Interview with GosFest

Duran Duran Experience

The ever rising DURAN2 make the perfect tribute to one of the greatest and enduring bands of pop history. Featuring a professional live five-piece band, DURAN2 is the most authentic sounding experience possible to the original band, recreating the energy and unique sound.

Being the only Duran Duran tribute band in the country to provide an exclusive video show that’s synchronized to their music, DURAN2 provide versatile entertainment from anywhere to corporate events and conferences, to weddings, festivals and private parties throughout the UK and Europe. They have upcoming performances at very influential events such as the Isle of Wight Festival and our very own GosFest. Not to mention Eventures Ladies Night coming up on the 5th June for just £12.50!

We decided to delve deeper into the minds behind the success, to share some experience and inspiration.

Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

I grew up in the 80s taping the Top 40 onto cassette, so that decade is obviously a massive influence on me and I think that influence is rubbing itself on today’s charts, especially when you hear what the likes of Brandon Flowers and Mark Ronson are doing – in fact, Ronson is producing the next Duran Duran album, so what further proof do you need? As a bass player though, John Taylor was always an influence for me, as well players such as Mark King (Level 42), Norman Watt-Roy (The Blockheads) and Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Madonna).

What are your dreams and goals?

Certainly, as far as DURAN2 is concerned, I want the band to be the best tribute there is to Duran Duran, not only in the UK but also Europe and beyond. The target I've set us is for DURAN2 to be to Duran Duran what Bjorn Again is to Abba and, so far, all the pieces of the jigsaw all fall into place – it'll be interesting to see how the next couple of years go. But above all, it also has to remain fun and I don't think any of us would want it any other way. We're all involved with other musical projects and DURAN2 allows us to play on some amazing stages that would otherwise be out of our reach, and I think you see that come through when we're playing – we're just having a blast playing some great songs!

What’s been the highest and lowest point of your career?

Someone said to me recently that I'm a positive kind of guy so I guess I don't really dwell on any low points, they're just something to learn from and make you better. Sure, you can have a bad day at the office but, really, in the grand scheme of things they're quickly put in context the next day.

The highlights are certainly worth holding on to and it's difficult to pick one, especially for the year DURAN2 is having. It's a tough choice between asked to play at this year's Isle Of Wight Festival or our first European shows in October, getting the reward for months and months’ worth of planning. The best bit about what we do though is the people we meet, be it fellow musicians (that’s how I met my wife!) or the people who come to watch you – a really colourful spectrum of characters that just keep you smiling and laughing.

What advice would you give to fellow bands?

Loads! I may even write a book about it one day, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”… I think a skill that’s being too easily lost in this day of "whatever the latest interweb social fad is” is the ability to pick up the phone and actually speak to somebody. Sure, it's easy to send an email out to a hundred agents but it’s equally easy for a hundred agents to delete an email. Get on the phone, be yourself and build relationships, stand out from the crowd and don’t give up.

How did the band form?

The band has been a slow burner really, given we’re all busy with other projects. The first person I asked though was Andy Jarmin to play the part of guitarist Andy Taylor. The guitar part in Duran Duran is remarkably overlooked yet if you check out the band’s live shows from Wembley in 2004 you’ll see that Taylor rules the stage, and our Andy was just the man for the job. Kyle Fenton (drums) came as a recommendation from a friend but I knew from the very first minute of his audition he was perfect. Really solid and reliable, Kyle and I instantly locked in together as a rhythm section and that’s a must for any live band. He also works for a courier company so he has a really big van which is really useful, but don’t tell him I said that LOL! I’m really lucky that I’m married to the best keyboard player I know so Amanda is our “Nicola” Rhodes, but she is there by her own merit. Incredibly professional and talented with an encyclopaedic knowledge of 80s music, but she also gives us an extra edge with her backing vocals that compliment what Andy and I are doing. Finally, James joined us a couple of years ago after we advertised nationally for a new singer. James is the only male singer I know who can actually confidently match Simon le Bon’s vocal range, but what’s really impressed me is that he’s never needed the lyrics in front of him, not even in rehearsals – he just loves the music and that comes across on stage.

Tell us about your upcoming shows and why we should be there.

We’ve got some fantastic shows lined up for the rest of the year on some fantastic stages. We’ve got the Isle Of Wight Festival and the V-Dub Island Festival coming up, plus another outdoor show at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and we’ve also got three theatre shows in Holland lined up for October. We’ve got more up our sleeves but need to keep quiet about them for now so check out for the latest news!

“But our approach to all of these shows is simple: we’re going to enjoy ourselves playing some of the best pop music ever written – Rio, Save a Prayer, Notorious, The Reflex, Girls On Film, Hungry Like The Wolf to name just a few – just come along, sing along and enjoy the party!”

Thank you so much to DURAN2’s Alistair Martin for sharing so much with us! You can look out for news and upcoming events on their website and social media.

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