"When you are 19 you don’t really think what you’ll be doing in your 50s.
Now that we are there we want to go on:





November 20, 2015 | Paper Gods, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Duran Duran new album was released on September 11, 2015. Duranasty.com, probably the longest running active fansite, has taken time to collect material to release a special page about the album itself. This installment is a tribute to Duran Duran's Paper Gods but also a guide to the album tracks through the guys own words, taken from the their most recent and interesting interviews released around the world.
Quotes and reflections on the album, a song by song guide, a complete Paper Gods international printed-press display, all filled with eye catching visuals featuring some of most recent photographs. We just hope this page matches the usual duranasty.com standards and will please your mind and eyes.
Something different, as you probably have noticed, the visuals are bigger than usual, that's just to make the duranasty.com experience even more exciting and enjoyable on large computer screens.
Enjoy the special and feel free to share the page on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also like duranasty.com new facebook page at the following link:

How do we reinvent this?
From tabula rasa to Paper Gods

We want to start this special about Paper Gods with the words of Nick Rhodes who sums up how a band who has been on the scene for 37 years approced the making of a new album:

"At this point, whenever Duran Duran releases a record, I’m not sure what it’s going to sound like. We don’t have a clue what it’s going to sound like either when we start. We try to literally wipe the board clean—it’s tabula rasa. What do we do? How do we reinvent this? How do we do something that interests us, and something that hopefully people somewhere might like? Sometimes the journey takes you somewhere that you’ve been, but somehow everything looks different. Other times, you enter a zone where you think, “Wow, what is this landscape? This is quite interesting; we haven’t been here.”

"If we’re going to do another album, then let’s make it worthwhile for everyone"

This album has a combination different things. It’s got some more traditional Duran Duran influences, from the dancefloor and electronic music, but we’ve also brought in some sounds, some sonic architecture into the songs which we haven’t really used at all before. That makes it more interesting for us, and more challenging. We always say to ourselves, “Well, if we’re going to do another album, then let’s make it worthwhile for everyone. Let’s make something that we all love, and something that we feel proud of that we can put out and people can listen to. Otherwise, let’s not bother.” And inevitably, that turns into an 18-month-to-two-year process. In this case, it was two years.

Duran Duran were in Paris on November 13, 2015

Duran Duran said the attacks on Paris came as a "terrible shock" to them as they were in the city playing a gig on Friday night. Rock band Eagles of Death Metal were playing at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris when militant gunmen stormed the venue. The two groups have a connection as the American rock band have recorded a cover version of Duran Duran's Save A Prayer.
“We are honoured that the Eagles of Death Metal covered 'Save A Prayer,' and included it on their most recent album," says the band in a statement. "In fact, it was a thrill playing the song together recently on TFI Friday in London.
"We bumped into the band on Friday afternoon of last week, when we were all on our way to Paris on the Eurostar. We were opening Al Gore’s Climate Change concert broadcast there, and they were playing at the Bataclan.
What happened that night defies any kind of comprehension. The tragedy that unfolded at their show, and around the city, brought immeasurable sadness to so many and shocked the world."Now, as the track continues to climb the charts, Duran Duran have spoken out in support of the move and they'll be giving all proceeds from the royalties to charity.
We wholeheartedly support the campaign that the fans have mounted to show solidarity to the band that they love. We will be donating all of our royalties from the sale of this version of the single. There are a number of causes under consideration, all of which are peaceful, effective and unifying.”

Join the campaign! Proceeds are being donated to the Paris aid efforts. Here's the full campaign description eodmforno1
In the pic Simon hugging Jesse Hughes at the end of their performance of Save A Prayer on TFI Friday.

Duranasty.com e-zine since the beginning has followed step by step the making of album #14. Juicy updates have been posted during the two years long recording process. This special installment about Paper Gods represents the culmination of two years of reports and updates on the album. If you wish to go back and have a look at the whole "Making of", just go the the main page to get all installments starting from January 2013.
If you want to read again the interview to Davide Rossi click on the thumbnail on the right.



As I post this piece, the band is in the studio rehearsing for the UK our that starts next week!


Read the full interview published today on Todays Birmingham Mail on the Leisure section. Download scan of the article

What can you tell us about the shows?
Simon Le Bon: They’re song driven. We’ve never been a big special effects kind of band. We’ve never had the flying pigs and things like that. There will be a set and we’ll have spent a lot of time and effort putting together video footage to project behind the band.

How do you build a setlist when you’ve got such a huge back catalogue?
Simon Le Bon: There’s a few basics – one of them is two thirds old material and one third new material. Roughly, that’s about the right ratio we think. You’ve got to decide whether you want people dancing or sat down listening to the deeper and more esoteric stuff. We tend to want to keep people up and on their feet. I love being a party band. Keeping the energy high is an important factor for us.

What are the future plans of Duran Duran?
Simon Le Bon: I think one of the great things about music is it keeps you absolutely in the moment. You’re either on stage performing or you’re in the studio writing and performing. I think we just go on as long as it feels good. I don’t know what we’re going to feel like in two or three years time when we go back to the studio. It may be we decide we can’t go through it again or maybe we’ll be hungry in the same way that we were when we started this one. We get on with each other and have a laugh. I wouldn’t swap my job with anybody.


  • Seal will support Duran Duran at nine of their UK arena tour dates. The R&B singer will join the synth-pop legends at dates from November 30 onwards, including shows in Cardiff, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, London, Bournemouth, Nottingham and Liverpool.
  • Also Bloom Twins, the duo produced by Nick Rhodes, will be supporting the band for all 11 UK dates.






New single press release

Duran Duran’s next single release will be ‘What Are The Chances’.
The track, taken from their 14th studio album ‘Paper Gods’, is one of the highlights of the latest release, brimming with all the distinctive qualities we’ve know them for since they began their pop journey in 1978. Its slow-burning and brooding feel also serves as a poignant and fitting reminder of the looming festive season. The track features a very special guest in the shape of former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. The track was produced by Duran Duran and Josh Blair with additional production from Mr. Hudson.

According to the press release (on the left) sent out to media by Warner Bros, What Are The Chances? is the second single off Paper Gods. It's one of the most powerful ballads ever written by Duran Duran. It has the potential to become a classic in the same way as Ordinary World and Save A Prayer.
The song was performed in Paris at the Al Gor "24-hour telethon on the climate crisis", just few hours before the tragic terrotist attack.
More about this song in the "track by track" special below.



In June the band was awarded the Spotify UK Silver Clef Lifetime Achievement Award by the Nordoff Robbins charity. In October the guys were also presented with the Q Magazine Icon Award and with the MTV Video Visionary Award at the EMA in Milan [below some pictures taken during Milanese promo-tour].

The band last month in Milan

Such a breathtaking view: Piazza del Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and a crowd of adoring fans. Probably one of the most beautiful historical open-air venues the band has ever played. Below the guys on the set of their Vanity Vair photo shoot.

Get dozens of articles scans from international press! Just click on the banner above to access a full gallery!





Paper Gods: super-modern, elegant new sounds, all in Duran Duran style

Nick Rhodes: "This time we said let’s do something super-modern—but let’s do something that’s elegant and something that retains our values and all the influences that we’ve always liked, but also touches upon the new artists we like, or the new sounds that we like within hip-hop and EDM and other modern music out there. Let’s bring a little more into our sound.” It was a challenge trying to decide what worked with the sound, and what didn’t."

"We really had to make decisions that we thought were fitting for the band that felt natural, that we could go and play live, and that didn’t jump on a bandwagon, but learned from what’s out there. It was a very interesting exercise, I have to say."

"We want to touch people, affect them emotionally in some way"

“I don’t think we feel pressure to prove anything to our audience at this point. But we do feel we have to prove something to ourselves. And in doing so, you have the possibility to inspire and surprise your audience which is what all artists ultimately want to do.

You start off making music for yourself but if you are never able to communicate with that music, it becomes pretty lonely. You want to touch people, affect them emotionally in some way.

