To begin with, Simon got himself a cappuccino. I have a sneaky suspicion that Simon merely makes the appropriate steamed milk sounds…but it’s all in good spirits, and I had my coffee in front of me, so I’m happy to play along. (On a side note, I’m feeling as though I need a direct IV of coffee today…and a supply of Advil or Ibuprofen to go along with it. If you’re following me – @L8BarMom – on Twitter, you’ll know I just started month two of the Insanity workout program yesterday. I have two thoughts: pain and “Oh my God I have to do that AGAIN today?!?” If you don’t know what Insanity is – search for it on Youtube!) Enough about me and my aching body…
Simon called in directly from the studio on this day, which was kind of interesting to think about. The format for this kafé differs from most because Katy asked for questions from fans, and then asked them to Simon. I’m sorry but I missed some of the names of people who asked questions…so I’ll just address the topics themselves and give a synopsis.
Most all of the questions were, obviously, about #DD14. Who really needs a working title when the entire fan community already has a hashtag for it? I say no…as did Simon at the end of the Kafé. He was asked if they had a secret or working title and Simon came up with some ridiculous name – I’m hoping I got it at least half right: “Little Red Painted Toenails on the Dancing Iguana. Nice try, Simon. Let’s just stick with #DD14, shall we?
A lot of fans wanted to know about Simon’s approach to the album…and what they are really going for on this one. Simon summed up the album in three words: Nude. Duran. and Funk. I get the Duran, I get the Funk…but the nude part…as always…we will see. I can’t even begin to guess. He also talked about moving on from All You Need is Now, saying that since they already went back to their roots and really tried to recapture that spirit, they felt that they’d accomplished that, and so they couldn’t very well do it again on this album. So they are moving on from that point. He was quick to add that they need to maintain that connection with their fans and stay true to the musical values they’ve established during this past thirty years…so they are developing the sound from that point on All You Need is Now. This makes sense. I like that he’s making sure to explain that this new album isn’t about reinventing themselves, it’s just about continuing to develop and grow from there. Mark Ronson is still involved at least partially on this album, but he is not writing – only producing, and he may not be producing the entire album. He’s busy these days. Simon’s own approach on the album, or any album for that matter – begins the same. He goes into the project with an open head, and then as things develop, he adapts as necessary.
They spoke a bit about collaborations with other people…it seems to be one of the favorite topics that fans ask about. Simon didn’t really mention who they were thinking about for #DD14, but he did say that the “dream” collaboration for him would be John Lennon. (I’d give my eye teeth for that to happen…maybe in another life…which is why it’s a dream collaboration!) Simon also said that he gets a lot of lyrics sent to him, which for whatever reason surprised me. I didn’t realize people actually sent him things for him to consider using! He said that writing is personal, and that he does not like sentimental writing. I totally and completely agree. He likes it as hard as nails, which is one reason I like Simon’s writing so much. Once in a while I can get gushy here, but more often than not, I don’t do sentiment like that. It’s even tough to use when it’s a guest blogger sending it to us, because while I know it’s the writing of someone else – their innermost feelings – I think that’s why it makes me so uncomfortable. Simon likes humor, so keep that in mind if you’re going to send him lyrics. I’ll just stick to blogging thanks, and leave the lyric writing to you experts out there. Others asked him about where he gets his ideas from. After thirty years, isn’t it tough to still come up with new things to write about?? Simon said that he keeps himself open to new things. Things he hears…”noise that humanity makes”. Sometimes phrases pop into his head from nowhere. Again, I can identify with what he’s saying here because we write this blog every single day and there are some mornings when I get up that I’ve just got nothing. I can’t even think about Duran Duran. Then there are other days when I know exactly what to write – the creativity ebbs and flows, and you’ve got to write when you get a chance. Simon also mentioned that when he is writing, he can’t really be reading or doing other things – that the writing happens when he’s bored. Personally I find that when I’ve got a lot of things going on in my head, nothing really worthwhile comes back out through the fingers onto the keyboard. That’s why I have to do the reading and research first, and then somehow I let it stew…and eventually it flows back out. The more I’ve got going on personally, the less writing that gets done around here. It’s good to know I’m not particularly unusual in that regard.
