Drummer Roger Taylor says the band, whose long string of hits includes The Reflex, Is There Something I Should Know, Hungry Like the Wolf and Girls on Film, are “really looking forward” to the show. “The few shows we did last year, I have to say the audience was amazing, especially in Scarborough,” he says.
As Taylor notes, elaborate productions have always been Duran Duran’s “thing,” and they’ll be sure to put on a show at both of these gigs. “To have great visuals, great lights, great screens, we’ve always been very interested in the aesthetic side of the show, so it’s going to be pretty stunning,” the 62-year-old says.
With a set that includes songs from the band’s latest album, Future Past, which reached number three on the UK charts last year, as well as “all the classics”, it will be “a great show”, he says.
Future Past has been widely hailed as a creative renaissance for the band, which formed in Birmingham in 1978, but Taylor suggests the process began with their 2011 album All You Need Is Now. “I think it goes back to (producer) Mark Ronson,” he says. “He was the first to make us feel like we had to make peace with ourselves.
“We’ve been through all these different avenues trying to reinvent the sound of the band, and Mark was the first to come in and say, ‘You need to sound a little more like yourself. Why don’t you go back to the way you were recording? before and don’t you really start playing together as a band again, so that the rhythm section can really kick off?
“Nick released a lot of his old analog synths at that time. So I think it was kind of like a journey of self-acceptance that started with Mark Ronson on All You Need Is Now and we hit the end of the journey with this record. It took us two or three albums to really capture the energy of those early records.
Piece Hall Concerts: When Duran Duran, Primal Scream and Tom Jones come to Hall…
This time they were helped by producer Erol Alkan, who brought “so much energy” to the project. “Erol had a lot of enthusiasm, he was a big fan of the 12-inchers that we used to cut in particular and he really wanted to get the energy out of those,” Taylor explains.
Former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon also brought a different sensibility to the recording sessions. “Don Brown had played on a few records and John Frusciante came on as an afterthought on the last record (Paper Gods) but it was great to have someone from day one writing with us in the studio,” Taylor says. “He’s such a nice, humble guy, he fit in really well, everything he played was very ‘Duran appropriate’, if you will, so I think that shaped the record as well.”
In keeping with modern trends, Future Past features a slew of guest artists such as Ivorian rapper Doll, Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo and all-female Japanese rock band Chai.
Again, Taylor thinks Duran Duran was ahead of the curve, reminiscent of their ’80s offspring, Arcadia. “It was one of the first albums that had artists. We had Sting on it, we had Grace Jones, Dave Gilmour came to play with us, so we had that in the 80s. But again, that’s something that Mark Ronson pushed us to do because he has a really big phone book and he can apparently pick names from it at will so Mark took us back into that and I think that’s really part of the modern way of making records.
“When you’ve been making records for as long as we have, I think it’s great to have new people and younger energy. People have a different way of looking at things and bring a different sound to the record.
Working with Giorgio Moroder, the Italian “father of disco”, was the realization of a long-held dream. “The first song we played together was I Feel Love,” Taylor recalled. “It was the opening song for the first gig at the Rum Runner. We’ve always been indebted to Giorgio, planet earth is pure Giorgio Moroder, and I believe he wanted to work with us in the 80s and we wanted working with him but we never managed to get together in the same room because life got so busy you couldn’t even find the time to work with Giorgio Moroder but we finally got there and it was amazing. He’s a musical genius, he really knows arrangements and how a song should be built. Duran Duran will be performing at Piece Hall, Halifax on July 5th.