So when we’re writing songs now, we are looking to make the perfect Duran Duran song but we want to do something that will lift people’s spirits or maybe make them a little sad about things in the world. Music is a very powerful communication tool. It’s how you choose to use it.”


"It’s good to have someone in the room who would go in a different direction"

Nick Rhodes: “I’m a firm believer in collaborating with people who have great energy, great ideas and who have a different vision. Anyone in the band is capable of producing their own albums or producing other people.
Right at this moment I am working with a really interesting young duo called the Bloom Twins. But producing someone else is a very different thing than producing yourself. We are involved in the production of every track on the record. But having people around you like Nile Rogers or Mark Ronson or Mr. Hudson and our engineer and coproducer Joshua Blair brings a diffeent perspective.
"It’s good to have someone in the room who would go in a different direction. Because we have been working together for so long, we do know exactly what we’re doing but it also means it’s easy to get set in our ways and keep producing the same stuff. That’s the last thing Duran Duran ever want to do. We want to reinvent. Having producers around that we trust and that have great taste helps to do that.”





"Sonically, Duran Duran records are three-dimensional and architectural, and you’ll hear different things each time you listen."

Mr Hudson



Mr Hudson is able to create
beautiful sounds for cutting-edge modern artists

Nick Rhodes talks about Mr Hudson | Mr. Hudson’s production on the things he’s done, and on Paper Gods, is very modern and elegant. It’s not very overbearing; it enhances the artists he’s worked with.
Ben [Mr. Hudson] is a really great musician and producer. He’s pragmatic and intelligent, and he’s got great taste, which are three of the things you really do need to hold that position. He’s got a fantastic pedigree—he worked with Kanye and Jay Z, a lot of people who have made some great, modern records.

Equally he’s got one foot very firmly in British music, and appreciates a lot of artists we’ve grown up with.He’s a big David Bowie fan, and anyone from my generation who grew up in Britain—and I’m sure a lot of people in America, too—understand how important David Bowie was to the development of what happened. After The Beatles for me, it was really David Bowie.

The Beatles owned the ’60s, and David Bowie owned the ’70s. Ben could tell you as much about David Bowie’s catalog as almost anyone. And so it’s that fantastic balance that he has, between understanding and appreciating the history of great pop, rock, dance music, and being able to create beautiful sounds for cutting-edge modern artists.

And we found out he was actually from Birmingham, which is where our band started. We had no clue before we went into the studio, but it’s one of those small ironies, that people that are from this place that isn’t as obvious—it isn’t London or New York or Los Angeles—it’s somewhere slightly off the map. Big city, but slightly off the map. And he happened to be from about three miles from where we grew up. We bonded very, very quickly with him on a personal level, and then artistically it just flowed like a waterfall.

"The more I talk about the record, the more I’m grateful to the players outside the core band that came in and really helped us bring this album home."
John Taylor



John Taylor: We had a great programmer, engineer, Josh Blair working with us. We’d come up with the dumbest ideas, he’d turn this shit around, turn it upside down but then you kind of hit a wall and you almost need outsiders that come in with some sort of objectivity to tell you what’s good and what’s bad.

Nick Rhodes: We spent the best part of a year sort of “down in the mines,” chipping away at things looking for gems. We had a lot of really good material, but it just wasn’t cohesive. We found a couple of things in the way of melodies and song titles, but it wasn’t until we started working with Mr. Hudson about a year ago that we were able to focus on what the vision for this project really was.

"He'll play a little bit of guitar, or contribute to lyrics, so he almost became like our fifth member
for the project."

He brought a really fresh attitude toward what we already had, helping us to isolate the good pieces and forget about the others. And we worked on new material with him as well. He initially came in for a day or two, but we ended up kidnapping him for about six months! And that was quite uplifting.

When you work with people you trust, and you allow them to become part of your process, you get things that are different—people like Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers, our engineer and co-producer on many of the album’s tracks Josh Blair, as well as all of the musicians we worked with. It takes you to another place.


John Taylor: “Getting people’s attention is the biggest challenge. People are so distracted all the time. There’s so much going on, there’s so much out there. We wanted to make an album and we knew that we couldn’t make just another business-as-usual album if we were going to get anyone’s attention. It had to shout. Bringing in other musicians, other voices, helps that.”

“It’s like going to a Chinese restaurant,
You can’t have everything.”

Nick Rhodes

Nick Rhodes: “We opened the album to collaborations, which he hadn’t done a lot of before. It brings a whole different colour and texture to the sound.”

“The influences on the album are more global as well,” said Taylor. “When we were working on this album, there’s so much music available. You can bring songs from all over the world, all over history, and all over your life into the studio with you. The theme from Metropolis or whatever, stuff you would never have been able to go near at the end of the 70s.

It’s a good thing, but it’s also a bad thing because when you’re creating, you have to limit yourself. It’s like going to a Chinese restaurant,” added Rhodes. “You can’t have everything.”





“It took longer than usual,
probably the first year was spent down
underground in the mine, trying to find some gold.”

Nick Rhodes

"I’m just a boy from Birmingham"

Ben really had a sense of “you can do this”, says John, he was more ambitious with our sound in a way they we weren’t.

Simon Le Bon on Ben: His energy... he was un-self-conscious; he was supportive; he was creative. He was amazing and really helped us to deliver a great album.

“He also gave us the confidence to leave each other’s space, and this is the first time we have got this on an album.”

Initially booked for two days of studio work, Hudson recalls arriving to the band’s London recording space to find Le Bon “getting off his motorbike and signing autographs — I must admit, I was nervous.”

More than a year later, after countless long hours of laboring alongside them, Hudson’s “really made himself a member of the group — we’ve grown very close to him,” says Le Bon. “He was involved in the writing and recording of this record; he performs on it as well.”

Indeed, it’s Hudson’s voice that opens the album, via a moody intro to the seven-minute-long title track: “I recorded this counter melody and lyric to what Simon was singing as a reference — I assumed he was going to re-sing it,” Ben says. “But he was like, ‘No, we like your voice — we’re going to keep it on there.’

Mr Hudson: "I had lunch with John in L.A. the other day, and I was like, ‘John, I’m a boy from Birmingham. Can you explain to me how I ended up singing the opening bars of your new album?’”

On September 11, 2015 Ben Hudson posted this beautiful message about his collaboration with Duran Duran.

‪#‎DuranDuran‬ - ‪#‎PaperGods‬ - where to begin? I was in London working on my music, having finished up Idris Elba's “Mi Mandela” album recorded in Johannesburg and having rescued Miley Cyrus from the surface of a distant planet. It was time to make more self-centred plans for 2014. The thing is you can make plans - but then the universe just flips everything on its head.

My manager managed to get me a session with Duran Duran who were working on a new album… I’d have TWO days. It didn’t seem like enough time to make an impact on their record. But at least it was a foot in the door.

I felt like the work-experience when i turned up at their studio in south London. Mr Le Bon arrived on his motorbike and i had to wait while he signed autographs and posed for some pics. Once inside he made me a cup of impossibly strong tea and said “We’re not going to play you anything we’ve done so far. We want to see what you come up with”. Terrifying....

Then the band arrived one by one and we started cooking. First Roger and I looked at some drums that might get ‘em going, then John plugged in the bass. Nick (w the assistance of our engineer/co-producer Mr Josh Blair) pulled down a heavy 80s synth from the shelf and started his wizard thing. Finally Mr Le Bon stepped up to the mic to experiment w some melodies. “This sounds like Duran Duran” i thought… Just like that.

Anyway cut a long story short, my internship never ended. Maybe they forgot to send me home. A year later we had an album and i was helping Spike Stent and the band mix the fourteenth Duran Duran record. PAPER GODS.

To a boy from Birmingham, a REAL music fan, the band are untouchable and yet I ended up producing, writing, singing and playing with them. They welcomed me into their process and their life and journey as a band.
I learnt a lot from them and i am INSPIRED.




