Entertainment

Damon Albarn ‘watched climate change in action' recording music in Iceland

The musician was made an Icelandic citizen last year.

Damon Albarn said he has watched “climate change in action” as he recorded his new album in Iceland.

The singer-songwriter, composer and musician, 53, recently released The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, with the title taken from lines in John Clare’s poem Love And Memory.

The Blur frontman was awarded Icelandic citizenship last year.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “I’d always wanted to make music looking out of this window in Iceland and because of the circumstance of the commission, I was able to bring some orchestral musicians to Iceland and sit them in front the window and we did three workshop sessions over a year and just played the landscape really, and because … outside my window … but behind it in the distance, there’s a volcano and a glacier.

“Snaefellsjokull has receded really notably in the last 20 years, so I’ve actually watched kind of climate change in action, you know, and that was the kind of inspiration for this record – meditate on that, and see where it took me.”

He added: “The weird thing there is it doesn’t really feel … you’re aware it’s receded but it still looks so magnificent and beautiful and it’s still a very, very clean country in that sense, so, but it’s real, so that’s the thing, it is real and its effects are real.”

The musician, who rose to fame as part of Blur who are often credited with helping define the Britpop genre, also formed virtual band Gorillaz in 1998 with illustrator and designer Jamie Hewlett, going on to enjoy chart success with singles like Feel Good Inc and DARE.

He told BBC Breakfast presenters Dan Walker and Sally Nugent that he only reads bad reviews of his work.

After being read a glittering review from Rolling Stone magazine of the new album, he said: “I try not to read… I’ve always been kind of a bit perverse, I’ve always tried to only read the bad reviews, just because it kind of keeps, gives you that edge.

“I think if you start kind of basking in praise sometimes it’s not healthy… I mean it’s all very confusing really when people start writing about you.”

He has previously spoken about his connection to Iceland, telling Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 that receiving his citizenship was a “deep” moment, as his mother’s family are originally from Denmark.

He said: “It’s a deep one because my mum’s family is originally from Denmark, so I’ve always had a sense that I wasn’t just English. When I went to Iceland, the first time, it was as a result of a recurring childhood dream of levitating over black sand, but they had no geography to it.

“Obviously it could have been New Zealand and we’d be having an entirely different conversation now, but I’m glad that it was Iceland that I identified with.”

Albarn also performed the song Particles from the new album, which he revealed was inspired by a conversation with a female rabbi on a plane.

The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows is out now.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access