It’s that time again! It is April, and that means Roger Taylor came to visit the Katy Kafe! As always, I listened, took thorough notes, and will break down the highlights, and sprinkle a little opinion of my own throughout. This is definitely not the entire Kafe rewritten word for word, and if you want to hear the entire episode in its entirety, I encourage you to get your DDM membership – tour time is coming!!
Roger Taylor on the Record Deal with Warner Bros
The record deal with Warner is a “global” or “worldwide” deal, meaning that promotion for this album should not be a problem…and we will see how that works in the months ahead. Roger confides that as of a month ago, they did not have a deal in the works. Simon and John took the album to Warner Bros, (could this have been part of that trip to LA around the time of the Grammys?) and played them some of it. The label said that they wanted to sign them immediately, which almost sounds too good to be true in this day and age. Lots of bands do get record deals these days, but very, very few get worldwide deals…and even fewer are “older” bands such as Duran Duran. Fans should probably grab onto that little tidbit and hold it for all it is worth.
…It makes us feel gratified. Almost like starting out. Roger continues, saying “Simon says DD are like cockroaches. No matter how many times you stamp on them and kill them they just keep coming back.”
Could this really be Duran Duran rising from the ashes once again like a Phoenix? (Katy’s much nicer, much more triumphant analogy from the band!) We’ve all seen Duran Duran change and evolve as albums and labels have come and gone, and as Katy says “You can’t ever count out Duran Duran.” Katy mentioned that labels really do not do “listening parties” for artists any longer (referring to the party done at Warner Bros for Duran Duran last week), but WB has rolled out the red carpet for our band. Roger elaborates, saying “We’ve not had that much excitement in a building since the early days.” I could definitely since the excitement in his voice as he spoke of the deal, and the party where Pressure Off was unveiled to their team at Warner. Roger tells Katy that the song really grabbed them, and so John went back in and played them a few more off of the album to enthusiastic response. This is a band that is comfortable being treated like royalty. I have no doubt that the treatment they’ve been receiving from Warner Bros has felt like a wonderful welcome and it probably does quite a bit to validate. Duran Duran has not had the same measurable levels of success that they once enjoyed in many years, and I can’t really know what it was like to return to the studio after the All You Need is Now tour. Were they apprehensive about the future? Were they unsure of how to proceed? Were they growing tired of the process? Judging purely from the Katy Kafe’s we’ve heard in the past three years – I’d have to say yes. I think all of those things hold true to some limited degree if they were being honest (and human). I would imagine that for the band, this is like returning to what they know and loved, and it gives them hope for the success of this album, and I won’t fault them for that. I can only hope that some of the humility they have acquired along the way will remain intact.
Roger Taylor on the album and Pressure Off
Pressure Off was produced by Mark Ronson and features Janelle Monáe. Nile did the vocal production, and he also played on the song. Nile provided the guitar riff that was the inspiration for the rest of the song, and Roger marvels at Nile’s energy.
there are still a few unannounced surprises on this album, including a BIG one, whose first name begins with “B”.
The idea itself came very quickly. Janelle’s part was done in LA with Simon, and John was also present. Roger commented that he wasn’t necessarily happy that the San Francisco radio people had posted some of the song because of the “large amount of production work” that had been done on the album – you can’t hear most of that in the snippets found online. I would agree that there is a ton of background noise and that makes it very hard to really know what the song sounds like. That said, I hope the band knows that the reactions that I have seen to the song have been HUGELY positive so far. I am sure that once the song is made public, the excitement level within the fan community will only continue to grow. The single will be out “soonish” (I have actually been told May by people at Warner Bros).
As for the album in its entirety, we all know that DDHQ has been incredibly tight-lipped (ridiculously so at this point, in my opinion.), and as such…they know the name of the album but it “hasn’t been released yet.” The album has taken the better part of the past three years to write, record and mix, but Nick (We don’t call him The Controller for nothing!) wanted the band to take as long as they needed to make a great record.
“…it was time to not rush and make a great record” – Roger
Roger reminds us that even two years ago he felt the album was nearing completion, but that they had to go through the “pain barrier”. They had to step back and take their time with it, and the result is an album that Roger feels is the best of the four he has done with the band since his return. He realizes that many people say their latest record is the best one, but that even as he’s had others listen to the work, the consensus is that this new album is better than the last. I suppose that in time, we will all be able to weigh-in with our own feelings on that topic. The album is still set to drop in September with no firm date given just yet.
Roger Taylor on Summer Festivals
Will the band be playing new tracks at the festivals this summer? According to John, he had said no – that he felt like they wouldn’t be unveiling new material. Roger seems to feel similarly, saying that they want to give people the chance to hear the record as intended first. However, Roger says that certainly by September they will be playing the new material. As a fan, I still question the decision of playing festivals – where there are literally going to be thousands of people who are likely not diehard fans in attendance – and yet not introducing these people to new Duran Duran. I’m constantly reminded that marketing is about making people aware. People who are already counted as “sales” don’t matter, it’s about getting the people who are not already in that “sales” column (aka “NOT fans”) moved over there. Playing festivals should really be about marketing to and educating an audience that may not already be Duran Duran fans about their new music. Get the music heard by as many new people as possible, don’t you think? This my friends, is why I am not in the music industry. It makes no sense to me.
Roger continues by saying that he’s excited to start playing the new music, but laments that the process in getting the music translated to the live show will be difficult. He states that the album has so much technology on it, that it will be a task to make it all happen.
Roger closes the Kafe by saying he’s just glad to be out of the studio! His birthday is of course later in the month, and he is thinking he’s going to keep this one quiet – probably a wise choice given that in a matter of weeks, Duran Duran will be hitting the road once again!