Multi-platinum superstars Duran Duran will release their 14th studio album, Paper Gods in the U.S. on September 18th and in the rest of the world on September 11th through Warner Bros. Records. Singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor recorded the album in London with producers Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair, and Mr Hudson. The record features special guests Janelle Monáe (on the first single “Pressure Off”), former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, Canadian Juno-Award winning singer Kiesza, British singer/songwriter Mr Hudson, violinist Davidé Rossi and actress Lindsay Lohan. The album was mixed by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent.
The songs on Paper Gods capture the duality and sense of conflict at the heart of Duran Duran’s music. “It really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side,” John says. “That’s something that’s essential to all of us,” Nick adds. “It’s great to be able to lift people’s spirits — and your own — with a strong shot of pure pop, but the world we live in isn’t all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me that we have kept one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life.”
Early sessions for Paper Gods began in 2013, with Mark Ronson and engineer Josh Blair once again joining the band in their south London recording studio, as they had for 2011’s All You Need is Now, which was produced by Ronson. When Ronson was called away to begin working on his own album, Duran Duran and Blair hooked up with the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaborator Ben “Mr” Hudson, and the sessions caught fire. In the summer of 2014, Ronson returned once more to the project, adding long-time Duran collaborator, Nile Rodgers to the mix for two of the album’s standout tracks. The remaining songs were co-produced by Josh Blair and the band.
“We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album,” says Rhodes.
“We’ve allowed ourselves the time to make music that we can be proud of,” adds Le Bon . “I judge what we release by my favourite albums — Horses, Harvest, Let It Bleed, Blue, Transformer, Aladdin Sane. Those are classic albums. The only rule is it’s got to be music you can live with for the rest of your life.”
CHIC co-founder Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson and Mr Hudson co-wrote, and produced the track “Pressure Off” and “Only in Dreams.” Rodgers also features on the first single from what will be the band’s 14th studio release. The former harks back to the taut funk of Duran Duran’s 1986 album Notorious, which was also co-produced by Rodgers. “Notorious was a strong touchstone for the band,” says Roger Taylor. “All You Need is Now definitely reflected our earlier albums, but our starting point here was Notorious. We’re fortunate to be able to be inspired by our own back catalogue – not many bands can say that.”
In a collaboration overseen by China Chow, the band worked closely with Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel, who created the album’s cover art. It features a collage of images that reference the visual history of Duran Duran, each placed like a sticker on a reproduction of Israel’s “Sky Backdrop” painting. The logo and graphic design are by Brian Roettinger.
Alongside news of the new album, Duran Duran have also announced that they will perform several shows in the U.S. in September and October, followed by a UK arena tour that kicks off in late November.
Duran Duran’s upcoming tour dates are as follows:
06/20 Barcelona, Spain Sonar by Night Festival
06/27 The Hague, Netherlands Night At The Park
06/28 Kerry, Ireland Killarney Festival
08/05 Riverhead, NY FOLD Festival
08/06 Bethlehem, PA Musikfest – ArtsQuest Center
09/01 Ibiza Heart at the Ibiza Gran Hotel
09/05 Gibraltar Gibraltar Music Festival
09/11 Isle of Wight, UK Bestival @ Robin Hill Park
09/20 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre ***
09/23 Puyallup, WA Washington State Fair *
09/25 Reno, NV Grand Theatre – Grand Sierra Resort & Casino **
09/26 Las Vegas, NV Life is Beautiful Festival
09/27 San Diego, CA Cal Coast Union Open Air Theatre**
10/01 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl ***
10/02 San Francisco, CA The Greek Theatre, Berkeley ***
10/03 Rancho Mirage, CA The Show Agua CalienteCasino**
11/27 Manchester, UK Manchester Arena
11/28 Leeds, UK First Direct Arena
11/30 Cardiff, UK Motorpoint Arena
12/02 Brighton, UK Brighton Centre
12/04 Birmingham, UK Genting Arena
12/05 Newcastle, UK Metro Radio Arena
12/06 Glasgow, Scotland The SSE Hydro
12/08 London, UK The O2
12/09 Bournemouth, UK Bournemouth International Centre
12/11 Nottingham, UK Capital FM Arena
12/12 Liverpool, UK Echo Arena
* w/ CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers
** w/ Clean Bandit
*** w/ CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers & Clean Bandit