"We had a couple of days with Nile and Mark where we just jammed and came up with some grooves. And then they both had to run off to do other things, so then it was left to us and Ben to go into the studio and make songs out of it."

Nick Rhodes


Nick Rhodes on Nile Rodgers: "For me, he’s the sound of joy. When he starts playing his guitar, I just smile, because it’s so uplifting, and he’s got such an amazing energy about him. He’s just someone you want in a room. If anyone out there has the luxury to have the opportunity to work with Nile Rodgers, I’d say to you, “Do it.” It’ll make your project more interesting. He’ll bring something you wouldn’t expect."

"His sound has obviously been in and out of fashion a few times, and at the moment, it’s very much in fashion. That’s helped him back to the position that he should’ve always held, which is pretty much as the world’s greatest funk guitarist."

"The Nile and Mark thing"

"He only did a couple tracks with us on this album. He did the single, “Pressure Off,” and “Only in Dreams,” which were co-productions between him and Mark Ronson. And also Mr. Hudson got involved. What really happened is we had a couple of days with Nile and Mark where we just jammed and came up with some stuff, some grooves. And then they both had to run off to do other things, so then it was left to us and Ben to go into the studio and make songs out of it."

"What we had as raw material — bass, drums, guitars and some keyboards — was very compelling. It inspired those songs. You can’t quantify what everyone does—you just know that when people are there together, something happens."

"It’s like dynamite.
It’s going to go bang"

"We felt very, very lucky to have the two of them together. It’s an incredible team. The energy was fantastic when we were all in the room together. Imagine we’re in this room with the guy who’s just come up the back of “Get Lucky” being the biggest hit of the last two years, and Mark had just played us his rough mix of “Uptown Funk” which was about to come out. We’re all sitting together saying, “What should we do?” With that kind of combination, it’s inevitable—it’s like dynamite. It’s going to go bang. That’s the Nile and Mark thing. It was great to have them for these things. And what they produced along with us, “Pressure Off,” is probably the most accessible single we’ve put out for a decade."




“Nile Rodgers gave us a huge amount of confidence in ourselves and in the music. We really were craving somebody to come along and pull these strings and tie them together and make a tapestry, and that’s exactly what he did.”

Simon Le Bon

Mark Ronson and Salvo, EMA Warner after party, Milan October 25, 2015

"Mark Ronson was first choice"

Mark Ronson’s first band came about while he was at school in New York, aged nine. Ronson played bass. They covered 'The Wild Boys' by Duran Duran. “A saxophone came on in the middle,” he recalls. “It was the only thing you could hear.”

Simon Le Bon: “You want to work with someone who understands the band and Mark [Ronson] has that.

“He loves the music that we have made, he was first choice and he first came on board back in 2013. He was along for the first two weeks but then he said he had to go and do his thing but for us to carry on and we would reconnect which we did.”

"I got side tracked by my own record"

Mark Ronson: "Nile and I worked on three songs that feel great, but I got side tracked by my own record."

“I know Niles and his stuff really well but I’d never worked with him before. I always thought he was a great arranger and producer but his melodies and hooks and lyrics are amazing. He’s spouting them out in the studio, an endless source of brilliant ideas.”

Simon Le Bon: “In the interim we got Ben Hudson. The way he works is not dissimilar from Mark, and he is from Birmingham! Him coming on board was a very crucial stage actually, it glued it all together. Before we had a bunch of different songs and he brought it together and gave it a direction. He also gave us the confidence to leave each other’s space, and this is the first time we have got this on an album.”

“I think we really need a producer actually, this band, we've always needed somebody to be looking on from the outside”

Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor on Nile Rodgers: "He's amazing Mark, he's a very... I think there's definitely a bit of genius in there, and he's a very thoughtful character. He thinks very deeply about everything that he does, and that's why he's successful, I think he's just got that something that you need as a producer, just that ability to have that, to look from a distance and see waht's right and what's wrong and which way the groove should go, he's just got an amazing ability."

"I think we really need a producer actually, this band, we've always needed somebody to be looking on from the outside. We all think that we can completely produce a record and get it all right and deliver the finished article - we can't, we really need somebody to have a vision to come in, and Mark always seems to have that vision. We definitely need producers, in the old school sense."




Duran in Paper Gods are in a dark, funky mood, a kinda of pre-Rio experimentation

LA Daily News | In 2015, we find Duran Duran in a dark, funky mood. With Hudson’s help, there’s a sheen that plays up the electro-sounding drums, thumping beats, shimmering synths and funky guitar riffs. It’s kind of pre-“Rio,” tapping into when the band was experimenting with electronic sounds and creating a certain fusion between a Bowie-inspired dark side, punk irreverence and the sounds of Chic.

The album revisits the bands' early days. “It really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side,” said John Taylor.

“It’s great to be able to lift people’s spirits — and your own — with a strong shot of pure pop, says Nick, but the world we live in isn’t all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me that we have kept one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life.

It’s shiny. Electric. Not acoustic. Most importantly, it’s consistent and it holds on to a strong sense of melody and the rhythmic chemistry that has always buoyed this group. “I think we’ve allowed ourselves to be very modern and contemporary on this record.” says Roger Taylor. “We’ve always been a band that has not been afraid of risk,” said Taylor, “We’ve never tried to make the same album twice.”

Roger says the two-year gestation was a matter of making the right album, regardless of how long it took.
“If we’d made a record that wasn’t quite as good as All You Need Is Now it could be the start of a downwards curve.
“We were very conscious of making a great record. We knew we needed to be experimental. We knew we needed to honour the legacy, but we knew it had to have a contemporary sheen to it.”


Roger Taylor: I think the depth of the album is gonna really surprise people. Duran Duran has always had a darker side to its music, but I think this really does go into the more experimental side of the band, so the diversity of the record is quite something. It's very widescreen, you'll have something really fun and poppy like 'Danceophobia' and then you'll have something very dark and introspective like 'Universe Alone' or 'Paper Gods', so I think the breadth of feeling in the album is quite, I think will be quite a surprise to people.

I don't think it was conscious at all. Over the two years, you know what the seasons are like in the UK, we'd turn up one day on a Monday, on a very grey, dreary, English afternoon, and we'd write something that was very deep and thoughtful and dark. Then we'd turn up there on a sunny July afternoon, and it would be a happy song - so it kind of reflects the whole period that we went through, in making the record over the two years, so it certainly wasn't a conscious thing.

Picture above was taken on the set of the Pressure Off video, directed by long time collaborator Nick Egan and edited by Einar Snorri of Snorricuts.
Nick Egan has created the most iconic videos and album covers to date for artists like Malcom Mclaren, Bob Dylan, INXS, Sex Pistols, Oasis, Alanis Morissette, Sonic Youth, Bon Jovi, Clash and of course Duran Duran to name a few. Einar Snorri is a talended Berlin-based commercial editor




“We don’t have a leader, it's all about the "Group Conscience".
All four of us sat there for two years, day in day out, during the writing. That was strong. No one person can run away with an outlandish idea, they’re pulled back in.

Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor says the democratic approach helped them allow more ‘outsiders’ than ever into the creation of Paper Gods.
“It’s been helpful not to have one person write everything, like here’s one I made earlier,” Taylor says. “We don’t have a leader. That democracy was really strong on this record. All four of us sat there for two years, day in day out, during the writing. That was strong. No one person can run away with an outlandish idea, they’re pulled back in. It’s created a very strong band."

“We call the band ‘the group conscience’, that’s the four of us and that’s very strong. We are able to let people in with confidence knowing it’s not going to disrupt the balance of the band. I don’t think we could have done that a few years ago. Our egos may have been a little too fragile to let people in."

“Particularly for Simon to let people in and sing some of his parts has been a big step forward. Mr Hudson was drumming and playing percussion, I was happy with that, I wouldn’t have been a few years ago. It just shows you how strong a unit we are now.”

“Ben coming on board was a very crucial stage actually, it glued it all together.
“Before we had a bunch of different songs and he brought it together and gave it a direction.”





