“I Am What I Play” Interview With Duran Duran’s Roger Taylor

We recently launched our Guest Curator program and lucky for us, Roger agreed to be one of the first.

For music enthusiasts around the globe, Roger Taylor requires no introduction. Best known as Duran Duran’s drummer, some may be surprised to know that his career as a DJ began over a decade ago.

Check out Roger’s Saatchi Online Collection as well as his recent interview in our sister publication, Saatchi Magazine, Art & Music.

 

What track never fails to fill the dance floor/get the studio phones lighting up?
Nearly 30 years old and still a favorite across the board ‘Blue Monday’ and possibly the best dance record ever made to this day.

What’s the worst dance floor-clearer/howls of protest-inducer you’ve ever played?
I am such a people pleaser that I’ve yet to launch a ‘rotten egg’ onto the dance floor.

Is DJIng a science, or is it closer to being an art curator, only with records, or is it more instinctual and ‘in the moment’ than any of that?
That’s the great thing about dj’ing it’s totally ‘in the moment’.  I usually have a set list but will go off in a totally different direction once the adrenalin kicks in and of course one gets taken on a journey that’s totally dependent on the vibe in the room. There’s definitely a science to it but also some art involved and, I would hope, a natural ear for harmonics and beats.

As a musician, how does playing other people’s music compare with being on a stage, on in a studio, playing your own?
Two totally different worlds, Duran Duran have an amazing catalogue of music that people want to hear every night and we live for the response we get from our audience to our songs.  For me, djing is refreshing because I get to play other peoples’ songs all night. I’ve heard people say that it’s a bit like surfing and I think that’s true, you hit a peak with certain records and try to keep riding the wave.

Is DJing ever a lonely pursuit?
Yes it can be the rest of the room is partying and you are behind the decks sweating over what the next record is going to be so I do like to take someone out with me, I am currently djing with my son we bounce ideas off one another.

Who was the most influential DJ on you as a youngster?
Had to be John Peel as a youngster but then I saw Frankie Knuckles spin in the late 80′s then Sven Vath in the early 90′s they were all kind of life changing times.

Do you think the age of courageous/maverick DJs to some extent died with John Peel? Yes

Would you ever take (and honour) a request even if you weren’t personally that keen on the record? No. When people come up to the booth shouting requests at me I usually pretend that I can’t hear what they are saying…ha ha, I’m giving my secrets away now! Goodbye.

 

About the author

Saatchi Gallery Art and Music Magazine
Launched in March 2008 as an eye-catching but never gimmicky, fanzine-minded independent quarterly, Art & Music proved an instant success with the cognoscenti of London’s thrumming art world and independent music scenes. After two highly-prized issues it was snapped up by Charles Saatchi who installed it as the in-house magazine for his expansive new west London gallery. Despite the stellar imprimatur, the magazine’s editorial remit remains totally independent and fearlessly original, covering a gamut of feature subjects, from interviews with heavyweight, established names to ‘you-saw-it-here-first’ showcases for emerging talent.

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