AOL: In the making-of documentary that comes with 'Plastic Beach,' Damon, you're shown briefly explaining to Bobby Womack that the album is loosely about overabundance or too much.
Albarn: I always try and sort of mix a kind of politics with a melancholy and love songs with a social element. I love the sort of tension you get between saying something, but emoting something else -- the duality of a lot of the songs. So yeah, there is a very clear message: it's about environmental change. But it also sort of says plastic is as natural as anything else, in the sense that it doesn't come from outer space -- it comes from Earth. So it depends how you look at it, really.
AOL: Do you feel like the writing for these characters is essentially easier or different in ways than conceptualizing songs in like a band like Blur?
Albarn: I don't write for the characters. Cass [Browne] writes all the language for the characters. Jamie discusses it as sort of subject points that he wants to sort of develop with Cass.
Hewlett: We all stick to our own roles.
Albarn: But they do come out of the essential idea of the albums. There is a link -- it's just not a literal link, because that's never what we've really been interested in. It's quite surreal what we do. I mean, if you've seen any of the footage from Coachella you'd see there's a lot of kind of disparate elements somehow glued together that creates something that is really unique, in the sense that I've never seen anything else like it. It's kind of in the spirit of Talking Heads' 'Stop Making Sense.' The records I suppose are kind of have an element of the spirit of the Clash from the 'Sandanista!' period and stuff like Massive Attack -- just the way they construct music and sort of take you out of the verse/chorus structure.
AOL: The element of play for you all just for a musician, a visual artist just must be phenomenal.
Hewlett: Yeah, we're playing, we're having a great time. But you know the other night I watched the concert and there was one song where there was Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, Damon, Gruff and the Super Furry Animals and De La Soul on the stage doing a song together. It totally worked and looked great, but you couldn't have imagined that.
Albarn: Like we all dropped from a great huge jellyfish.
Hewlett: Yeah, you couldn't have imagined that if we had said two years ago, "We'll end up like that." It would've gone, 'That's ridiculous." But it's not ridiculous now; it makes total sense.
Albarn: It's strange because of the people we collaborate with are kindred spirits. It's surprising how many people are out there that really think the same kind of things as we do. I found from very very different places. Syria, for example. In a way, what's on this record is only scratching the surface of the period of work and the sort of adventures that we went on. It's some really out-there stuff which hopefully will see the light of day at some point. This was as pop as I could make out of everything I had.