Kong Studios is the former studio and first home of Gorillaz located on a hilltop in Essex, United Kingdom. Kong Studios was in active use from 1998 to 2008. The band currently operates out of a new Kong Studios located in West London.
Before the band's ownership of Kong, the plot of land where the studio sat was burdened with a long and dark history. The hill was the site of a large Stonehenge-like structure during an unspecific prehistoric period. The origin behind the stone formation is unknown.
Prior to any construction, the original site was a druid's meeting point, picked especially for its unique alignment of dark energies and hideous leylines. Various members of "The Goat Clan" would gather at the site at certain points in the lunar cycle and inhale vapors, while tunelessly chanting into makeshift cauldrons.
The first Kong building was erected on the site of a disused cemetery. The cemetery was used as a body dumping ground during the Plague of 1665. Most of the bodies were left in shallow graves and burial pits. The Khong Mansion was built in 1749 to house decadent hedonist, Sir Emerick Khong.
The last owners were a biker gang called "The Nomads" who used the building as their clubhouse. One night back in 1993, they held a massive party and invited Hell's Angels from all over the Midlands. There were 2,000 bikers crammed into the Hanger Room of Basement Number 3. When the party got out of control, a fire started and someone had locked the main doors to prevent anyone from escaping. They were all burned to a crisp.
Murdoc discovered the building in September of 1998, on the website giganticdisusedhauntedstudiosinthemiddleofnowhere.com. The owners were looking for an off-season caretaker to look after the building during the winter. In the ad, it said that the owners would return to the building in 6 months. When Murdoc arrived at the interview, the owners threw the keys at him and ran off down the hill screaming. Murdoc and 2-D had found their new home. Murdoc would later kidnap Russel Hobbs and bring him to Kong Studios to join his band.
Phase 1: 2001 - 2002
In Phase One, Kong had several interactive characters and was in good shape most of the time. There was a graveyard outside the studio and there would be Thriller dancing zombie gorillas. The main building was rather disturbing. There was always thunder/lightning outside and the place would be very creepy at night. Kong was the place where most of the promo videos were made back in Phase One.
While the band was away, a simian-based trio of marauders called the Spacemonkeyz got into the studio (that 2-D forgot to lock up) and stole the master tapes to the Gorillaz album and created the remix album Laika Come Home.
Between Phase 1 and 2: 2002 - 2004
While Gorillaz were in LA trying to make a movie, during the absence of the Gorillaz, the studio fell into disrepair. The studio grounds were taped off by Essex authorities who had deployed a Portacabin as a control center. The studio itself became only accessible via remote control robot linked to a computer in the Portacabin.
During the period of time between Phase 1 and Phase 2 (2002-2004), Kong Studios was abandoned during the Gorillaz' absence and was overwhelmed by zombies. By early 2004, Noodle returned to Kong Studios and cleansed the building of its unwanted infestation. She then renovated the studio prior to the band's reunion in 2005. Kong Studios re-opened on December 8th, 2004 and premiered the music video for "Rockit".
Phase 2: 2005 - 2008
During 2005, Kong Studios was visited by the camera crew for an episode of MTV Cribs and were shown around by Murdoc Niccals. He showed them the studio, Noodle's bedroom, the Geep from the "19-2000" video, and his Winnebago. The MTV Cribs episode aired on June 26th of that year.
After Noodle went missing during the "El Mañana" video shoot in 2006, Kong Studios entered a state of disrepair. Eventually, the studio was abandoned when 2-D and Russel left the band; leaving Murdoc on his own terms. On October 26th, 2006, Noodle's voice was heard from a damaged radio inside the Room of Brians in the condemned Kong Studios' basement. A few days later the Phase Two: Slowboat To Hades DVD was released on October 30th 2006. It featured a more computarized version of Kong Studios and it was here that you could see Kong Studios almost destroyed, With the lobby being the most affected. But it was on the Slowboat To Hades DVD where Kong Studios changed/evolved, since although the website version was partly destroyed, the Slowboat To Hades DVD really showed what happened to Kong in and out. From 2006-2008, Kong Studios was left unattended and dormant on top of its Essex hilltop.
In 2008, the studio was put up for sale on (the now defunct) realtor website, giganticdisusedhauntedstudiosinthemiddleofnohere.com. The studio was then reclaimed by its surrounding environment before it was burned to the ground by Murdoc on July 25th, 2008. Murdoc then blamed it on a group of young kids and got them thrown in jail. He used the insurance money to build a new studio on an island made out of trash, and began production on the next Gorillaz album, naming it "Point Nemo" or Plastic Beach.
Phase 4: 2016 - 2017
After the destruction of Plastic Beach, Murdoc moved into a new home/studio known as Studio 13, where the band would reunite and record their album Humanz.
In 2017, the band created an additional mobile studio called Kong Solar Studios, named after the original Kong.
Phase 6: 2020 - present
After recording Humanz and The Now Now at Studio 13, the band renamed their studio in preparation for their 2020 project Song Machine. While remaining in West London, Studio 13 was officially dubbed the new Kong Studios, acting as the band's current home and studio.
- According to concept art, Kong Studios was originally going to be called, Navarone Studios.