Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran synth man, talks analog and digital


The Las Vegas Review Journal has published a really interesting interview with Nick Rhodes, the keyboard/synth player in Duran Duran.

Not only do we get a glimpse of some of his influences — including Kraftwerk, Wendy Carlos, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Bjork and Portishead — but an interesting look at how digital is used to take some of his beloved analog sounds on tour.

Rhodes must re-create those synthetic tones digitally, because it’s not practical to drag vintage analog machinery on the road. (Rhodes does bring one digitally controlled analog synthesizer on tour. It’s called the Andromeda.)

So to re-create the album on tour, Duran Duran digitally sampled all their synthesized tones and texture.

“Digital sampling now is amazing,” Rhodes says.

But digital still doesn’t have the same aural response as analog, he says.

“Analog can do things that digital will never be able to do. It’s got a heartbeat,” he says. “Analog instruments are all like wild animals you have to tame. You can get things out of those beasts that you’re never going to get out of digital synthesisers.”