"We wanted to make an album and we knew that we couldn’t make just another business-as-usual album if we were going to get anyone’s attention. It had to shout.
Bringing in other musicians, other voices, helps that.”

John Taylor




“We all knew because the last one did well that this was going to be a tricky album to make. With that in mind it took a while to crystallise the sound and that turned out to be something broad, musically.
I think we managed to glue it all together.”

Nick Rhodes




Simon Le Bon: Really worked hard to make this album inspired, beautiful, powerful, and full of passion.

Simon Le Bon: "I think part of the problem with modern pop music is that people overanalyze it and try to approach it as though there’s some kind of formula that works. By doing that, they’re disabling their own creativity and spontaneity – that little spark of imagination by overthinking it."

"It’s important to be free! With this album, we gave ourselves the luxury of time. We gave ourselves time to try different things out and set our own boundaries and to experiment."

"We really wanted to have space on the record, and Mr Hudson came in and gave us the confidence to put the space around the notes, same way you need the dark to see the stars… you need the space for the music as well. One of the most important sounds of the album is the sound of quiet."

From the Simon Le Bon Facebook chat with Simon Le Bon:

Salvo: Hi Simon, what's your favorite Duran icon/sticker in the Paper Gods artwork?
Simon Le Bon | Duran Duran: "Well...hmmmm....good question. I am particularly fond of RIO's lips, the SNAKE, and of course, the snarling teeth - love that one!




“The techno sound in early Duran has actually proved to be the most flexible and durable aspect of the sound. It actually allows us to refresh continually. Bass drums, guitars, are a little more 20th century, and harder to "make new". I guess also, less has been done with synthesizers – there have been so many great guitar players and drummers yet not so many synthesists or electronic musicians.”

John Taylor

John Taylor on synth bass: The bass guitar on this project was like a sub unit of the process. We dealt with bass on the album and each song posed a bass problem. It was the first time in thirty years that I really threw myself into synthesizer bass and we really worked hard to balance the bass guitar, which has this sound and style which is evocative of the John Taylor style and Duran Duran style but then looking to contemporary music and the way that Kanye West uses bass and the way that most contemporary pop uses bass.
So many pop tracks are out there that don’t use bass guitar and really finding that ebb and flow between the two and again Ben was really helpful with that and I would work with Nick a lot on synthesizers, so when it comes to bass guitars I’m not that precious really. The thing about technology, if you look too much about what’s happening, you do forget to play because you think it’s all about programming, it’s all about the way you wear your hair and it’s all about all this, but if you’re a musician it’s not. It’s all about playing. He completely turned my game around.

Roger Taylor on electronic drums: I’m not afraid of electronic drums and programming. It’s always been apart of my DNA, if you like. Since the day that I saw Kraftwerk perform in 1976, I’ve always been into electronic music from that day on.
A lot of the rhythm tracks on this record were actual performances using digital drums; I’ve got an amazing Roland electronic drum kit where you can trigger samples and sounds through that. I think the album does have my personality because a lot of it is played. There’s definitely still me in the mix.

John on Roger's drum work on Paper Gods: Roger has his work cut out for him on this record more than anyone it seems. Right now we're working solely with electronic drums and converting everything from the album into stuff that can be played live.
There is no real separation between pre-production and production anymore.
With Pro Tools, it’s easy to record every little thought so we always try to do that and keep building, editing, and re-editing.

Barcellona, June 20 2015: John Taylor plays Election Day on his sinth bass . That was the first time the band played the Arcadia track in years!




“We did some shows recently in the U.S. where we’ll look at each other and say, ‘God we’re still doing this 30-something years down the line.’ It’s still working. I think that’s a real gift that something can last so long.”

Roger Taylor


"Stylish, modern, diverse, familiar and unfamiliar"

Nick was recently asked to describe the new sound using only five adjectives: “I think it’s easier to describe it as the ultimate Duran Duran experience on a record. stylish, modern, diverse, familiar and unfamiliar.”

“We’ve never lost our excitement, it’s just the way we are as individuals. We egg each other on. We still have the ambition to make a classic Duran Duran album, but be as contemporary as possible.”

"It's important to us to keep the flame of inspiration and experiment burning." says Simon, "It takes a lot to get us to want to go out to play a world tour, so a record like this is what makes it fun."

"You cannot just come up with any old shit"

"It's a false goal to try to repeat past success. It's never worked for us. Whenever we've tried it before, we've ended up falling flat on our faces.
We’d done that ‘reclaim the ‘80s’ thing with [All You Need Is Now], so that wasn’t the direction we wanted to continue in. We wanted to make a party album. We wanted to make something dance-y, a bit funky.”

“You go in to make an album and you’re at a stage in your career where you cannot just come up with any old shit—it’s pretty much got to be the best album you ever made, for anybody to pay attention, for your fans to even like it. And you can’t make the same album twice—you’ve got to move on. And we weren’t really sure where we were going to go.”

“We got to the studio, and Nick said, ‘I fancy being a bit more dance,’” Simon recalls. “And that’s a very attractive proposition to us, doing dance music, because there’s nothing more fun if you’re in a band than having sexy chicks move their bodies to your music. That’s about the pinnacle.

So I just thought, ‘Yeah! Let’s make that kind of album! Let’s make the kind of album that’s going to get people dancing!’.




The collaborations on the album highlight what Duran Duran does best: create danceable
pop music that somehow transcends eras and genres. “We wanted to make this album
classic, but also cutting edge, we try to change things very deliberately, to excite ourselves and to make things feel contemporary.”

Nick Rhodes



“We like to go to the studio and sort of punish each other all day until we get something and say, That’s good.
That’s worth it.”

Nick Rhodes: "Few artists today have the time and budget to get into that kind of sonic exploration. I think that’s one thing that we have earned for ourselves at this point: the luxury of time and the budget to do what we want.

When we started, we were in a big hurry as all teenagers are. We wanted to get on Top of the Pops and we wanted to play Madison Square Garden. All of those things were enormously important and exciting to us, and real landmarks in our careers.

But what hasn’t changed for anyone in the band is the will to make the most perfect product we can. From the songwriting to the lyrics to the arrangements and sounds—it’s all of the same importance to us today, if not more, than it was then. We’ve never grown complacent.



Paper Gods is a cohesive album
thanks to Mr Hudson

Nick Rhodes: There's such a wild mix of musical styles on Paper Gods, says Rhodes: The schizophrenia is getting worse. A lot of artists get into a comfort zone.
They know what works. For us, that's the least comfortable zone, the comfort zone. We like to torture ourselves a little bit.

Many collaborations, too many people involved, one could think it doesn't sounds like cohesive album... Simon says "I think the cohesion probably comes from two things: it comes from the creative thrust that’s at the heart of it, and also by the very smart and subtle production direction that Ben Hudson has given the record.
I cannot stress his role enough – he really helped us make it sound like an album. He was the glue that kept it together.


The artwork is a collaboration overseen by China Chow, the band worked closely with Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel, who created the album’s cover art.

It features a collage of images that reference the visual history of Duran Duran, each placed like a sticker on a reproduction of Israel’s “Sky Backdrop” painting.

The logo and graphic design are by Brian Roettinger.

The font used is Raisonné, a contemporary sans-serif typeface, designed by Benjamin Critton in 2010



The first reaction is "I can't stand it"
but that's what art is all about

John: Interestingly with the new album, Nick asked China Chow to curate the album art, and she introduced us to Alex Israel.
When we all saw the new artwork for the first time, none of us "got it" right away. It's a slow burn. Now we're all loving it.
Roger: It's great because it shocks people. The first reaction is "I can't stand it" - but that's what art is all about.
John: There's a 20 minute rant on YouTube about how bad the artwork is. You can't buy publicity like that, can you?





