Gorillaz, created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and comic book artist Jamie Hewlett in 1998, have long been a mystery to most music lovers. Why do they only appear in the media as psychedellic illustrations? Where do they live? What are their stories? The truth is that Albarn and Hewlett are, in fact, the only real life members of the collective; the others a well-imagined extra facet to their concept. It would be ignorant, though, to say that these characters exist only in the world in which they were constructed; they have permeated the folds of the physical world in just the same way as the virtual. Here is a short description of each member:
2-D is the virtual alter-ego of Damon Albarn, and serves as the lead singer and keyboard player of the band. 2-D’s speaking voice for all extra material was provided by actor Nelson de Freitas until 2007, after which Kevin Bishop was cast.
Murdoc Niccals is loosely based on the infamous Keith Richards, and apparently provided most of the foundation for the band’s conception. Niccals was jailed at the beginning of 2018 for a crime that he claims to be innocent of, and was replaced by a character called Ace for the band’s sixth album.
Noodle is the lead guitarist of Gorillaz, and occasionally provides lead and backing vocals. She is of Japanese origin, never shows her face in photos, and has been previously voiced by actress Haruka Kuroda, singer Miho Hatori and musician Tina Weymouth.
Russell is the drummer and percussionist of the band. His voice is provided by Remi Kabaka Jr, and he has previously taken inspiration from such rappers as Del the Funky Homosapien. Hobbs’ origin story is perhaps the most intriguing of the collective, as one particular incident from his past has left him subject to possession from the ghosts of his dead musician friends, deepening his musical abilities.