Speaking of collaborations, someone asked about whether the band would want to work with Nile Rodgers again. Simon said that he would love to work with Nile, going on to say how fantastic of a guitar player Nile is, and that he’s a lovely person as well. I think the fans would love to hear of the band working with Nile again – I can’t imagine anyone not welcoming that, and to be honest – if they want funk – I’d love to see this happen. One of the more wonderful things to come out of Twitter is being able to read how Nile is doing these days. He has taken the time to tweet with DD fans, and seems like such a genuine person, it’s fantastic to see Nile doing so well. (and yeah, even *I* like that Daft Punk song!)
Simon spoke a bit about the preferred atmosphere in the studio. For Simon, he says it comes down to the music, but he also mentioned that they have a lot less big equipment than they once did – but that they write more IN the studio these days as opposed to before. Nick likes the studio to be as dark as possible (I have to wonder how he sees his keyboard…and I’m finding that I have to oppress this desire to mention the whole lack of daylight thing plays right into the tongue-in-cheek comments some have made of Nick being a vampire…), but others like it brighter, so they’re finding a balance there. Katy said it sounds like a nightclub. I can see that.
For those who are curious about instrumentation – it sounds like Nick is using his analog keyboards (Jupiter 8 among them) for this album. Now, Simon did qualify that by saying it all comes down to the mix – you can record anything you want, many many layers, but the mix is what decides what really ends up on the album. So, we’ll wait and see. Nick does like the analog because there’s more artistry there than with the digital keyboards, but I think this gives a teensy bit into the vision of where they’re going.
Snippets anyone?? I know a lot of people chomp at the bit, waiting in hopes that something, ANYTHING, will be released to give us a taste of what’s going on in there. Simon said that there’s always a chance. There is a real downside to releasing anything though, because if it’s not finished – if it’s substandard – people make up their minds very, very quickly that they aren’t liking it. This is very true. They also believe that anything they release beforehand detracts from the official release. This, I don’t agree with, but maybe that’s because I’m a fan and do not work in the business office. From my point of view – a 20 or 30 second snippet that is still fairly rough doesn’t give enough of an idea of what is to come for it to really detract. In fact, one example I can cite from AYNIN is when a snippet of Runway Runaway was released. All that I got from it was Nick’s keyboards – that sounded very much like any other DD song – and that gave me some comfort that AYNIN was not going to be like RCM in any way. I loved that when the album was finally released, I was able to see where the snippet came from and how it was incorporated. I don’t know how that really detracted from anything. That said, I can understand that if they leaked full songs – well then, that likely would detract, and I can cite Astronaut as an example there. By the time the album was released, I’d already heard every song off of the album and knew that they’d changed What Happens Tomorrow to the point where I didn’t care for the song much. I also know that many others owned the full CD months before the album was released, and so when Astronaut came out, in a lot of ways it kind of felt like an afterthought. If it weren’t for the in-store signings, and the fact that it was the original five on the album, I think there would have been even less excitement. So live and learn.
Anyone remember that fabled album Reportage? It’s the album that everyone wants released, that I hear almost everyone has gotten hold of…that I personally have never heard. (I’d like to know who leaked that one.) The band is still talking about releasing that on it’s own – meaning the band wouldn’t try to release some of the songs from that album on #DD14 or anything they are working on now because from a business standpoint, it’s very hard to mix things they are working on now with things they’ve worked on with Andy. Makes sense…and maybe someday I’ll actually hear the album. I think Reportage has gotten to the point where it’s been built up in our fantasies to be this huge, big thing because it’s an album we thought was coming but was never released. So I wonder if it would be a letdown to hear it now. So many people tell me “it’s out there, you just have to find it.”…I’ve never found it, but I would love to hear it someday.
That’s what I was able to glean from Katy Kafé this month, and I’ve put off my Insanity workout long enough, so I must go. Happy Tuesday, everyone!