Damon Albarn isn’t exactly a stranger to playing in front of huge crowds at some of the world’s biggest music festivals, so hearing him thank Latitude for giving him a headline slot doesn’t quite add up. But the former Blue front man is thankful, and attributes his gratitude to Latitude – say it quickly, now quicker – for letting him headline the festival, despite his new solo effort being ‘slower’ than his previous sonic adventures.
Damon Albarn at the Brixton Academy, London
“They offered me the slot that I’ve got, based on me just playing my record, and I thought that was very brave of them, because it’s quite slow. For a festival, it’s quite a risky thing to play,” he admitted. “I’m not just playing that record, but that’d why I chose it,” he said, having agreed that Latitude was ‘the type’ of festival to try new things. “It’s sort of a local gig. Imagine if we’d have had something like this when I was a kid I’d have definitely been here, definitely.”
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On his new solo album, Everyday Robots, Albarn opened up on the personal journey taken within the 12 songs that comprise it. “It starts in 1976, comes up to East Anglia in 1979, leaves again in 1986 and then sort of goes all over the place. It’s very specific to experiences I’ve had. Everything that is written on the record happened. It’s not crystal clear by any means, but I don’t think songwriting can ever be like that. And even if it was, the listener has his/her own take,” he said. “It is autobiographical, he added to The BBC.
By most accounts, Latitiude was an unmitigated success, with the baking sun overlooking 4 days of music including Black Keys, Editors, Lily Allen, Kelis and Bombay Bicycle Club. UK festival season continues with V and Leeds/Reading Festivals in August, while Bestival promises to close things off in style in September.
Albarn on stage at Latitude Festival 2014 Credit Sidney Bernstein