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Duran Duran's 15th studio album 'Future Past'

ASMA KHALID, HOST:

Our dear friend and longtime colleague Lulu Garcia-Navarro hosted her final WEEKEND EDITION show last Sunday. But she left us one last interview with a group she's admired since her teens.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RIO")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor - if you are a child of the 1980s, you probably grew up dreaming about dancing on the sand with a cherry ice cream smile, possibly while feeling hungry like the wolf. British pop sensation Duran Duran defined that era - the music, the hair, the guyliner. And 40 years after they first got together, their 15th studio album, "Future Past," is out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FUTURE PAST")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) Each moment in time we create. It's all a future past. And we are living now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am thrilled to bring on the man who was once a poster in my bedroom. Nick Rhodes, hello.

NICK RHODES: Hello, there. How are you doing?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm very well. You started working on this album three years ago. Tell me about this title track, "FUTURE PAST," which we just heard.

RHODES: Well, actually, "Future Past" was one of the first pieces we managed to put together. We all got into a studio together. And we just started jamming, playing, seeing what we could create. John Taylor and I were having a chat to a couple of photographer friends of ours and playing them some of the music. And they said, wow. It sounds very future past.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tell me what that means.

RHODES: For me, it certainly means keep moving into the future but acknowledge your past. Without it, you wouldn't be in the present.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to hear a bit of the song "ALL OF YOU."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL OF YOU")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) I want everything, all of what you do - everything. Every night, every day, I want all of you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There's such a blend of genres in this song. You know, you've got your sort of classic new wave sound, bit of disco, rock, techno. What makes a Duran Duran song?

RHODES: We've always tried to reinvent our sound on every record that we make. It depends upon what we've been influenced by. It could be that I've just been to an art gallery and loved the show, and I was inspired by that. Perhaps it's some modern music we've been listening to. You never know what kind of influences are pouring into the room. And we try not to fence ourselves in too much. When we made the first Duran Duran album, we set our boundaries very wide.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you look back at those days, you know, the first days when you broke out - crazy fame - do you remember what that felt like?

RHODES: Yes. Some things that happened maybe three, four decades ago now almost seem like they happened yesterday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Give me an example.

RHODES: A few weeks ago, we started playing shows again for the first time in several years. And certainly, of course, nobody could play shows during lockdown. And when we walked on stage, the atmosphere reminded me entirely of what it was like when we were teenagers in Birmingham. The excitement in the room - it was so crazy. I thought the place was going to fall down at one point.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what did you all say to each other after that?

RHODES: What we were most pleased about were the audience had such an amazing time. Its - music's a powerful thing in life. It's to be treasured.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, speaking of, I want to listen to the song "TONIGHT UNITED."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TONIGHT UNITED")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) Hey, now. If you are a child of the world born to build bridges and tear down walls. We watch the outmode of the old order. We make a song road to cross old borders.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What was on your mind when you wrote this?

RHODES: Well, actually, "TONIGHT UNITED" was written mostly pre-pandemic. It's the singular, most uplifting song on the record. It was written about making the best of life, really.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TONIGHT UNITED")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) If you want to make a difference, if you see your future coming around, got to see it from a distance, gotta to do it walking barefoot on the ground. You and I tonight, no way to fight it. We come together, tonight united.

RHODES: It seems strange to have written that pre-pandemic. But then what we all need now is to be around people. And I'm a firm believer that the best thing we have is relationships with other people.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, famously, the band split in 1985. You formed Arcadia with Simon and Roger after that. Why do you still get on so well?

RHODES: Well, no doubt. Yes, at this point, I think our relationship has endured longer than...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Some marriages.

RHODES: Well, many marriages (laughter). It's difficult doing that in life, with any relationships. With us, it's not just a relationship with one person. It's a relationship with another three people. You have to decide to make that work. But I think more than anything, we know what we can do together when we plug in and play.

(SOUNDBITE OF DURAN DURAN SONG, "MORE JOY!")

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One of the last songs on the album is called "MORE JOY!"

(SOUNDBITE OF DURAN DURAN SONG, "MORE JOY!")

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you sort of look at the album in its entirety - and even though a lot of it was created before the pandemic - do you think that there's an overarching message here, you know, for these times that we're still living in?

RHODES: We know that this has been a miserable period for the world. And there's been a lot of suffering and loss. And you must acknowledge that and understand it. But at the same time, one has to think forward about how to get out of that period.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MORE JOY!")

DURAN DURAN: (Singing) I know where this is going. I'm looking at you. I like where it's going. Are you coming, too?

RHODES: "MORE JOY!" is a battle cry to get back to our lives. So there comes a point when you have to accept what's going on in the world, and you have to try to find the best way to deal with it in difficult circumstances. But when we're coming out of that, we're going to be the first ones to try to celebrate.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because no matter how bad things are, you can always dance to Duran Duran.

RHODES: Thank goodness for that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank goodness for that. Nick Rhodes talking about Duran Duran's new album "Future Past." Thank you very much.

RHODES: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF DURAN DURAN SONG, "MORE JOY!") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.