Noodle of Gorillaz on FKA twigs, 'Song Machine,' and Brands/Artists Sharing a Vision

Plus, the inspiration for her influential G-Mixes

Noodle is Gorillaz' demon-slaying, axe-wielding lead guitarist. She joined the world's most famous virtual band aged just 10, smashing out of a FedEx crate after an epically uncomfortable journey from her native Japan. From such humble beginnings Noodle's legend grew. She wrote Gorillaz' smash-hit album Demon Days while also single-handedly ridding the studio of a zombie infestation.

Over the years, her unique style and fearless spirit have established her as an avant-garde fashion icon and role model, standing up for kick-ass women everywhere. In 2018, Noodle became the first female ambassador for Jaguar's Formula E (electronic) Racing. She has also established herself as a tastemaker with her influential monthly G-Mix playlist.

She has a cat named Katsu, her favorite food is okayu—a kind of chicken soup—and her hobbies include lukewarm yoga, quantum physics, shoe design and online gaming (handle: EatMyRocketLauncher).

Noodle is also a member of the Film/Video jury for the 2021 Clio Music Awards.

We caught up with Noodle for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.


Noodle, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Osaka and West London.

Your earliest musical memory.

First, I don't know. Maybe aged 10. I performed a guitar solo described as 200 demons screaming in Arabic. That's how I joined Gorillaz.

Your first concert.

I think it was Snoop Dogg at Subterrania.

Your favorite bands/musicians.

I don't pick favorites. I loved working with the legendary Grace Jones, Robert Smith and Fatoumata Diawara.

How you get your music these days.

Russel used to take me crate digging, but now the internet is my crate. Which I dig into every day, then pour into my G-Mixes.

Your favorite place to see a concert.

Anywhere small, dark and exciting.

Your favorite music video.

I love music videos that push the boundaries. Arcade Fire's video for "The Suburbs" took me home to Osaka in a cool way. "Saturnz Barz" allowed us to bring you into our world in 360. I'm excited for the future.

Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.

Podcasts: Song Exploder and Rick Rubin's Broken Record.
YouTube: Tiny Desk and Colors.

A recent project you're proud of.

Our Song Machine Season 1 of course. An episodic music series and live TV show (Song Machine Live). You might be isolated but discovering that you're not alone.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

FKA twigs and everything that she does through her videos and live shows and music. She is an inspiration.

How musicians should approach working with brands.

It's best when a brand enables you to realize a project or an idea you wouldn't ordinarily be able to do. A shared vision is vital.

How brands should approach working with musicians.

Creativity must flow from the artist to the brand. That's where the magic happens. 

What music can do that nothing else can.

Music allows you to travel around the world in the comfort of your own ears. It's the only common language that everyone can speak.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.

There is no world without music. If I had to I would be fighting demons full time (instead of part time).

Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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