It is June 5th and we are just DAYS away from a very special birthday for a very special someone! Nick Rhodes, who may very well be the busiest person I know (of)…took time to chat with Katy, even after having been in the studio until 3am the night before, doing the final tweaks to the final mixes of DD14!!
As always, I have to post my disclaimer – this is not a word for word reiteration of what Nick and Katy discussed. I am only giving what I feel to be the highlights, and if I wrote a quote word for word (these are the times when I wish that I had taken shorthand…does anyone even still DO shorthand???) , then you’ll get it in quotes, otherwise I am paraphrasing…and I am DEFINITELY going to add in my own comments, probably italicized, probably in parentheses. If you are looking for a word-for-word transcription, I strongly recommend that you get yourself a membership to DDM. It’s $35.00 a year, the band is going to be touring soon and pre-sales are coming…just saying. <winks>
Let’s be honest: this is what we’re all waiting to hear, right? We want to know where that album is, and if we will get our hands on it sometime this decade, correct? (I’m learning…at one point I would have said “this year”…but let’s just be honest. We’re all wondering if they’re really going to come out with it in September, aren’t we? Aren’t we??) Nick tells Katy that he left the studio earlier that morning at 3am, after keeping Spike Stent up and working nearly all night on the final tweaks to the finished album that is to be mastered the following day in New York City by Ted Jensen. (So, I believe at this point…the album is either currently being mastered or has already been finished. It. Is. Done.) At the time of the Kafe, Nick was hoping to be finished with it by midnight that evening. He says he is thrilled with it and that album is quite special.
It took longer than even we in the band had anticipated, but it is worth it….it is sometimes hard to know when things are done…we judged this one well. – Nick Rhodes
Nick continues to say that after two years of work, he felt the album should be special, and Katy follows to say that fans will definitely hear a bit of the single in the month of June. (It has to be said that I think ALL of us are chomping at the bit to finally hear this song the way that it was intended…and I think the efforts to get this song to the fans so that we can be among the first to hear it will not go unnoticed, because once WE hear it, we can cheer from the treetops, rooftops, etc to spread the word about how special this album is going to be…and that’s golden for ANY band that wants to take advantage of the power and energy of their fan community.)
Speaking of Pressure Off, Katy asks a bit later in the Kafe if the band is planning to play any new music for the Sonar Festival later this month. As many may recall from previous Kafe’s over the past several months (years…), when asked this question previously, certain band members have said that no, they wouldn’t be playing new music at all, explaining that it takes time to perfect the live versions and so forth. As the months to festival performances have grown closer, it would seem that the tide is changing on that thought. When asked this time, Nick said that he certainly hopes to play the new single. They are getting together to rehearse in the next couple of weeks prior to the festival and if the song can be worked out and ready, he hopes they will play it, and in time as other songs get ready, he hopes that they will add those into the set list as well. (In no way was Nick committing to playing new songs right out of the gate. Hoping to play the new single and for sure getting it ready to play are two very different things. I think that it is very well in their best interest to get the song ready to perform; but if rehearsals go roughly….it may not happen. I think fans should not expect to hear it and then be completely thrilled and surprised when they do…. RECORD it for the rest of us sad sacks!!!)
Janelle Monae and Kiesza
Katy asks when the band first noticed Janelle Monae, assuming that Nile was the one who put them in touch. Nick mentions her appearance several years back on Saturday Night Live where she did her first single, “Tightrope”. If memory serves, she was dressed in a black suit a la James Brown, with an incredibly edgy haircut that was a bit of a throwback to the golden days of Motown. (Oddly, that is the first time I saw her as well, and I’ve liked her ever since!) He cites that the band had liked her since then, and when the idea of having a female vocal came up for a song on the album, her name was mentioned and it progressed quickly from there. Incidentally, her recording on that song was the one thing that Nick was not present for on the album.
