Entertainment & Arts

Mark Ronson back with a bang

Mark Ronson
Image caption Mark Ronson's third album Record Collection is due in September

"Alouette, gentille alouette."

Mark Ronson is speaking French - and with good reason.

The chorus of the dapper DJ's new single Bang Bang Bang incorporates the famous children's song about plucking skylarks.

"I think my sixth grade French tutor - Mr Broquet - will be proud of me," says Ronson.

It's a humid Wednesday in east London, and the uber-producer is taking some time out from rehearsals to talk about his new record.

So how did a French nursery rhyme end up on Bang Bang Bang? Ronson hands the credit to New York-based musician MNDR (Amanda Warner).

"She's super-smart and really geeky, and she builds her own keyboards," he says, with more than a hint of admiration.

Several big names had tried writing over the track, but "nothing felt right", admits Ronson. Then MNDR played her version.

"When the song was over, there was this silence and I asked: 'What are you saying in the chorus?' She explained it means 'I will pluck the feathers out of your head'.

"At the end of the day it's bit of a bratty taunt. It's funny what people think she's saying when they first hear it."

Over on Twitter, someone mistook the line "Je te plumerai la..." for "Shake your vuvuzela."

Spookily, the single is released on the day of the World Cup final.

Ronson can see the funny side.

"If I was super-smart, like one of those marketing geniuses like Will.i.am or Puffy, I would have had a vuvuzela remix."

'No horns'

Image caption Ronson divides his time between New York and London

Bang Bang Bang isn't just about plucking skylarks. It also features previous Ronson collaborator Q-Tip and retro synths.

Ronson admits that his recent work with 80s pop gods Duran Duran has helped shape his sound of 2010.

"I was working with Nick Rhodes, and when I heard the sound of these analogue keyboards I thought they would be an interesting texture to incorporate into my new album."

Record Collection, due out in September, is the follow-up to 2007's Version, the album that contained Amy Winehouse's Valerie.

"There's no covers, no horns," says Ronson. "Working with Duran Duran is directly responsible for the sound on this album - although it doesn't sound like Duran Duran."

As a kid, Ronson was a big Duran Duran fan. No surprise then that Simon Le Bon turns up on the new album's title track. Another 80s icon - Boy George - sings on Somebody To Love Me.

"It has the same blue-eyed soul element and sense of regret as Do You Really want to Hurt Me?" notes Ronson. "It's one of my favourite things I've ever done."

The album also features collaborations with newer names like Rose Elinor Dougall and Theophilus London.

Style icons

Alongside his own album, Ronson is putting the finishing touches to the new Duran Duran album which he expects to be out around the end of 2010.

"I didn't reinvent the wheel," he says of his production job. "I'm just another Duran Duran fan and know what another Duran Duran fan would want to hear.

"There's bands like the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand and The Killers who are quite vocal about the debt they have to Duran Duran.

"There's nothing wrong with Duran Duran as a band going back and reclaiming that and sounding like they did in 1982 again."

Ronson and his band The Business Intl will be playing at London's Lovebox festival on 17 July - directly ahead of Roxy Music.

It brings the tantalising prospect of two style icons - Ronson and Bryan Ferry - bumping into each other backstage.

"I've met him once or twice. He's a dude, you know?" says Ronson.

But will he be swapping style tips?

"I'll be silently making notes," says Ronson.

"It's not hard to look at what I wear and not think I owe a certain debt to Bryan Ferry. So I'll be learning as opposed to swapping."

Bang Bang Bang by Mark Ronson and The Business Intl is out on 11 July

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