Duran Duran discuss working with Timbaland and Timberlake
'We tried to merge Timbaland sound with Duran Duran' says band
Duran Duran recruited hit-making producer Timbaland as well as chart-topper Justin Timberlake to work on their new album 'Red Carpet Massacre', which is due out November 12 in Europe and the UK and a day later in the US.
The band told NME.COM how the collaborations came about, and what it was like working with both artists.
"Timbaland was the only producer we could all agree on," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "We're all huge fans of Timbaland's work with Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake's first album, and his own material. When we inquired and he said he was a fan, it seemed very logical. We've always tried to blend rock music with dance music and electronics."
"I think what we were trying to do was merge the Timbaland beats sound with Duran Duran," he added. "We wanted to make a very modern, angular record, but also something that preserved our roots."
Frontman Simon Le Bon recounted a time when Timbaland presented the band with a nearly completed track he had written.
"(Timbaland) had recorded an entire track -- he had rhythm, he had bass, he had total instrumentations, he even had a guide vocal on it. He said, 'All you gotta do Simon is write the words.' And we just said, 'We don't do that.'"
Bassist John Taylor elaborated: "Producers who work in the hip-hop world are used to building musicians -- that's what they do. They've refined that art. But they want to work with bands because there's nothing quite like a band. It's a learning experience for everybody involved."
Timbaland co-wrote and co-produced three songs on the album: 'Nite-Runner', 'Skin Divers' and 'Zoom In', and Timberlake lent his talents to two: 'Nite-Runner' and 'Falling Down'.
Le Bon explained how an an all-night drinking session with Timberlake resulted in their collaborating on a second song together, which became the album's lead single 'Falling Down'.
"We were in a lockdown in Birmingham with Justin and (Timberlake's actress girlfriend) Jessica Biel. About half a bottle of whisky down the night, Justin turns to me and goes, 'Hey Simon, I really think we ought to do another song together.' And I said, 'Hey, we're there.' It was as easy as that. So we all went up to Manchester where he'd been recording at Elbow's studio."
Le Bon said that Timberlake suggested that the song be similar in tempo and feel to their 1993 hit 'Ordinary World', and Le Bon said, "Well, if we're gonna have that, we'd like a bit of (Timberlake's hit) 'What Goes Around...' because we all really like that song. So we played the piano and the melody just started to evolve, and it all came together."
--By our Los Angeles staff.