I have been waiting with trepidation since Katy Krassner excitedly tweeted yesterday that she was able to get Nick to give ONE incredible possible song title for this month’s Kafe. This is huge, huge news that comes in the middle of a desert of very, very little in the past year or so. We hear things every once in a bit, but this…this is solid, exciting news for #DD14.
As always, I took copious notes and gave the Kafe my rapt attention amongst getting my youngest ready for school, giving attention to my son – who is in the middle of major school projects and so forth. That said, I am pretty sure I missed things, and this is by no means going to be a word-for-word reiteration of the Kafe. I always, always recommend that you go straight to DDM to hear it for yourself, as these are just the highlights.
Nick is in the studio today, working with Mr. Hudson. They have already done two songs, and this would be the third. As Nick put it – they finally “cracked the lyric on a ballad” (that is going to be central to this album) that they’d had on their plates for a year. That should really tell all of us something – they are working HARD on this album. He says that Mr. Hudson comes to them with great energy, lots of ideas, and that he has a great musical ear. He is very diverse (as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that you can read here.) and he reminds me a bit of Mark.
Speaking of Mark, and I know plenty of you out there ARE wondering about his involvement on this album – he was with the band in the very beginning and then came back to the studio a couple of weeks ago to see how things were going. He did not, however, actually do any producing for them at the time – Nick was very careful to articulate that they WANT to work with him again, and are hoping to carve time out in July. Mark is a busy guy though, and it’s tough to get on his schedule. Katy asked Nick if anything from that initial work with Mark (at the beginning of the album process) has survived. Nick said that two songs have survived, and one of them is a piece that Mark worked on. Again, this says they’ve really scrapped most of that early work entirely. The process is an evolution, certainly. They went into this project wanting to reinvent a bit, reinvigorate…and that process took longer than usual.
The one point that Katy made is that we fans always think the albums come in Durantime (very true!)…but one thing that the band hasn’t really articulated before is that they try to let the album develop…develop it’s own personality, and sometimes that just takes time. This is a band, as we well know, that wants to constantly cover new ground “sonically”. They don’t want to rehash the same thing over and over again. Nick makes the point later in the Kafe that they never wanted the music to become cliché or do something completely formulaic. In fact, the band’s “formula”, so to speak, is to smash it all and rebuild with each new album. They try to keep some of the same elements that make up the “Duran Duran Sound” (Simon’s voice, for instance), but it’s a fine balance. He continues by saying that back in the 80s, that they really didn’t have the luxury to sit back and allow the albums to develop themselves in the same way they did with this one – there was no time to just sit and think. However, even though they take the time to explore and record more thoroughly nowadays, they also have to know when they’ve found what they’re looking for. Since they’ve been working now for over thirty years, it is more of a challenge to find that unchartered territory – the areas that they want to explore. They have to dig a little deeper to find it. As Nick said, “more things have been said now”. He uses synthesizers as an example. Back then, synthesizers hadn’t been used all that often – so there was a ton of new real estate to seek out, but nowadays, there are entire albums written with just synthesizers and rhythm units. Nick seemed very proud to say though that they’ve “seen the light” and that they seem to be through the tough part of the process, which is great to hear. He also said that there are a couple things on this album that the band has never done before, which is very exciting to hear.
Basically, the very things that we love about this band – the risk taking, the fact that no two albums ever sound exactly the same, the innovation – those are the reasons why this album has taken so long, and in fairness to Nick (and the rest of the band), he openly admits it’s taken longer this time. But I suppose we can forgive that, right??
So about that possible song title… Katy asked him if he’d throw us one, and at first Nick hedged, saying that he could get into trouble. Katy reminded him that none of them listen to the Katy Kafés, and Nick said “Well, there is one early one…Valentine’s Stone.”
I’m just waiting for you all to catch your breath on that one. Are we all good? Still with me here??
Nick says he’s not sure if that one will even be on the album – but it’s a title. Naturally the first thing *I* thought of when hearing it was The Reflex. Can’t help it, my head went there. You know…”dancing on the Valentine…”
I was so excited about getting that darn title yesterday. I’ve been chomping at the proverbial bit for months, hoping to get a teensy tidbit. Now we’ve got one, and I’m sitting here trying to think of something witty and thoughtful to say. It’s just great to hear that we’re at the stage where we’re getting something of substance from that studio!
Diamond in the Mind Vinyl:
Nick is very proud of this vinyl. Like me, he feels that music is best heard on vinyl, and so they’ve wanted to put as much out on a vinyl version as possible. This is the first live album they’ve produced on vinyl since Arena. He is particularly proud of the artwork, which includes a diamond dusted cover. This is very exciting and sounds like it is going to be stunning! They worked with Rory McCartney on this project, and I hear that there is soon to be a Fan Community (DDM) Q&A from Rory on the website soon…she said it was very creative!
Careless Memories photo book:
While the exhibit for this took place WAYYYYY back in November of last year, the book itself has taken longer than they’d hoped to complete. Nick apologized to anyone who had ordered an advance copy, but the good news is that the finished product is being printed any day now and will be ready to ship SOON. They worked with John Warwicker, who was also the Creative Director for Astronaut – and the completed product is a sight to behold, according to Nick. There are quotes from the band in the book, and MOST importantly (in my opinion), is that Andy IS included in the book. He was included in the quotes, and I’m thrilled to be able to pass on that tidbit to all of you. From the first moment of reading about this book coming to fruition, I felt that Andy should absolutely be involved. He was in the band at the time, and it would have been a mistake to not include him. It’s great news that his memories are also to be found within the pages.
Birthdays and DD Appreciation day in August:
Nick’s birthday is June 8th, which falls on a Sunday this year. Apparently his idea of celebrating this year is going for a walk! He’s looking forward to a low key birthday this year…and even though Katy prompted him to “maybe get a twitter” for next year’s birthday, Nick said he was “Not going to promise that one, sorry!” (I think we’ve got a ways to go before ever seeing Nick on Twitter, folks…)
Before parting ways, Katy commented that we’d hear from Nick in August for Duran Duran Appreciation Day and Nick mentioned that they had an offering for that special day. Hmmm….talk about creating speculation, I wonder what THAT might be???