On the other hand, Nick doesn’t recall how they were introduced to Kiesza. She seems to recall working out at the same gym as Simon, but Nick didn’t seem at all sure of that story…so we’ll just assume that they met somehow along the way, and when another vocal part came up, they knew she’d be perfect.
It’s happening!! – Nick Rhodes
While DD14 itself will hit in September (and Katy, who just HAD to mention that she really has a date for it but isn’t allowed to say…tease, tease, tease if you must!!), Nick and the rest of the band are beginning to do promotion now, starting with promotion with the festival dates in mind. Katy asks Nick if promotion is “good or fun”, and Nick replies with what I firmly believe has got to be the most “real” answer Nick has ever given. “…I don’t know if ‘fun’ is a word I’d associate with it. It is in the ‘best interest’.” He goes on to say that it is interesting what they (journalists and music critics) make of things and how they perceive Duran Duran. He makes mention that it’s also interesting to see what they ask and don’t ask, and that promotion can be challenging because you’re asked the same questions over and over. He says that it’s better at the start than a year down the road…and then he goes on to talk about how they’re still asked the same questions they were asked thirty years ago and that (you) wouldn’t believe it, but they really are. (Oh Nick. I actually would believe it…and it drives fans CRAZY. You’d think by now there’d be enough research available so that questions about the Taylor “brothers” might be properly answered…but no.)
The “Alleged” Birthday
Interestingly enough (probably only to me…but that’s fine), Katy asked Nick twice about how he will spend his birthday…and he answered similarly both times, which tells me he’s not joking when he said he wants to sleep. Fair enough, Nicholas! Judging from the list you’ll see below, Nick is a workaholic…which is a very “not nice” way of saying that this is a man who likes to be kept busy, which apparently isn’t too terribly difficult to do!
Here are “just a few things” that are currently keeping Nick from seeking the sleep he definitely needs (I could hear his weariness towards the end of their conversation. Just when I was CONVINCED he was alien and didn’t need sleep!!!<winks>)
Musical with John Taylor
Nick and John have been writing a musical for several years now. Believe it or not, they are almost done with the first draft but haven’t been able to even touch it this year (I suppose this kind of knocks my idea of them doing a residency in Vegas where the musical is performed each night and the band/orchestra in the pit is actually “the band” right out of the water for now, huh? Damn. Yes, that’s more dry-wit at work there.) He is hoping to pick it back up at some point, finish it and get started preparing it into a musical.
(I happen to know a really good up-and-coming choreographer for this kind of thing. She’s excellent and reasonably priced!!! By the time this musical is ready for a choreographer…she’ll even have a degree. Inquire within…because I’m her mom!)
The Bloom Twins
This is a very young electronic duo that are into “dark pop”. The Bloom Twins are currently unsigned, but Nick is certain that a label will snap them up quick. He hasn’t been inspired to get involved with an up and coming group in a long time, so he’s enjoyed working with them. (When I hear them, I hear hints of Lorde mixed with instrumentation from Dark Circles in parts. You should check them out!)
His own music
Nick has been working on a series of short electronic and instrumental pieces of his own. He describes them as dark and mysterious, but doesn’t know what he’ll end up doing with them.
He is the Creative Director, and has thoroughly enjoyed taking this skin care line from the ground up, working on everything from artwork to photography, graphic design, packaging, etc. He likes the idea of the public having a more informed choice of what products really suit them as individuals.
Nick has been working on finishing his own photography book, which has been an on again, off again project since he finished his exhibition – he had so many photographs that he felt would be suited to a “coffee table” type of book. Recently he met with Rory McCartney and they were able to “lock down” nearly everything for the book. As Nick aptly puts it, he doesn’t like “loose ends”.
Katy asks about a possible Interference reprint, and Nick comments that it’s a possibility. He’s considered doing a 2nd edition because he really only likes looking forwards, but recently he looked at it and was surprised by how contemporary the photographs still look.
It is plain to see that Nick NEEDS rest…so let’s all hope he has a wonderfully blissful rest for his birthday! Happy Birthday Nick!!