Christian D'Antonio, my long time friend and best man at my wedding [!], Duran Duran fan since the early years, author of the great Duran Duran italian biography Glam Pop Party, who works as journalist for some prestigious italian niche magazines and free press has been lucky enough to get an interview with Nick Rhodes [trough the record company] about the release of Rio Classic Album dvd. Duran Duran have released only two interviews in support of Rio Classic album in Italy, both upon request of Edel Records. One of them has been granted to Rockstar magazine the other, to Christian, has been published on the free press Metro magazine [an edited version and in italian of course]. For the pleasure of you all here is the unedited and clean interview where Nick confirms that an orchestral record is currently under consideration, that they would really love to start working on the project Duranthology and he also jokes [does he?!] about the possibilty to write a Duran book with his side of the story as he's quite sure he can remember what really happened...

When did you first realize Rio became an iconic record?

When you create a collection of songs and release them as an album, you have to feel confident that it's the best you can possibly do at that moment. We consciously continued writing as soon as we had finished our first album, so Rio was a natural evolution of the band's sound, it was not in any way effected or influenced by the success of the first album. We knew when it finished, that it represented what we wanted to say at that time. It is the public who decide what music captures the spirit of a generation.

Is it true you were personally dissatisfied with the quick mixing of it?

When the rest of the band had to travel to Sri Lanka to begin filming the videos for the album, I made the decision to stay in London with our producer, Colin Thurston, until the final mixes were completed. The details are very important to me and I wanted to ensure that every mix was as perfect as it could possibly be. So by the time I boarded the plane to Sri Lanka, I had a cassette of the final mixes and was very happy with what we had achieved.

Which song stood the test of time? And your least favourite?

I think the whole album works as a complete listening experience. We did not put a track on the record that didn't deserve to be there.

From polaroid to digital, Nick has always been very passionate about photography, he released his first book of abstract phototgraphy Interference in 1984

You met the producer on your reunion tour after so long. Did you intend to work with him again before he died?

We were all thrilled to see Colin at one of our shows in Birmingham and grateful for the opportunity to catch up. Sadly his health had deteriorated rapidly and so it was the last time we saw him. He was an extraordinary producer and engineer, who helped us sharpen our vision on the first two albums. Had we worked with him again I have no doubt we would have created something interesting together, but as with most artists, we needed to explore working with different people.

Pics: the band in the studio with Colin Thurston, producer of Duran Duran and Rio. Colin died on January 15, 2007

When the budding record producer Colin Thurston was taken to see Duran Duran in 1980, he wasn't in the best of moods. He had just flown back from the United States and the jet-lag was catching up with him. However, as soon as they began playing "Girls on Film", Thurston snapped out of his torpor. By the end of their set, he knew he had found the next band he wanted to work with. Producer and musicians sealed their partnership with a four-day session during which they aimed to record both sides of a single but actually completed half of Duran Duran, the group's début album for EMI. In 1982, Thurston oversaw the recording of Rio, the group's second album, and the one which established them around the world with the catchy hit singles "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio", and the ballad "Save a Prayer". However, David Kershenbaum remixed several Rio tracks for the dance market in the US. Still, Thurston remained on good terms with Duran Duran. With their keyboard-player Nick Rhodes, he co-produced "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo, and turned it from a prospective B-side into the group's first and biggest hit in 1983. John Taylor says: Without Colin's depth of vision, we would never have become the band we became. He will be remembered as an important musical stylist who was a major catalyst for the Eighties sound.

In the dvd there are some backstage scenes from the exotic videos. Will there ever be a backstage film of those?

I'm not entirely sure how much additional footage exists, but imagine we used most of the best shots in the videos, so unlikely there will be much more released until we do an anthology.

Behind the scenes: The making of the Rio videos in Sri Lanka

You played with basic samples on the record: how that Bbc nature album sample came about?

There were no samplers at the time we made the Rio record, so everything had to be done live. I liked the concept of having some real sounds and other voices on the album, so viewed each song to see what may work. The nature commentary used on the outro of The Chauffeur just added to the atmosphere, as soon as I dropped the needle on to the disc at that point in the song, it felt magical, as if it belonged. I think the girl laughing and screaming on Hungry Like The Wolf was another triumph of live sampling at that time too...
Actually much more fun to record than going through a bunch of samples that someone else has created in a computer.

Who keeps the Nagel portrait of the cover?

That's a secret, but apparently she has become very friendly with the Mona Lisa.

Has it been hard not to duplicate or refer to Rio each time you make a new album?

Not at all, we always look forward not backwards.

Will you ever consider reworking your old catalogue songs? Simon mentioned a possible symphonic album.

We frequently rework catalogue songs for our live show. If there is an inspirational new way to look at music we have written in the past, then that would be valid, an orchestral record is currently under consideration.

And what about the collaboration with Mark Ronson?

We worked with Mark earlier this year on a one off live show in Paris. He created a master mix mash up of some of his favourite Duran Duran songs, including elements of other artists songs too. He treated it like a continuous DJ mix, we then learned to play his mixes live, which produced a very unique and dynamic show. I think he has a great understanding of what the band is about, and hope we are able to coordinate doing some new material together next year.

Red Carpet Massacre was the quickest recorded record since Rio for Duran. Any similarities?

I do think writing and recording songs in a shorter time period helps focus a record and gives it continuity. As Rio felt like the right record to make at that time, Red Carpet Massacre feels right for now... But more importantly, they both have girls on the cover.

Pics: Nick does some Art Shop Windows in Mexico on february 26, 2005. The pic on the left it's an original polaroid portrait of Nick taken by Andy Warhol back in 1986 during one of the many parties they went together..

Which artist do you miss the most from the 80's?

I don't miss any musicians, the ones that were good enough still make music. I do miss Jean Michel Basquiat though.

Who is the most passionate celebrity fan of the band?

Perhaps we could have a competition to resolve this one...

Are you working on the Duran Anthology?

Ah, you mean Duranthology... We have not begun work on that project yet, but it's definitely something we would like to do. There is a massive amount of material to go through, much of it unseen or unreleased.


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All photographs in this interview from Salvo's Duran Duran photo archive. © Copying, publishing, editing the interview and/or the photographs, or using them on other web pages or message boards, is prohibited unless written permission of the editor and the author.Thanks.