“Keeping Duran's classic sound but at the same time being very much with an ear to what’s out there”

John Taylor: Every time we make an album it’s a bit like redesigning the sound. You have to refresh the sound and we’re looking to what’s happening out there. So what do we have to keep that’s part of the classic sound and what’s out there that we can nick.

For me as a bass player, that’s a big question and I’m always starting off with this very purist approach to bass guitar, that it’s got to be played and it’s got to be played live. Halfway through the album I said to Nick that I’d been looking at the top ten i-tunes tracks and there’s no bass guitar on any of them.

It’s all sub-bass, it’s all synth-bass, so that was a bit of a journey, looking at the sound design of the bass. Even with the lyrics, a lyric from 1981 isn’t gonna cut it today, a lyric from 1971 isn’t gonna cut it, people are thinking slightly differently.

Everything has to be refreshed in a way but we have a pretty broad remit, we always have, without over-simplifying it, it’s sort of a rock / techno vibe, pop-rock / techno vibe if you like, and in that keyword techno, it allows us to do anything on a synthesiser and obviously the synthesiser really controls the sound.

In previous albums we learned these lessons. We did an album with Timberland that had hardly any real instruments on it at all, and then we did an album with Mark Ronson and Mark wanted all real instruments and he wanted it to sound just like they were recorded in 1982 and that led us to this album.

So we thought what do we have to keep to keep our classic sound and we just sort of ploughed through our entire history but at the same time being very much with an ear to what’s out there.

John Taylor and Nick Egan on the set of the Pressure Off Video


You talk about awards, when we were working on the album; some site somewhere voted me the greatest bass player of all time. I was thinking what a fucking joke. We were laughing about that in the studio. Ronson was sort of saying to me, “Come on man. You’re the greatest living bass player. Impress us!” That’s not a nice way to start the day. That’s not putting me under any pressure or anything.

You’ve got to wear this shit like a light fitting cloak. You can’t take it seriously. But what we do take seriously is this collaborative process because that’s what it’s all about.

I know what I can do as an individual and that ain’t much. My work is going to be defined by my work with Nick, my work with Ronson, my work with Simon, my work with Nile and vice versa. We’re musicians interacting and that’s what’s great about being in the studio. It becomes all about that and all that hype disappears.





"This album sounds like a very complete meal"

John Taylor comments on the guitar sound on Paper Gods | "To me, this album sounds like a very complete meal. It still hearkens to the early sound of the band but includes more electronic sounds and some really great guitar work. Dom's role got reduced on the latest album since John Frusciante reached out and opened the door for newer guitar possibilities. After sitting down and talking with producer Mark Ronson, he suggested Nile also come in and play. The guitar sound kind of evolves over the album and the direction of songs are definitely influenced by its presence."



"I know what I can do as an individual and that ain’t much. My work is going to be defined by my work with Nick, my work with Ronson, my work with Simon, my work with Nile and vice versa."

John Taylor





Recording Paper Gods was like having a "proper job"

Roger Taylor

"We'd roll up about 12pm and work 'til eight or nine in the evening," he says. "For the two years we were making the album, we kept good hours, no slacking off, five days a week.
There's no taskmaster as such, but Nick is definitely the most motivated. But then, we all are. There's no reason to be in this band in 2015 unless we're all motivated. That's the only thing that keeps us going.
Or perhaps an eternal lust for affirmation. Maybe it's that?"

John pulling some funy faces in Barcelona






John and Roger on Simon's lyrics

John Taylor: I always think of Simon as the lyrical voice of the album, and when he is inspired, he's always going to provide the best Duran Duran lyric style, just as I would with the bass or Roger with drums. But there are times when any one of the rest of us can step forward with an idea, and Simon is very open, he's not precious, he'll work with any of us to bring a lyric home.
Roger Taylor: Ben Hudson was really great for Simon on this album, because he had someone to bounce around ideas with.
John Taylor: It was like Simon had another singer to work with.



Hudson became LeBon’s right-hand man on the record, helping him with lyrics and co-writing and coproducing half the album.
Hudson also sings on the album’s seven-minute title track, already previewed online.

“It’s uncompromisingly long, isn’t it?,” Le Bon says. “I think that’s a great way to open the record. It’s one of the strongest songs on the record. We’re all very proud of that one. It’s Ben Hudson’s finest moment on the record too.”

John Taylor says music always comes easier to Duran than lyrics. Hudson joined the brains trust helping LeBon finish the words for Paper Gods.
“The best thing Ben did was say ‘That’s fine, what you’ve written is really good’ rather than telling me to rewrite it,” Le Bon says.

“There were times when he took it into a direction it wouldn’t have necessarily gone into.
Nick gets involved with lyrics, John does a little bit. I put them together because obviously it’s my mouth they’re going to have to come out of.”

Nick says as a band goes on lyrics become harder to write, “Lyrics are tricky, particularly when you’ve written as many songs as we have and particularly for Simon who writes the large majority of the lyrics,” Rhodes explains.

There are only so many things to write about, only so many approaches you can make to things. Of course it becomes increasingly difficult to find those absolute gems, a different perspective that’s interesting, elegant, unusual — it’s difficult.

Wherever you can find a title or the right inspiration for the story, the trail of the song it’s important to recognise it. Simon’s particularly good at that.”


"(lyrically) there’s a lot more now of me looking at the world that I am in,
rather than the world in me."

Simon Le Bon

I think it’s a different kind of world that we’re viewing now. If we’re talking about lyrically, you’re talking about me really - the other guys don’t come up with a lot of lyrics - and it’s kind of my take on the world. Frankly, the world that I was looking at in the ‘80s was the world that was inside me.

There’s a lot more now of me looking at the world that I am in, rather than the world in me. It’s so much more self discovery at that time of your life.

You’ve just become an adult really, or are becoming an adult and finding out who you are. That’s very inspiring for lyrics and concepts and musical ideas, too. As you grow older, you get used to yourself. I’m not saying I know myself completely, but you start to look out a little bit more, I think.



"There’s just a few points of view where we find ourselves questioning what part of the tree this berry is hanging on. That would be a way of summing it up; just what it’s like for us at this particular point of the spiral arm of the galaxy. It’s not a concept album other than the fact that we wanted to make an album that people would dance to. We figured out it’s more fun being a party band than a sit-down-and-listen band."

Simon Le Bon




“Try sharing your microphone with a singer the caliber of Kiesza — that’ll push you out of your comfort zone,” says Le Bon.
The girl sings her ass off, and that really did get the best out of me.
Similarly, having Jonas Bjerre on ‘Change the Skyline’ was a major motivation, listening to the way he sung his part. I had to go back in and re-record the main vocal after I’d heard it.”
Anna Ross sings on Butterfly Girl and did backing vocals on Danceaphobia and Last Night in the City.



Simon Le Bon on Jeanelle Monae: "I’d finally come to accept the idea that we’d have collaborations on this record. Her name was at the top of our list, but I was quite prepared to be heading for somebody further down the list. But she said yes straight away. I think she heard something in the song she really liked. It was so easy to work with her. Me and John went over to L.A. and we managed to get her into a studio. She arrived at about 10 at night and sang till about 2 in the morning, and she’d done everything."







IL GIORNALE | Article translation from italian newspaper "Il Giornale" [Excerpt]

"Who said that a band releases it's best stuff at the beginning of the career and then spend the rest of its life writing a will?", says John Taylor.

"Paper Gods, or the Gods of Paper, refers to different things, from big publishers to the people who has a lot of money. "Nowadays everything is compressed into a few bytes, from books to photos," adds Nick Rhodes, the visionary of the band: "We have always been inspired by cinema and even in Paper Gods for one of the songs, Only in Dreams, we took inspiration from some designs made by Salvador Dali for Hitchcock's Spellbound". A great a dreamlike film with Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.

Simon remembers Fellini: "We met him in Cinecittà when he was shooting his last film The Voice of the Moon. He said, joking: "I'll have to go to the doctor because my sexual appetites are too exuberant but they stop in my head and don’t go any lower..." Laughs.

