmother.. oh she's lovely, that's my lovely grandmother, not that other one who's not quite as nice.. anyway that's another story, but the motorway was completely empty, and it reminded me of Romero's "Day of the Dead", so I kind of stuck it together and came up with M1A1.


#27: You have Japanese, American and Brit members so you're a bit global. Do you reckon you have an edge on your average sedentary pop group?

Murdoc: It's not where you're from, it's where you're at. Ian Brown said that, you know.

Russel: Yeah, that brother has more monkey in him than Mickey Dolez, hehe.


#28: Can you explain a bit how the inner band personality dynamics work because some people have got the impression that you hate each other?

Russel: We all love each other! Except for Murdoc, who hates us all and himself equally.

Murdoc: ...Yeah, yeah exactly, that would be true. Ah, what's, what's your point?

2-D: Aw, I love you Murdoc!!

Murdoc: Look, I won't say it again: I saved your life. You owe me your soul!

2-D: Okay!

Murdoc: Oh, nice one.


#29: But Russel was quoted as saying working with Murdoc was like working with an 'opportunistic Nazi', isn't that a heavy criticism?

Murdoc: Oh, no, no it wasn't, it was rather flattering actually.


#30: Is it important that Gorillaz make it big out of the UK? Do you want to be big in America?

Murdoc: Ohhhh, well you see, we formed as a band in April 1998, and then it took some time for our individual characters to gel together.. and basically it was only after man punch-ups, screaming matches and late-night coloring sessions that we've kind of reached the point where we can get on stage, pull our pants up hiiigh under our armpits, and shout: "Heeellooooo Mr. President..."

Russel: Hell, there ain't no point in being a big Gorilla in a little pond!


#31: Do you feel confident that you can go head with Limp Bizkit?

Murdoc: Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, and every other bunch of Butthole Surfers that you may care to mention.


#32: Some people out there are saying Gorillaz are not 4 real, that you are, in fact a bit of a cartoon band, does thaHana and Joe Barbera's jogging pants on the day they invented the new shmoo. I suppose it was a pretty wild ride.

Russel: The best comparison I can think of for being a cartoon band is finding yourself sewn into the seat of William I supposed


#33: What would you regard as the pinnacle of succes for Gorillaz?

Murdoc: Ahh well, y'know I always have the models of Brian Jones, Dennis Hopburn and Peter Faulk in my mind. I say the Stones are pretty successful in my mind, y'know. And y'know, me and Mick, you know man, we just like got it together, I remember seeing on a train. And I said, "Hi Mick How you doing where'd you get the records?" (laugh)

Russel: I personally would like to have Jimmy Brown as my chauffeur, Puff Daddy as my caddy, and Doctor Huxtable as my GP. That shit would be dope!

Murdoc - One on One

Q1 (#34): What were your previous musical activities before Gorillaz?

Umm, well, I made off with most of the Monday's equipment, and Bez even helped me load out most of the gear actually. Good old Bez.


Q2: You share a place of birth with Lemmy from Motorhead, also born in Stroke, and known for his taste in fast women, cars and pharmaceuticals. Do you think you have much in common with him?

Oh yeah yeah, me, Lemmy and Slash are the wheat that has risen to the top, kind of seperating us from that old chaff Lobbie Williams. That lad has let our town down badly.


Q3: Hello came round to do you in your bedroom, what would be the main features of interest?

The vat of boiling oil I'd pour from the upstairs toilet!


Q4: If you sell a milion copies of the Gorillaz album what are you going to spend the money on?

Chips and sweets. (laughs)


Q5: Is there a spriritual side to you?

No. There is not a spiritual side to me. I am all spiritual. Have you seen The Wicker Man? Cause I've been looking everywhere for him (laughs) He's my little friend. No seriously though man, my religion is likely the oldest in the world man.


Q6: Do you want the kids to look up to you?

Oh yeah! From the moshpit!

2-D - One on One

Q1 (#40): Which singers inspired you?

Oh, uh, the same ones that always have, uh, Otis Redding, Horace Andy, Scott Walker and uh.. (laughs) Jane Birkin, she makes me feel all funny in the nether regions and the pink bits and yeah.


Q2: How did you get the name 2D?

Uh, Murdoc called me 2-D because I've got two dents in my head from my ram-raid coma car crash episode in my life, it's not because I'm two-dimensional or anything like that.


Q3: You were in a coma can you explain what effect that had on you?

Well, when I came to I found that I had an instant recall to Stravinsky's "Right of Spring" but nothing out of the ordinary.


Q4: Do you not resent Murdoc for his actions back then because he nearly killed you?

...What you mean nearly killed me? I've never been nearly killed before..


Q5: The press has been calling you 'the face of a generation'. Does that put a lot of presure on you?

When were we on the cover of Face? I didn't know that.


Q6: Does it concern you that your artistic credibility might be compromised by your visual uniqueness?

Well, they're the same thing I think aren't they? Uh... Russ! Russel?


Q7: If you were Prime minister for a week what would you change about Britan?

I'd move its geographic location to the Carribbean!

Russel - One to One

Q1 (#47): Do you think Gorilaz is more British or American influenced?

It's bigger than any ulism (?).


Q2: Who would you like to work with outside Gorillaz and why?

I don't really percieve an external edge to Gorillaz.


