Blur Talk About Recording their new album, ‘The Ballad Of Darren’

May 21, 2023

Blur recently did a press conference at Colchester Castle and talked about the recording process of their ninth studio album, ‘The Ballad Of Darren’!

Bassist Alex James said, “There were moments of utter joy. The new song we open with [‘St Charles Square’] I just thought, ‘Oh my God, we’ve pulled it back’. I had a little moment. I did most of the bass lying down on a comfortable sofa and it made me stand up, jump up and down. I kind of lost it. It was wonderful.”

James continued: “The fact that we all go off and go down our rabbit holes and come back up again and when we do get back together, we’ve all learnt something. Because it doesn’t happen very often it feels fresh and special and it’s almost like that right from our first rehearsal. There’s always been something very special about when we play together. It’s there right from the get go. I feel fulfilled and blessed.”

This new ten-song album is the follow up to 2015’s ‘The Magic Whip’. The band started recording in January ’23 and finished the album a few weeks ago.

Singer Damon Albarn said he wrote demos for the album in hotel rooms while touring with his other band, Gorillaz, “I recorded in a lot of conference rooms but I did actually have a wonderful moment in Montreal. Opposite my [hotel] room was this fantastic mural of Leonard Cohen. I just didn’t think about it, I wrote from the heart. When I got back we just started and we crashed into the studio in January.”

Albarn also told the story behind the album’s title, explaining that Darren is a real person, “The song [‘The Ballad’] is one that he wanted me to finish for 25 years. He was always telling me, ‘When are you gonna finish that song?’ So when I finished the song it could only have one title – ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ but then it felt like the song isn’t really about him although he is referenced in it. The song is about something else. But for the album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ felt like a perfect summary of what the album is about. It’s quite a family affair this record.”

Gotta love a surprise album. Who knew that Blur was working on an album? There was virtually no news about that, ’til there was!


Written by Todd Hancock