[...] The Beatles are the classic example of a band who splitted up too early, adds John while Nick Rhodes, says: "With time you become more understanding. You get to a point where you are fine together as men and as a band. John adds: "at 19 you don’t really think what you’ll be doing in your 50… Now that we are here we want to stay, we aim to eternity.

Guest on Paper Gods - In a funny sort of way they reinvigorated the band and of course management were super happy about it because it’s a story. That’s what they really wanted – a story to sell the record.




CORRIERE DELLA SERA | Article translation from italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera"

The album title, which is also of one of the songs, talks about paper divinity. "It's ambiguous: you can read a references to money, to media moguls and even to ourselves. They are all gods, but so thin, just like paper.

"There’s no substance, not real power: it’s just an image," says Simon. Continues John Taylor, bassist: "I feel the commodification of everything, the ephemeral of all those things people have a total obsession for today and they just forget tomorrow. In today's world, the digital world, it all seems even more volatile and thinner than paper."

"It's true" adds Nick Rhodes: "books, records and photographs had substance compared to todays digital files that only exist somewhere in a digital world"

Duran Duran were absolute pioneers in the visual experimentation when they started. MTV had just been launched and video clips revolutionized the way people listened to music.

"It was a very important creative moment," recalls drummer Roger Taylor. "We are all cinema lovers. This influence can been found also in the songwriting as the songs have this this feeling of the big screen.

In Only in Dreams, for example, says Rhodes, I wanted to create a dream landscape. The scenery made by Salvador Dalì for Hitchcock's Spellbound came to mind.

"We were offered a chance to meet Mr. Fellini at Cinecittà while filming The Voice of the Moon" says John.

Simon laughs and adds, "He greeted us saying that he had to go the doctor because he had a problem... his sexual appetite was too high. High in the sense that it was in his head only but not in lower places.“


The picture that I gave to band as a little present. They met Fellini on the set of La Voce della Luna in Cinecittà, Rome, back in November 1989.


Wonder if those pictures of Duran and Fellini that I presented to the band at the studio [back in November 2013] were an input to for this Fellinian influence... I reported about this here


In "Paper Gods" there’s another link to cinema, Lindsay Lohan in "Danceophobia." "We been in touch with her for years.

She sent us a text message saying she wanted to do something with us and Mark Ronson [and Nile Rodgers]".

"Her voice in the spoken part of the song is so powerful," says Simon. John adds a detail: "Perfume, fur and a cigarette...? An explosion of femininity”.

There are also some other guests on the album: Janelle Monáe in the single "Pressure Off", John Frusciante, former guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiesza... "This record represents also a redesign of Duran Duran.

The music sounds more contemporary. We did duets: "nowadays people are used to these kind of collaborations."

They met in 1978, year that is also celebrated on Simon’s vintage t-shirt. A life together. "At 19 you don’t think what you’ll be doing at 50. Now that we are there we want to go on: we are here for eternity," says John.

Nick get serious: "At the beginning of the band’s career we were just teenagers and there were no serious relationships outside the band. Then girlfriends, families came and priorities changed.

See what happened to the Beatles: however you judge her, Yoko Ono did what she thought was right for her affair with John. This has happened to us early on, between the second and third album, but we realized that the band was more important."



Frusciante’s stunning guitar work, along with Davide Rossi and Josh Blair’s stirring string arrangements, on both the “Ordinary World”-esque ballad “What Are the Chances” and the cinematic album-closer “The Universe Alone,” combine to give Paper Gods
some of its most memorable moments.




“I came to the studio one morning and Ben said:
‘We did this great thing last night.’ My first reactionwas ‘Nah, don't like it, it's rubbish.’
Then I went to the loo and suddenly the melody that goes over Paper Gods’
chorus popped into my head.
And I had to admit ‘Oh, OK, I think I've got something...’
Once you discover the bud of a song, the whole thing opens up like a flower."

Simon le Bon




Who are the Paper Gods?
“Money, newspaper headlines, false idols, the crumbling world of religion.”

Nick Rhodes


“Paper Gods” (Featuring Mr. Hudson) This epic opening ode to money and fame begins with what sounds like a Gregorian chant and evolves into a bit of an electro-pop symphony. The breakdown at the center of the track is where the song hits its apex. With its droning vocal intro, about a minute in, we get signature Duran Duran elements of slap bass, electronic drums, mutating synth pads, and keyboard stabs. Layers build, almost in a classical way.

The seven-minute song, serves as a sort of social commentary from a legendary band known for keeping their lyrics "ambiguous," in the words of Nick Rhodes.
"We haven't generally used a lot of social commentary in our lyrics," Rhodes said.

The first question we usually get asked is, 'What are 'Paper Gods'? ' They're what you want them to be. Is it money? Is it media moguls? Is it false icons? Probably all of those. We just feel, I think, that there's so much thrown at everybody now with the Internet and we're all so connected to everything, people sleeping with their phones next to their pillows, perhaps it's interesting to step back for a minute and think about where we are and what we're doing.

For Simon Le Bon, "Paper Gods" practically wrote itself: "When the phrase 'Paper Gods' popped out, popped into our heads somewhere, I suddenly had this great vision of all this stuff," he said. "It was so easy to write that lyric. I don't think I've ever had a lyric that was easier to write than that one - it was one day, one afternoon, and the whole thing was finished from start to finish. Everything.”
"It's not a message, it's an observation,” Le Bon says. "It's just a look at life now in the way that so much of our lives are dominated by consumerism and commodification. The commodification of our population. I think that's what it's about, really, and this idea - there must be something more important there.”

Nick Rhodes recalls the writing process of “Paper Gods”: it was the second song we did with Mr. Hudson, and I think we dared each other to really explore, saying, “Where can we take this?”
That tune started with a jam we had in the studio one night with Ben, John, Roger and me. Simon wasn’t there. John was playing a really funky bass line, and I had come up with a sort of pizzicato part that was very simple but quite repetitive and infectious. So we started with that and then we thought we needed another section. That’s where we found the chords for the chorus. And it seemed like a nice musical movement from one piece to the other.

When Simon came in the next day, he heard what we had done and said, “I don’t really like that.” We said, “Okay, well we all feel that there’s something quite special about it.”
So Simon left the room for ten minutes and then came back. We played it back for him, and he replied, “I want to sing this.” And then he sang the melody of the chorus over it. Immediately, we all knew we had found a direction for the song. And then Ben said, “Oh, I think I have something that goes quite nicely with that.” And then he sang the countermelody that opens up the song. And from there we sort of built the other bits.

The revelation was really the middle section, where I had started off with some almost prog-rock, arpeggiated sequences that were different from something I would usually use. They would’ve been more at home on a Pink Floyd record than a Duran Duran one!

The commodification of our population.
I think that's what it's about, really, and this idea -
there must be something more important there.”



“It’s our last show in the city’— it’s got a strong stage element
in the lyric

With Keisza we wanted the ultimate diva on that track with the voice that could shatter glass around the universe and an energy. She is a rising star and she is going to be around for a long time.

Simon: I was very aware of Kiesza through her “Hideaway” single… I spent a lot of early last year in the gymnasium working on my knees on the exercise bikes. I think I saw her “Hideaway” video more than anything else while I was in there! She’s an incredible singer.

“Last Night in the City” song title | “That’s one of Nick’s great ideas, that song,” says Simon. “The way we work is, a lot of the times I won’t have an idea in my head at all, and they [Nick, John and Roger] will throw titles at me, and something will click. And that’s one that clicked when Nick threw the title at me, and it’s a very universal thing, isn’t it?

"You can't do features just for the hell of it. You want someone that raises the standard of the song"

The song is about that thing that people do on their last night. Although,” he admits, “I was thinking more in terms of ‘It’s our last show in the city’—it’s got a strong stage element in the lyric. But really, it could be anything.”

Nick Rhodes: "We’d talked about having a female voice on the song, but we didn't know who. Kiesza was recommended by our publisher, and her fantastic energy took the song to a different level. You can't do features just for the hell of it.
You want someone that raises the standard of the song."
Simon Le Bon: "Or the whole record, which Kiesza did with her contribution."



