The latest issue of The Jaguar magazine introduces our new ‘cub’, the E-PACE compact practical sports car, which is already turning heads on the street. As we commit to electrifying every new Jaguar by 2020, we explore how pushing boundaries on the track helps develop our sports cars, from writing motorsport history at Le Mans, to taking on the Nürburgring with the extreme XE SV Project 8 and being at the very cutting edge with the FIA Formula E Championship.
GORILLAZ Gorillaz co-founders Jamie Hewlett (left) and Damon Albarn. On a drab afternoon in early 2017, British artist Jamie Hewlett is sitting in a nondescript meeting room in a building in London armed with his laptop and his trademarked uneasy smile. He is here to unveil the latest incarnation of the characters he created almost 20 years ago as he and Blur lynchpin Damon Albarn birthed their virtual group, Gorillaz. Their return with their new album, Humanz (a ‘party album’ for these troubled times, we’re told), will be celebrated with a colorful cover story that will grace the June edition of British music bible, Q, for which Hewlett will create an exclusive image. For the uninitiated, the virtual group consists of ‘2D’ (né Stuart Pot) on vocals, bass player Murdoc Niccals, American drummer Russel Hobbs, and Noodle, the Japanese-born guitar player (and Jaguar obsessive!), all four with their own distinct personality traits and back stories. And, as Hewlett presses the keys on his Mac, it appears that, during their five-year absence and unlike most cartoon characters, the quartet have aged too. The formation of Gorillaz stems back to 1997 when graphic artist Hewlett and musician Albarn both found themselves at a creative and emotional impasse. Hewlett had blazed a path through the previous 10 years as the co-creator of Tank Girl, the comic strip featuring a teenage character whose anarchic sense of self chimed with the times. Starting out by contributing to the influential Deadline magazine, Hewlett also worked on sleeve art for rock bands, most specifically British punk urchins The Senseless Things. Albarn, meanwhile, had grown bored of being tethered to the ‘Britpop’ bandwagon and to his band Blur, his everexpanding musical tastes turning to the fecund underground hip hop scene, US electro, deep soul, dub and world music. The pair – then both preparing to turn 30 – moved into a flat together in Notting Hill. There, they binged on a steady diet of MTV, bemoaning the manufactured nature of the music being served, before hatching a plan to create a purely fictitious band. Albarn worked on the music with assorted collaborators while Hewlett drew on what he heard to inform the fictitious band members he was drawing. In the hands of others, Gorillaz would perhaps have been a short-lived project, but for Hewlett and Albarn it proved liberating. The band’s self-titled debut emerged in March 2001 and, as well as four UK Top 40 singles and their PHOTOGRAPHY: PAL HANSEN / GETTY IMAGES 30 THEJAGUAR
GORILLAZ ARE HELL-BENT ON TRANSPORTING THEIR AUDIENCE INTO AN ENTIRELY NEW WORLD. accompanying videos (spearheaded by the groundbreaking track “Clint Eastwood”), the album came with a plethora of additional downloadable visual content confirming one simple fact: Gorillaz are hell-bent on transporting their audience into an entirely new world. Of course, Hewlett and Albarn were not the first musical outfit to use animation to reach a mass audience. That honor could quite easily be ascribed to The Beatles, who found themselves as stars of their own, self-titled animated TV series three years prior to their acclaimed 1968 movie, Yellow Submarine. This series ran for three seasons and 39 episodes, transporting John, Paul, George and Ringo to places that they’d seen in real life (from Transylvania to Africa) as they battled fictitious afflictions (“autographitis”, anyone?) and, indeed, strange foes, vampires among them. A year after the launch of The Beatles cartoon series, American teenage audiences would find themselves enthralled with their own TV program as The Monkees exploded into living rooms across the nation. It was their arrival coupled with the success of cartoon series such as Alvin And The Chipmunks and The Flintstones that led to the creation of the very first virtual animated group in ’67: The Archies. Like a garage band version of the Scooby Doo cast, The Archies were actually session musicians directed by Don Kirshner, the man who’d also helped master-mind the ascent of The Monkees. Armed with a shrewd ear, Kirshner released The Archies’s chart-topping U.S. and UK hit, Sugar Sugar, on his own label in the summer of ‘69. If today the video for Sugar Sugar seems like a quaint, late ‘60s time-piece, then the convergence of youth culture which it represents has remained in place during the last five decades. The link between Radiohead’s 1997 hit, Paranoid Android, and Kirshner’s bubblegum pop classic may seem oblique, and yet the video for the former was produced by Swedish cartoonist Magnus Carlsson, the man responsible for the animated adult TV series Robin, and whose naïve graphic style emphasizes the post-teenage malaise and humor expressed in Thom Yorke’s lyrics. Radiohead are not alone in their reinforcement of their aesthetic via animation. The video for Daft Punk’s hit, “One More Time” from the year 2000, employs Japanese animé to reflect the track’s futuristic sound. A decade later the French duo created the soundtrack for Disney’s 2010 Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the early ‘80s sci-fi action classic, which in turn influenced the development of their own visual aesthetic. Despite the number of artists that have used animation to spread their message, few remain as adept as Gorillaz themselves. Five albums in, their live shows are now a dazzling collection of live performance mixed with animation. Meanwhile, “Saturnz Barz” (their first single from their most recent album) has employed immersive 360° virtual reality technology. In fact, the collision between animation, music and evolving technology has created endless possibilities for artists everywhere. However, as Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have proved, without real vision, heart and soul, those possibilities swiftly disappear. Phil Alexander is editor-in-chief of music magazines MOJO, Q and Kerrang as well as a presenter on Planet Rock radio. RECRUITING INNOVATION Jaguar Land Rover and Gorillaz started working together some time ago to recruit a new generation of world-class electronics and software engineers, and this exciting new talent pool has already begun to make its presence felt. The latest edition of the Gorillaz App now features a recruitment area with a 360°-environment situated in the garage of the virtual band’s home, where applicants can take a two-part challenge. The first involves assembling the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, while the second more demanding part focuses on cracking code in Alternate Reality Game format (ARG). The best performers will be fast-tracked through the recruitment process. Challenging potential recruits to take on the challenge, Noodle, the band’s guitarist and Jaguar Land Rover ambassador for both Formula E and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), said: “Can you crack the code? Put your skills to the test! Hey, maybe you might land yourself *the* most BADASS job you can imagine.” Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, added: “It’s our ambition to employ thousands of bright new talents over the next year. This app represents a radical rethink of how we attract the best in software systems, cyber systems, app development and graphics performance.” Download the Gorillaz App now from the iTunes App Store or Google Play THEJAGUAR 31
JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.
The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.