More than 40 years after they were first formed, the famous and influential British rock band is still holding tight. When the four members—vocalist Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor—meet together in a room, as they did during a recent trip to New York to promote their upcoming album handjob future Past, the camaraderie and jokes between them is what you expect more from best friends than from working ones.
Rhodes says, “The reason we face storms is because we all really like to work together, and what we can create as a unit is far more powerful than the things we do individually.” kindly do it.”
future Past, the band’s 15th studio album (ending October 22), is aptly titled as Duran Duran has always been a reflection of their influences – such as David Bowie, Roxy Music and Chic – while creating music that is mind-boggling for the future. . The new record has all the traits of the band: slick electronic-dance pop (“All of You,” “Tonight United,” “More Joy!”); Sophisticated art rock (“Beautiful Lies,” “Nothing Less,” “Falling”); reflective numbers (title track); and even some hard-hitting hypnotic funk rock (“Invisible,” the album’s first single). Future Past has guest stars including producer/composer Mark Ronson; Japanese female rock band CHAI; and pianist Mike Garson, best known for his work with David Bowie.
Rhodes says, “When we make a new album, it has to be a Duran Duran album. But it also needs to feel contemporary. So it can often be quite difficult to strike a balance. And once we achieve that, If we’re okay, that’s the heart of what we do. And with this album, I think we’re pretty confident that we’ve met that criterion.” The band’s latest single, “Anniversary”, has a pulsating, festive atmosphere that recalls their finest and classic works from the early 1980s. “It’s probably one of the few songs we’ve done that really has conscious elements of our sound,” says John Taylor. “It’s almost built like a Duran Duran tribute track.”
For future Past, Duran Duran teamed up with three new collaborators. The first is Errol Alkan, a British producer/DJ, best known for his remixes of recordings by Death From Above (1979), Tame Impala, Block Party and Hot Chip. “At first we thought we’d try him out for a few days because he really came from a DJ background,” says Roger Taylor. “The energy he brought to the room was on fire. He really brought out something wonderful out of us. We definitely still got a foot in the dance floor because that’s where Errol came from.”
Next is the legendary Giorgio Moroder who co-produced “Beautiful Lies” and “Tonight United”. GQ Men of the Year Awards in London. “After about a year, we finally managed to align the stars and get into the studio. He’s just a consummate professional and everything you could ever want Giorgio Mordor to be,” says Rhodes.
Finally, Blur’s Graham Coxon plays guitar on almost the entire album; Duran Duran has not had a full-time guitarist since founding member Andy Taylor left in 2006. “We have a tendency to include guitar players – we just cut and paste them until they’re dead!” John Taylor says “And Graham just couldn’t do it. We had to let him roar. What he was doing was great.”
When the group called to work on new material three years earlier, they initially thought of recording only one EP containing a maximum of six tracks; They ended up with about 15 songs. Many of the new songs have a presentational feel, such as “Invisible”, whose surrealist video was created using AI technology. “I definitely felt a little battered by life sometimes,” Le Bon says. “But then there was always this sort of determination and not to let depression take over. I think that’s the point: it’s a willingness to rise above one’s own problems.”
John Taylor says that the lockdown in 2020 forced the band to pause. “We thought we were on schedule for a summer release last year. We closed the studio in March, everyone went home. We didn’t listen to music for nine months. When we came back reflecting on the song, then- A. A lot of them felt justified. ‘Tonight United’ speaks to the pandemic. ‘Future Past’ speaks to the pandemic. And they weren’t written after the pandemic.”
arrival of future Past Comes as this year marks the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album. Founded in 1978 by Rhodes and John Taylor in the working class of Birmingham, England, Duran Duran depicts an optimism between the demise of punk and a bleak British economy through his musical and stylish image. “The Midlands are a very work-focused part of the world,” says Roger Taylor. “Generally speaking, if you weren’t doing or working something, you’re looked down upon a little bit. It’s become part of who we are. You have to keep working.”
In his early years, Duran Duran was influenced not only by glam rock and punk, but also by electronic music and disco. “I think we were among the first kids of our generation who weren’t prejudiced towards disco music,” says John Taylor, “but really embraced disco music and fell in love with it.” We started listening to Giorgio. [and] Chic and thinking, ‘Let’s have a rhythm section that works like that.'”
Rhodes says, “The first show we all played together was at Rum Runners in Birmingham, we actually opened the show with a cover version. [Donna Summer’s Moroder-produced smash] ‘I feel Love.’ “
The band’s second album, 1982 rio, with their singles “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio” and “Save a Prayer”, brought the lineup of Rhodes, Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor (none of the three Taylor related) internationally. Reached stardom. . More hits followed, with detailed videos of the band airing on MTV. For a few years, the group, called the ‘Fab Five’, were pin-up icons for a generation of screaming young female fans.
“A few years ago, we were starting to think about the anniversary of the first album,” says John Taylor. “Our managers in particular were getting pretty excited about it. We needed to come up with all these ways to celebrate it.” I figured the closer we were to it, the less hunger we all got to make it a big deal. Which band celebrates 40 years? You have had the same job for 40 years. Who wants to celebrate it? I think it was Nick who said, ‘The best thing we could really do is always make a great new album.'”
Duran Duran has some shows slated for this fall and in Europe in 2022 and is also eyeing possible tour dates in the US next year. The four members have come a long way from their “boy band” debut. “It’s much easier to take what you’ve learned and the expertise you’ve been able to acquire,” says Le Bon. “You shouldn’t do that. If you spend that long doing something, you’re pretty good at it. It gives you more incentive to stick to it.”
Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Duran Duran faced enormous pressure to follow up the massively successful rio Albums and hit singles such as the title song and “Hungry Like the Wolf” and the title song. ‘Duranamania’ released in the year, Seven and the Ragged Tiger Did not disappoint commercially and became another smash hit for the Fab Five. The album generated three hit singles, “Union of the Snakes,” “New Moon on Monday” and “The Reflex”, the latter of which became Duran’s first US number one remix by Chicks Nile Rodgers.
By the time of Notorious’s release, Duran Duran was reduced to a trio of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor after both Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor left. Not only did the lineup change, but the sound changed as well: from synthpop to chic-style funk courtesy of producer Nile Rodgers. The title cut peaked at number two on the Billboard singles chart and is part of their live setlist to date.