Gorillaz are an English virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated members: 2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboards), and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). These members are fictional and are not personas of any “real life” musicians involved in the project. Their fictional universe is explored through the band’s music videos, as well as a number of other short cartoons. In reality, Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor, and the music is often a collaboration between various musicians.
With Gorillaz, Albarn departed from the distinct Britpop of his established band Blur and explored influences from a wide range of sources including hip hop, electronic music, and world music through an “eccentrically postmodern” approach. The band’s 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over 7 million copies worldwide. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band’s request. Their second studio album Demon Days (2005) went six times platinum in the UKand double platinum in the US. Demon Days has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. The band has won other awards, including one Grammy Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, an NME Award and three MTV Europe Music Awards.
The band’s third studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March 2010. Their fourth album The Fall was released in December 2010 as a free download for fan club members, then in April 2011 as a physical release. After a five-year hiatus, Gorillaz announced their fifth studio album Humanz, which was released on 28 April 2017. Nominated for ten Brit Awards, Gorillaz won the award for Best British Group at the 2018 Brit Awards.