This song places the band in a post-EDM, post-hip-hop realm and they really shine. This is electro-pop gold. And the turn that Le Bon takes on the word “Silence” during the chorus sends it to another level entirely.

Simon Le Bon: “It’s my favorite song on the album,” Le Bon says. “It reminds me of ‘New Religion.’ That’s the only thing we’ve ever done like it... But it still has a pace to it.”
“You Kill Me With Silence” also has echoes of the past while being firmly anchored in the present. It opens with a haunting synth line from Rhodes that harks back to “The Chauffeur” before layering in other elements.
“When everything else comes in to join it, at first, I think Snoop Dogg,” Le Bon says. “When the vocal comes in, I think Nancy Sinatra. Then when the chorus comes in, I think 10cc.”

"You’ve never heard a song like “You Kill Me With Silence” from Duran Duran before… never with that kind of space and that kind of ability to not make sound, and to leave that gap. The sound of silence is a powerful sound. Ben is the guy who helped us find the confidence within ourselves to be able to do that."

Simon points to a line in You Kill Me With Silence that Hudson gave him.
“He said ‘You kill me with silence, that’s your style girl’. I would have never have written ‘That’s your style girl’, that’s just something that would have never come out of me. But Ben told me ‘That’s what people say in pop songs now’ so I thought ‘Yeah, that’s great, let’s have some of that!’”

Nick Rhodes: “This is the first song we worked on with Ben. He started playing with a beat, and we all joined in with parts to see what we could make. We pretty much had the whole song done on the first day of working with him. He became accepted to us within an hour, and that was so valuable, as suddenly there's someone else in the room who we trusted."

“Sometimes we’ve lost a little of the experimental stuff in our quest to write the perfect pop song,” Rhodes admits.
“You spend too much time on trying to write hits and you don’t meander down the road where you find some of the more interesting stuff that’s never going to be a hit but is a more valid piece of music than something trying to be hit.”

Roger Taylor: “You Kill Me with Silence” was very much written with my drum kit because I wanted to step away from our traditional sound, as the last record was very much about the traditional Duran Duran sound. Also “What Are the Chances” is very different territory for us where the drums enabled us to step put of the box we were in.

"This one is important for the album"

Simon Le Bon: “Mark said we should work with Nile but that he wanted to be there too,” John Taylor says. “I had Nile on the phone in a shot!”
John Taylor says Rodgers’ approach was dramatically different to Ronson’s.
“Mark is brilliant but he’ll walk around for six months thinking ‘What if we try this?’ Nile is immediate. If he’s in the room the s--- is happening.
“Whether that means it’s a No. 1 hit single in 2015 I don’t know. But he doesn’t overthink it. That is so refreshing in an industry that’s very pontificatory.”

Rhodes says the fact Duran had the two men behind Uptown Funk and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky working together wasn’t lost on them.
“Those two songs are probably the two biggest, and deservedly so, dance records of the last few years,” Rhodes says. “We’re all sitting there going ‘Right guys, what should we do?’ Pressure essure Off is what came e out of that.”

"Ben put us in touch with Janelle. She’s fabulous. Me and John went to L.A. and we met up with Nile in this little recording studio and Janelle came down… she didn’t arrive ‘til 10 o’clock at night! Her and her – very modest – entourage went to the wrong studio and ended up the other side of L.A..

Simon Le Bon: We had an idea of what we wanted, and we talked about it, and she sang the backing vocals in the verse, and then when we got to the middle, we wrote it there and then: her, me, John, and Nile. Between the four of us, we wrote the words, the rhythm, and the melody. She just did it. She makes it very easy."

John Taylor: "We went to Mark Ronson’s studio last August for three days, and Nile was there in between Chic shows. Pressure Off was the song we'd been looking for, because it had the potential to be the first single. At that stage, we'd had songs that spoke of the concept of the album and its overall arc, but I don't think we had one we could go to radio with. Suddenly, we realised ‘If we work hard, maybe this is it. This one is important for the album."'

the League of Extraordinary Gentleman

According to Hudson, The “Pressure Off” recording session was unforgettable with all three producers on-site, writing and jamming with the four Durans.
“It was like the League of Extraordinary Gentleman,” he says of the day at Ronson’s Tileyard studio in London. “There was a point where we were all at the mixing desk and I thought, 'This is quite serious.' It was a combination of nostalgia at the idea of Nile and Duran Duran coming back together, and excitement about the young guns in the form of me and Mark. You don’t normally feel there’s a guarantee you’ll come up with something, but it was like, ‘This is going to be amazing.’”

Rodgers recalls having his work cut out for him when he arrived. “I walk in and Duran — they’re like my second band, like Chic’s little brother — they’re playing me some songs,” he says. “I said to Nick Rhodes: ‘OK, play the single.’ He played a song, and I looked a little peculiar: 'Uh, that’s the single? Is there another one?’ He said, ‘No, that’s the one we wanna go for.’ I said, ‘Great, let’s do some writing.’ And it was the very first time in my life that I’ve played with Duran Duran as a full band — with Roger Taylor on drums and Nick Rhodes on keyboards at the same time. I was so happy, I proceeded to write [three songs]. At the end, Nick pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey Nile, remember the thing you asked me about? The thing about the singles?’ I said, ‘Yeah?’ He said: ‘You just did ‘em.’”


the League of Extraordinary Gentleman

John Taylor: "A great song title. Simon's moulding words while we mould sounds. He'll usually come up with a dozen ideas for lyrics and we'll go 'Paper Gods? Great title!’ Simon then says ‘Really? Oh, OK’ and runs with that.

It's rare for him to say 'These are the lyrics and the song is called this.’ More often, one of us picks up on something and says to Simon ‘That's a great phrase, can we move more down that road?"'

Face for Today started in a very traditional manner, and then got “electro’d up” over the two years of making the album says Roger.




"Her presence in the studio has destabilized us, says John,
he blew up the male atmosphere with a breath of femininity, fur,
perfume and cigarettes. We spent a week to recover. "

John Taylor


The album was nearly called Danceophobia

"We had this idea based on Michael Jackson's Thriller, on the wonderful monologue that Vincent Price delivered. She really nailed it."

Simon Le Bon: She’s big Hollywood! What’s she doing on a lil old Duran Duran album?! Lindsay... Lindsay is a friend of mine, she has been for years – and she loved the idea of being on a Duran Duran album produced by Mark Ronson. I put it in the back of my head, until we were listening to “Dancephobia”, when we realised we had to do something special in the middle. That’s when I had the wonderful brainwave to se if Lindsay would do the voiceover.

It took her ages to get her to the studio, about two weeks of us saying ‘come on down this Wednesday’, and her going ‘yeah’ and then not coming… but we don’t know for an answer. We’re resilient, and we finally got her into the studio, and she nailed it in three takes. She did a great job. She really captured the fun, the slight naughtiness of it – we’re very proud of her.

"We ended up with 70-something versions of it on the computer which is unheard of for us"
Nick Rhodes

Nick Rhodes: "The hardest track to get right was ‘Danceophobia’. There were more iterations of that song than any song in our entire career. We ended up with 70-something versions of it on the computer which is unheard of for us. But we kept at it because we got the chorus early on and we all felt it was unusual and strong and deserved to be brought to fruition. But we couldn’t get the verses or the middle right.

One night John and I just ripped it apart one night and made it more electronic and that gave us the key. Then I cut up all the little parts of Lindsay that I had and spaced her across the middle. And suddenly it all fell into place.

John Taylor: "We were obsessed by The Time, and loved the idea of having a slightly comedic Minneapolis dance track. But we shied away from the complexity of that sound with its horns and tricky fills, so we smoothed it out.

