The article discusses how the TV Mania album really represents modern life even though it was recorded in the mid-90s. The topics of prescription drug use and the internet are still very prevalent in today’s society and might even be more so than was the case almost 20 years ago. This, of course, fascinates me. After all, one of the questions many of us have had about the project is will it sound outdated. This article says the opposite. That certainly might be the case. If so, I definitely give Nick and Warren credit for having a clue about which elements of culture would live on and even grew stronger. That cannot be an easy thing to figure out. For example, I’m sure that there might have been many songs written about MySpace when it was in its heyday as most people then did not think that any social networking site could overtake it. Yet, a song about that would seem totally outdated now. I think it is very dangerous to focus in on something so current. The topics might seem to be the best thing to talk about do not always last and quickly get to be old news. Perhaps, one way to not fall into this trap is to surround the current subject of interest around a larger, more universal concept. It seemed to work with the discussion on New Romantics in Planet Earth, for example. No one hears that song and thinks, “They talked about a very short-lived musical/fashion era.” Anyway, Nick referred to the TV Mania album as a “bizarre time capsule”. It sounds like that truly might be the best description I have heard yet.
Of course, Nick discussed how the project was originally designed to be a musical on Broadway with virtual reality sets. (By the way, virtual reality is one fad that never seemed to catch on and would seem outdated today.) This, obviously, didn’t happen but what a concept. To me, this reminded me that Duran really wasn’t just a band in the usual play music sense. They always were into the visuals right from the start, including when John had a slideshow of his geography field trip during an early gig. They are a band that has been and continues to be influenced by art, photography, theater, film, fashion and more. Part of me definitely wishes that the concept had come to life because it would have been a fascinating show, especially with the plot being scientists performing some sort of study on pharmaceuticals, reality TV and the internet. Again, those topics remain completely relevant. Technology has definitely changed our daily lives as this points out. It has also changed songwriting and music.
One quote of Nick’s that really caught my attention was this one: “I think the quality of songwriting is what we miss through the convenience of technology.” This quote came in the same paragraph in which Nick discusses how quickly a song can be written, produced and ready for airplay these days. His point is that these quickly made songs aren’t inventing anything new and don’t necessarily stand up to time. While my gut says that Nick is right, I also recognize that I am biased. I’m not a child of this era. I grew up in a different time when popular music was written and recorded in a different fashion. It is possible that I’m just assuming that what is different is bad. I guess we will all know in 20 years time or so.
Another part that caught my attention was when Nick commented about how their audiences don’t seem as engaged during their shows anymore due to being concerned about filming it. Rhonda and I have talked about that very thing on this blog. One of our favorite shows was one that we actually forgot the cameras in the car. Was that because our only focus was the show? Truly, that might be the case. I know that I don’t take nearly as many pictures as I used to and that my general rule is to take them during specific songs that I don’t want/need to be as focused (coughComeUndonecough) or at moments that I know that I want to capture something specific (usually some crazed new dance move of LeBon’s). It is interesting that the band, or at least Nick, has noticed a shift in the audience, though. Does it affect their performance, I wonder?
The last part that caught my attention was the discussion about how anyone can really make an album and release it as opposed to how it was before in which bands/artists had to proof their worth to get an album made. According to Nick, this makes it more difficult to truly tell the great ones. I suppose that is true. It also made me think about John’s comments on the Katy Kafe about how they would like to look for a label for their upcoming album. Is this part of the mindset? That it is a way to show that they are greater than the majority of artists out there? I don’t know.
While I have commented on quite a bit from this interview, there was a lot more to it. There were questions about sports, MTV, Duran’s upcoming album and more that I didn’t even mention. Truly, the interview definitely should be read as it is a solid interview with thought-provoking questions and answers. I give the interviewer credit. In general, the questions were well-thought out and not like the usual ones that Duran gets. There was a maturity and a level of respect that I don’t often see. I know that I appreciated it.