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Endless Story: Interview with Blur

In recent years, everyone has already managed to say goodbye to Blur: quietly say “bye” or roaring “Parklife!” And what did the members of the group do when everyone was already resigned to the fact that they should not expect anything else? They took and resumed musical activity. And they released a great album, The Magic Whip.

Daniel Koch met with Alex James and Graham Coxon to find out how it happened.

You don’t feel that you really are ** ali? What was the pain of parting, the burden of which you have borne all these years? For example, when on June 28, 2009, at the Glastonbury festival, about 90,000 people stood for almost 2 hours listening to the musicians, they squealed Tender before they fooled, they rejoiced when Albarn and Coxon sang “Come on come on get through it” together, and they looked like they were really enjoying this reunion. Why was it necessary to meet again at a performance in 2013 at the Berlin Festival with the sad realization that now this is exactly the last time we see a group together? And then putting all of their 7 albums on the shelf, sad that there wasn’t enough money to buy the “21” box set?

Why, at last, having felt freedom from Blur, do you notice how beautiful Damon Albarn’s solo album “Everyday Robots” is and what you can exist without this group, continuing in this spirit and further, listening to Graham Coxon’s guitar albums? Have these constant ups and downs affected the fact that now, as if it were the most common thing in the world, to be able to hold in your hands the new album Blur? You are not serious!

But they are more serious than ever. Blur returned and, most likely, precisely due to the fact that in recent years they have been working on various projects, you did not fall asleep with rapid breathing from the news of the reunion. Indeed, “The Magic Whip” is not only the first album in 12 years, but also the first full-length album in the last 16 years. This in itself is a sensation. But how did it happen?

At a February 19, 2015 press conference in London’s Chinatown, Damon Albarn made the following statement: “It’s all Graham’s fault. I had mixed feelings about Blur. After the 2013 show, I thought the story was told to the end. It wasn’t no particularly serious reasons, but I knew that we can’t perform new concerts unless we have new songs. ” What exactly will happen Albarn did not suspect.

A couple of weeks after the press conference, the group was invited to an interview in London. In a luxury apartment between Green Park and Hyde Park, Alex James and the same “guilty” Graham Coxon are waiting for me. This time the media will have to do without Damon Albarn, who celebrated his birthday the day before.

It is noticeable on the album that no one is dragging colleagues behind him through the next promo album, reunion tour: it is clear that no one really knows how to put them together again …

Alex James sits in his chair as a true life-burner, which, in fact, is. Playing the bass is only part of his career. James is a well-known person in the world of food journalism and has been honored for several years as a cheese producer. Under the brand name “Alex James Presents”, it provides British supermarkets with varieties such as the simple “Blue Monday” or goat cheese with thyme “Farleigh Wallop”, awarded the “British Cheese Award” in 2008. Sorry for the flat pun, but Alex is really cheesy (from English slang – poppin), because he is too charming and beautiful.

Graham Coxon, on the contrary, wants to adopt right away, although he is already over forty, he is the father of the family and the guitarist with one of the most exciting game techniques of our time. Nevertheless, his lively, slightly nerd, restless character, externally supported by sunglasses with purple glasses, allows him to behave as if he really is a young genius.

Graham, I heard that it’s your fault that we are sitting here.
Graham Coxon: Probably partly true. But Hong Kong is really to blame. We were stuck there when, in 2013, we suddenly canceled a performance in Taiwan. At our service was a studio with all the necessary equipment. We could not run away from each other and thought: damn it! My fault is only in the sense that last September I decided to take on the music that arose there.

Where did this impulse come from?
Graham Coxon: I was bored. He sat at home on the couch – a musician who does not know where to put himself. These passages did not leave my mind, so I told Damon that I would love to listen to them also and, perhaps, would try to do something with them. He seemed to say yes, please! almost relieved.

Alex James: We all felt that something special happened in Hong Kong in those days. Everything was almost the same as in our first rehearsals. If it was already a recording in the studio, we would not have done it. We played a few concerts, not always being happy with ourselves. They were relaxed, full of ideas and tried to release them into the world.

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