To many, Duran Duran personify the 80s, supermodel-filled parties, yacht-filled music videos and flamboyant fashion, which is why their enduring popularity remains such an intriguing prospect.

Now releasing their 15th album and marking 40 years since the release of their self-titled debut, it could be argued they are in the midst of a late career high.

“It’s since we started working with producer Mark Ronson,” drummer Roger Taylor explains over Zoom.

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“He took us into a purple patch and he made us make friends with ourselves again because we have been down a lot of different avenues, trying to find different directions and different sounds and almost trying to sound like other people.

“We had to go through a process of self-acceptance to get where we are with this record.”

As its name suggests, their new album Future Past sees the band, now all pushing or over the age of 60, looking both forwards and back.

The roll call of collaborators is evidence enough: pioneering indie DJ Erol Alkan, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, 23-year-old rapper Ivorian Doll, the aforementioned Ronson and Bowie’s go-to keyboardist Mike Garson.

“It’s definitely one of the strangest records we’ve ever made,” Taylor tells me, recalling their pre-pandemic recording sessions.

“We thought we had almost finished the record, to be honest with you.

“We had been working on the record for a few months and I know that Erol Alkan wanted this to be a quick album.

“He wanted it to be high energy, he wanted it to be very live in the way that we recorded it.

“And he was thinking we could get the whole thing done in three or four months.

“And then of course, the pandemic.”

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After months of lockdown, the band returned to the studio with Alkan and their sound engineer.

Frontman Simon Le Bon has said the enforced break helped cool creative tensions between the band.

“We came back with renewed energy and renewed focus,” Taylor adds.

“We had objective thinking, which we had never really been allowed before in the record making process.”

The group also secured a few days in the studio with disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, whose expansive CV includes producing singles for Donna Summer, composing for Bowie and most recently working with Daft Punk.

“It was like working with God,” the usually cool Taylor enthuses.

“He is so much part of the DNA of the band and actually the first song we ever played live together was I Feel Love.

“That was so much how we wanted to sound that we would play that before any of our own songs that we had written.

“So he was so much part of the architecture of the band that it was really exciting.”

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Taylor describes Moroder as “so focused and so musically intelligent” and it appears he was one of the few producers able to boss the usually headstrong band about in the studio.

When we talk, the week before release date, the band have just come off a string of dates which including performing in Texas, headlining Isle of Wight Festival and two nights in their native Birmingham (“The crowd were hysterical”).

“It’s part of our DNA to get out there and play our songs to people.

“The songs from this album are really translating very well into the live arena because they have much more of a live feel. I think they’re more organic.

“One of Erol Alkan’s visions was to go back to that more live feel that we had on the early records.

“He particularly loved the early 12-inch records because we couldn’t cut and paste in those days.

“You had to literally go into the studio and play the 10 minutes to make an extended version and Erol was a fan of those and he wanted to introduce that feel back into the recordings.”

The album also features Mike Garson, the keyboard wizard who played on nine of Bowie’s studio albums from 1973 to the 2000s.

“Bowie is another godlike figure to us,” says Taylor as he recalls the band’s early days in their native Birmingham.

“We have often said that there wouldn’t have been a Duran Duran without Bowie, because he was the common denominator when we all came together.

“We all liked different bands. Andy was into AC/DC and Nick liked Kraftwerk, and John and I wanted to play funk and disco.

“But Bowie was the one person that we all loved.”

Duran Duran’s early years as part of the New Wave and New Romantic scenes have been the subject of much scrutiny, in documentaries, books and more.

It’s no surprise given the band’s resume – chart-topping singles, world tours, Brits, Grammys and an appearance at Live Aid.

How was it really rising to quickly to fame?

“It was difficult and anybody who tells you it wasn’t will probably not be telling the truth,” he offers.

“I was 19 when I joined the band and we all had a hatful of dreams.

“But nobody said they were going to come true.”

He compares Duran Duran to U2, who saw their profile build steadily over subsequent albums.

His own band’s ascent, meanwhile, was stratospheric.

“Suddenly we have gone from playing in a back room in (Birmingham nightclub) Rum Runner to playing Madison Square Garden in New York, hanging out with Andy Warhol.

“We had the huge teenage following which also we didn’t really expect.

“The kind of bands we liked were Simple Minds and Japan and the Human League and Ultravox, stuff that was a little bit more culty I guess.

“But we wanted success.

“We were all very competitive and we were all very driven.

“We wanted a large amount of success and we got it with two smoking barrels.

“But it was a very fast ascension and a lot of bands around us had a much slower one.”

Unsurprisingly, though, Taylor is reluctant to dwell.

“We spend very little time looking back,” he says after a moment of thought.

“All the time I’ve been in the band it’s always been about looking forward.

“We all reflect if something comes on the radio.

“We will say, ‘Oh, that still sounds good, the production on that was really good’ but we don’t sit around listening to our own records or watching our own videos.

“It’s all about, it may sound a bit of a cliche now, but it’s all about being in the moment and looking to the future really.

“That’s been the secret of the longevity of the band, that we’ve never rested on our laurels.

“It’s always been about creating new material.”

Future Past by Duran Duran is out now.