"We were almost copying Daft Punk copying Duran"

John Taylor on gayroadio

It now reminds me of early Daft Punk, their French feel. Nick and I had a boner for the song all along, and once Simon came up with the title, we all went ‘That's it!’ The album itself was nearly called Danceophobia.'



“Lindsay part on Dancephobia was inspired by what Vincent Price’s did
during Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ So the Duran Duran version of that had to be a sexy girl!”

Nick Rhodes



This is a classic electro ballad led by John Frusciante’s guitar-work. And Le Bon sings a chorus which winds and turns in intriguing ways. A song about missed opportunities “Any other day and you might’ve gone walking by without a second look”. This song has “pop-hit” written all over it. It stands easily among their best work.

Aas already reported at the beginning of this special page, Warner has recently sent out to media a press release about the release of What are the Chances as next single cut from Paper Gods.

Below the press release:

Duran Duran’s next single release will be ‘What Are The Chances’.
The track, taken from their 14th studio album ‘Paper Gods’, is one of the highlights of the latest release, brimming with all the distinctive qualities we’ve know them for since they began their pop journey in 1978. Its slow-burning and brooding feel also serves as a poignant and fitting reminder of the looming festive season. The track features a very special guest in the shape of former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. The track was produced by Duran Duran and Josh Blair with additional production from Mr. Hudson.

Nick Rhodes: "What Are the Chances’ came easily. We got the basic structure of the song while jamming and Simon got the melody and we slowly pieced it together over a couple of days. Sometimes you get a little lucky.”

John Taylor: Out of the blue John Frusciante emailed me saying ‘Would you be interested in me contributing to the album?’ We were all knocked out. I mean, he really stands out from the last 20 years of guitar players, doesn’t he? The first thing he did, we sent him What Are the Chances? What he gave us was everything we ever loved about electric lead guitar. The melody, the texture. It just raised the bar.”

‘The closest the album has to a Duran Duran power ballad! It's the first song we sent to John Frusciante, and he took quite a while to send anything back, but when he did we were knocked out and said 'Brilliant! What shall we ask him to do next?’ John told me he'd been practicing certain styles that would fit in Duran's sound.’

Roger Taylor: “What Are the Chances” is very different territory for us where the drums enabled us to step put of the box we were in.

"We nearly dumped this one"

Simon Le Bon: “Sunset Garage” was the third song that we did with Mr Hudson. The first was “You Kill Me with Silence”, the second was “Paper Gods”, and then this one. There was a lot of debate about whether it should go on the album because it’s got a slightly different flavor, but I have to say I love it so much. I love that song so much that I fought and pushed and pushed. It’s very special to me.

One of Yasmin's favorite songs is Sunset Garage - Simon told Hello! magazine that she said, "if you don't get that song back on the record I'll probably never speak to you again."

Roger Taylor: "We nearly dumped this, but the A&R from Warner said ‘That's amazing! This could be one of the singles for the UK.’ So we thought we'd better make sure it could fit the rest of the album. We'd become so close to the album that we couldn't quite see the validity of Sunset Garage. We're all for diversity, but you don't want an album that goes from folk music to acid house."

Hollie Cook additional vocals

Simon Le Bon: Hollie Cook came through John. He was familiar with her and suggested her. “Sunset Garage” has got a real reggae vibe. I wanted to get a bit of Bob Marley in it. That bass line really inspired me and I wanted to get a Wailers sound for the vocal. So we got Hollie. She doesn’t sound like the Wailers, she sounds like Hollie Cook. But she’s just as good and she was perfect for.


Nick Rhodes: ‘Brandon Flowers initially wrote this one with us, but he only had time to do a rough vocal.
He was great and did a fab job - but the timing of his own album The Desired Effect meant it didn't work out.’

Simon Le Bon: Mew are fantastic, aren’t they? I love Jonas Bjerre voice. I’ve not met him unfortunately – this collaboration was done completely in the modern way with no face-to-face contact. All via Dropbox or whatever. It’s an amazing mixture of his voice and mine, and the way it works in the record. I’m really happy with that one. Hopefully we’ll get to see him and perform it with him at some point!

Jonas Bjerre on “Change The Skyline” was important, because it’s one thing to have a guy and a girl sing a duet, but it’s quite another to have two guys who sing in different styles work together. You know, I’ve done it before, but not really on a Duran Duran record. I’ve done it with Sting on an Arcadia song. I was really attracted to the idea of having a twin male voice collaboration.

Jonas Bjerre: “It was all a bit surreal to me. They are obviously legendary, and I kept thinking about when I was a kid and my dad brought home VHS tapes with a bunch of music videos on it, one being “Wild Boys”. I obsessed about that song and video, this strange post-apocalyptic universe they created. It was such an intriguing mystery to me. That’s exactly the kind of music I love, the kind that makes you wonder and keeps you wanting to delve back into it.”
The enigmatic vocalist ended up recording his vocals in a small studio in Russia on a “beautiful” old Neumann microphone.


Anna Ross has has a great solo vocal part on the track and she sounds amazing!

The story behind Butterfly Girl

Event mag: Has Simon warned his daughters about predatory pop stars and their ungentlemanly ways?

Simon Le Bon: One of my girls has just had her own experience with a... something or other, but heartache is part of life. It’s no good having everything you want
just fall into your lap. It could have been much worse for her — it could have happened ten years later. At least she was young enough to cope
with it. I didn’t get involved, I had to let her get on with it. I stood back and wrote a song about it, Butterfly Girl.

Simon le Bon: ‘Roger's drumming is so good here.
He brought in an electronic drum kit on some songs, which makes it sound like a dance song. You can always tell it's Roger, though. The songs need that personality.”

Roger Taylor: ‘We're not afraid to go down different avenues. We're not in a box that a lot of bands put themselves into, where they find a sound and stick to it.’



‘We came up with a fabulous groove and great sounds in the studio with Mark Ronson and Nile"

Nick Rhodes: Only In Dreams is from an infectious 10-minute jam John and I played with Nile, knowing it was magical. But we had to turn what we'd got into actual songs, which is one reason everything took a while on this album.”

[When we were recording this song...] "I thought of the scene designed by Salvador Dali for Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound." The oneiric scene where Gregory Peck describes his dreams to the psychologist played by Ingrid Bergman."



"It's our "My Way"

John Taylor: ‘We thought The Universe Alone might open the album. It needed to go somewhere on the album that gives it some weight.
It's our My Way, to an extent, saying that you can't rely on anything or anyone.

"There's something courageous about this one"

Simon is a sailor and he just isn't afraid by life. In this song, his chest is puffed out on the prow of the boat, but it's a starship rather than a yacht. There's something courageous about this one.’

Click on the picture to enlarge it [both b/w pics taken in Barcelona, 20th June 2015]





One of the three bonus track on the Deluxe Edition of Paper Gods and actually one of the gems on the album is Northern Lights. The bass line, the way it plays with keyboard, coupled with the ethereal and atmospheric guitar of John Frusciante...

John Taylor: That was a pre-Mr Hudson track but we all loved John’s contribution so we kept it in the race. When it came down to choosing the album running order it just didn’t feel strong enough as a song, nor did it make absolute sense in the album narrative.






"Playing to fans it is when the whole process comes full circle. You make music for people to listen too, but playing live is the only time they are listening as you are playing."

Simon Le Bon




This e-zine celebrates Duran Duran and their members. This is a non-profit activity and there are not commercial purposes behind the existence of the site. The e-zine is just a positive place to share love, passion, stories, news and pics on Duran Duran.
Any Duran Duran fan is welcomed to submit reports, news, pics, etc.

Thanks to all the media quoted in this installment and the journalists who have interviewed the band over the last few months.
Special thanks to Faby, Steen, Evelyn, Kirsty, Ursula, Isabel, Ruby, Camillo and everyone who submitted news and helped tracking magazines and newspapers around the world.

Thanks to you all, friends of duranasty.com, your support is very much appreciated.

A huge thanks goes always to John, Nick, Simon and Roger for all their work and for taking care of their fans. Thanks to Warner Bros Italia.

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