(Paris) “It’s like traveling back in time, the audience is young again”: Damon Albarn put his band Blur back on the road this summer, to pave the way for a new album on July 21.

This Britpop star of the 1990s delivered a landmark performance at the Primavera festival in Madrid in early June and is due to perform at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday and Sunday if its currently injured drummer recovers in time.

An enclosure frequented by the English football team and the megastars of the song where Blur never sounded his guitars, even at his peak of glory with the success Girls

“It would have terrified me at the time beyond reason, with panic attacks and everything”, confesses Damon Albarn, brain and singer of the formation, met in Paris by AFP.

When anxiety peaks, the fifties takes refuge in yoga. “If I manage to do it almost every day, I’m calm,” continues the Englishman. A healthy practice, light years away from the excesses of rock that swallowed him in his youth. “It was heroin, I bumped into that 100 years ago and now it’s yoga.”

What makes him hallucinate today is the age of the spectators who come to see Blur. “It’s like traveling back in time, the audience is young again, it’s weird, sometimes you forget where you are.”

And Blur is getting a new lease on life with The Ballad of Darren, scheduled for July 21. This is the ninth studio album and only the second in the past 20 years. The formation has never separated, but its history has been written in ellipsis since 2003.

This announcement surprised everyone, even the other members of Blur. “I hadn’t told anyone I was writing it.” The album was born last year in full American tour with Gorillaz, the other group of Albarn.

“I came home in January and said to the others at Blur, ‘Come into the studio, I’ve got something to play you’.” Albarn presented them with 20 titles and asked them to pick their favorites. There are 10 left.

The Ballad of Darren plays on Blur’s sensitive chord, between shadow and light, Coffee style

“It’s okay, when I lean into my sadness, it’s not that far from happiness, I’m comfortable with melancholy.”

This return is accompanied by praise in the United Kingdom, while with Gorillaz the recognition is more international. “It feels good, people suddenly realize that I still exist, but England hasn’t been a place where I feel welcome for a while.”

Albarn, open to the world (he has multiplied musical projects in Africa) has never hidden his opposition to Brexit. The artist bought a house in Iceland and found in France a land of welcome for unexpected works.

Like the opera Le vol du Boli, created in Paris. A new opera is in the pipeline for next year, still in the French capital.

From his first visits to Blur’s early days, before fame, the City of Light has always been associated with fond memories.

Not only for improbable party temples like the Bains Douches club, a hotspot for Parisian nightlife in the 80s and 90s. There is also this atypical restaurant in Montmartre. “Imagine, you are a 21 year old English guy and you are served red wine from a bottle, while eating melted cheese, we have gone crazy! “.