For its latest album, Paper Gods, out Friday , Duran Duran re-enlisted a pair of celebrated collaborators: Mark Ronson, who co-produced the band's last album, 2010's All You Need Is Now, and Nile Rodgers, who back in the day remixed Reflex and also helped man the boards for Duran's 1986 album Notorious.
Another red-hot producer, Mr. Hudson, was also a key contributor to Gods, which features guest appearances by Janelle Monae and John Frusciante and finds the band nodding to contemporary hip-hop and EDM. "Ben Hudson gave us the confidence to look to the side, and incorporate that into our sound," notes John Taylor, just as the musicians drew on period club music in their earlier work. "Our MO has always been to be modern, to look at the musical times and put our own stamp on it."
Duran Duran back in the day: clockwise from top right,
Duran's members feel that its music has garnered a new level of appreciation in recent years, as younger artists such as Hudson have discovered it and some older folks have paused to reconsider. "I've sensed a sort of grudging respect," LeBon notes. "It takes a lot of energy to hate, you know? It's exhausting. It's easier for us to carry on than it is for the haters. And we're never going to give up, because we believe we are a force for good in pop music."
Offstage and outside the recording studio, the band members "tend to go our separate ways," says Roger Taylor. All are married with children -- LeBon has three daughters, the eldest 26 -- except for Rhodes, who is divorced (with a daughter). "It's not like we leave the studio and all head to the local bar. But there's definitely a closeness, because of all the time we've spent together."
Adds John, "We have more life experience to draw on. When we started, none of us had full-time girlfriends or families, and everything was 100 percent about the band. You lose that tunnel vision, but we've all remained remarkably dedicated to the band. I think we all firmly believe that if we're going to make another record at this point, it's got to be really good -- it's got to make a statement. Otherwise, what's the point?"
Courtesy USA Today