Electronic music

“It’s All About the Rhythm Section”: The Beautiful Collision of Duran Duran and Erol Alkan – Features

JT, what does Ibiza mean to you?

JT: “I never really understood it at the time and didn’t get into that ‘Balearic Briton’, but during our conversation at IMS it reminded me of when Roger Taylor left the band. I learned to play with Roger. We have a great rhythm section. But when we got together for the band reunion after 16 years, I found what we were referring to were the Ibiza compilations. Everything was programmed but the ideas of the rhythm section were all very relevant: you know, that’s what we do! So we borrowed a lot from the dance scene in Ibiza at that time.

Erol, you don’t have a traditional route to Ibiza either?

Erol: “Coming from an alternative background, I was a bit anti-Ibiza because I had seen Ibiza discovery and the hedonistic side. I didn’t log in to this and was pretty apprehensive about playing here. It was maybe as late as 2007 or 2008, after years and years of offers that a friend convinced me to play Space and it felt in tune with the electronic music I’m into. was at that time. I saw why people loved it then! I saw the positives and have been coming ever since. To be here now, at this point with these guys, is a looping moment for me.

It’s so great to hear you’ve heard some of Erol’s classic DJ mixes – like this Mixmag Mix ‘DJ of the year’?

JT: “I had also heard his Bugged Out mixes! I love how Erol approached the sound on our new album. Sometimes it feels like you’re at odds with technology, but there was none of that click track on this album. His level of sound care is so good. For me, the amount of patience it took to get the bass to sound perfect was amazing. I need someone like that in the room. I’m more of a first take guy. He was pushing and for me and Roger there is an energy level that has to be low in that first layer. ‘Cause everyone’s gonna listen to those bass and drum tracks for years – it’s all about that rhythm section. So it has to be locked down, it has to be interesting and it has to have energy. We worked hard, didn’t we?

Erol Alkan: “The rhythm section, it’s all about that. If it’s not in drums and bass, then it’s not there at all, so it has to be organized. At first we seek out that seed, then we refine it until it’s good, and that’s a process. What can happen is that you hear something in your head, which then has to exist sonically for it to be heard. On ‘Hammerhead’, you could hear it coming, like a tsunami in the distance. You have to be focused to constrain it, be patient until the moment comes and the whole room hears it, and when they do, you’ll witness the whole room lift! We relied on our instincts and senses to find the parts that suited us.

Duran has always had great mixes, from Shep Pettibone on “I Don’t Want Your Love” to Nile Rodgers on “The Reflex” and now Erol’s mix on “All Of You”.

JT: “At the time, the most curated dance music was around ’77 and ’78 and [that was when] dance music stretched. You had bass and drums and that sensitivity has always been part of Duran Duran’s DNA. Erol perfectly understands how exciting a bass and drums can be for nine minutes. But then you have to put it back in the bottle. I like music like that. And I can listen to music like that all night.

Read this next: Keeping Kids Dancing: 10 of Erol Alkan’s Best Edits

Erol, we have to push eight or nine minutes with this remix?

Erol: “It’s about ten minutes!”

JT: “I love that psychedelic, hypnotic quality of good dance music or reggae. The remix was something to showcase the different elements of Duran Duran. is easy. In the 1980s. there were a lot of remixes. But what I heard here is that the remix had absolute faith and trust in the parts. I know the parts are good because we spent six months getting it right! It was really about deconstructing the arrangement and making it a journey and that was wonderful to hear.

Erol: “I was thinking about the Night Versions, the 12″ cuts and François K’s approach to the dub versions…”

JT: “We are never far from the dance floor! I don’t live in clubs but I still think, I’d like to dance to that. You wouldn’t have to search so far on the latest albums to get a version that can bring the song to the ground. But it’s like anything. To do it well, it takes a lot of talent. Duran Duran is about a bassist, vocalist, keyboardist and drummer – Erol gets that.

What was your goal when you decided to remix ‘All Of You’? To do something you could play or something else/something more?

Erol: “I had this version of ‘All Of You’ in my head even when we were recording the album version! I knew he had the ingredients to make a good dancefloor cut and wanted to create a version that felt like a trip that could be used by DJs who might recognize him. The art of the 12″ long version has turned into a lot of different things: but there’s something so pure about the sound of a band performing it, rather than a producer. My involvement was fuzzy between being in the band and the producer, and the compass was pointing to the band’s own nighttime releases from the early 1980s, which are some of my favorite extended releases The fact that the band and the DJs liked it made me good, I’m really happy with how it went.

Erol, to wrap up, we’ve already discussed JT’s brilliant autobiography “In The Pleasure Groove” and I just read it again. I was wondering what was your main takeaway from the book?

Erol: “I really loved John even before we met. His book was revelatory to the point where I could relate to a lot of his experiences. I obviously wasn’t the bass player in the biggest band in the world, but there’s a lot of things he talked about that felt relevant to anyone in the creative world and how hard it can be sometimes I found him inspiring.

Finally, would you like to work with Duran Duran again?

Erol: “I had a rule that I would only work once with a band, but that disappeared with Ride, so who knows! It will depend on what kind of record the band is looking to make in the future and they might want to try someone new or we’ll pick up where we left off, I never consider myself entitled to be a part of of something. Collaborating with others is a nice collision on its own and I never consider it something like a career change. »

Duran Duran will headline London’s BST Hyde Park on July 10. Tickets are available at www.duranduran.com/tour.

Ralph Moore is the Music Director of Mixmag, follow him on Twitter