Q3: Is liking Chaka Khan something from your childhood or does she just kick ass?

Oh man, that question's obvious. Obviously she's from my childhood, but the lady kicks ass and I like her big hair.


Q4: Is hip hop in a good phase right now?

I agree with mos def on this one! Hip-hop is not some mystical thing seperate from the people producin' it or the brothers out on the street livin' it. So the question we gotta ask ourselves is: Are we, the people, in a good phase right now?


Q5: What phase in the evolution of hip hop do you connect with the most?

Its ever-living soul, constantly changing and rearranging.


Q6: Why is someone with your education doing music as opposed to say, a career as a diplomat?

Man, you got to be a diplomat to be a musician, and as a musician, we all diplomats.


Q7: Do you think if Coldplay spent a month in Brooklyn High it might help with their music?

Those suckas wouldn't last one day in Brooklyn High. Not that there's anything wrong with their shit, it just don't help me. Cept when I wanna go to sleep.


Q8: What is your favourite item of clothing at the moment?

My speciality black leather Stussy parka that I picked up in LA.


Q9: If you left Gorillaz would the band be able to carry on?

I ain't leavin'. Who said I was leavin'? I ain't gettin' on no plane with no fool sucka!


Q10: What song on the album are you most proud of and why?

You can't be breakin' that shit up into bite-sized portions! It's there to be swallowed up whole.


Q11: Is there anyone out there who can compete with Gorillaz?

Yeah, sure there is! But I ain't heard 'em. Or seen em yet.


Q12: Do you expect a long career as a Gorilla or is the band chemistry too volatile?

What is it with this career shit?! That's exactly what we ain't about!


Q13: What's the most important thing that people understand about Gorillaz?

Gorillaz is like the musical version of the A-Team! I'm Mr. T, 2-D is Face, Murdoc is Murdock, and Noodle.. she's like a Japanese George Peppard.

Noodle - One to One

[2-J's note: DarkSakura writes: "A friend of mine, Haruna Akatsuki, did her best to translate Noodle's Apex
Tape interview. Noodle speaks in a rather fake accent, similar to the Kansai dialect of Southern Japan, but is occasionally unintelligible." Translations thanks to DarkSaukra and her friend!

Q1(#60): Jimmy page or Graham Coxon? Who rocks the most?

"Duh, Graham Coxon, who else?"


Q2: Is the cynical marketing of pre-designed lifestyle via fashion, sport, and music ripping off the kids or enriching their lives with the magic bounty of global capitalism?

Noodle: [Some metaphorical nonsense about silver fruit. She has a very difficultdialect, like a fake Kansai-ish dialect that shouldn't logically exist.takenoue...Bamboo tops? " No one eats the tops...Roots, yeah." "WithGorillaz I get both...(something)." " Fruit is leech, and above you too."Read that how you will.]

Russel: ...I think she said yes. Or.. maybe no.


Q3: Do the teachings of Lao Zi influence your playing?

Noodle: ["Zen is everything!"]

Russel: She's tryin to explain how the way of Tao is everything.


Q4: What is the most tiresome thing about being in Gorillaz?

Noodle: ["I'm all up late at night and get all freakin' tired."]

Russel: She's a little girl y'know, she gets very tired.


Q5: 2D and you hang out a lot, do you have a lot in common despite the cultural divide?

Noodle: [" 2D also works pretty hard. But Murdoc? He's a slacker that isn't serious about anything!"]


Q6: Is the British pop scene more or less interesting than the Japanese one?

Noodle: ["Of course!"]

Russel: What the sista's trying to say is, we are dot-com, not dot-co-dot-uk.


Q7: Does the idea of becoming famous mean anything to you or are you on a higher and Zen coated plane?

Noodle: ["To know the road ahead, ask those coming back."]

Russel: The sista's trying to tell you, to know the road ahead, ask those coming back. That shit is deep.

Noodle: Yeah!

Extra stuff

All: Hi, we're the Gorillaz!
2-D: You're listening to your radio so, don't touch your dial-y thing.

Murdoc: Hi, my name is Murdoc, I'm from the Gorillaz and this is our new single Clint Eastwood.

Russel: Hi, I'm Russel and you're listening to the Gorillaz...
Noodle: Watashi wa Nudoru!
Russel: and this is our new single --
Noodle: Kurinta Iistuwudo!

2-D: Hi hello, I'm, I'm 2D...
Murdoc: And I'mmm not 2D (snickers)
2-D: 2-D or not 2-D!
Murdoc: That's the question, right?
2-D: Nah, the question is this is our uh.... Wut is the question?
Murdoc: The question is, what's our new single called, and the answer is... 2-D: Clint Eastwood-doo-doo, like Noodle would say!
Murdoc: Riiiight.

Murdoc: Hi, I'm Murdoc from the Gorillaz, you're listening to our lovely, lovely single called 5/4.

2-D: Hi, I'm 2-D, and this is our new single uh, 5/4. Er it's not actually that new 'cause we dun it a long time ago.

2-D: Hi, I'm 2D, you're listening to the radio.
Noodle: five four!!
Russel: That's our new single, so go out and get it.
Noodle: Gorillaaaaz..


Transcribed by just some chick (ksama487@gmail.com)
Some corrections by Resa and DarkSakura and her friend Haruna Akatsuki