tv Amol Rajan Interviews BBC News April 10, 2022 9:30pm-10:00pm BST
this is bbc world news. the headlines: incumbent french president emmanuel macron is projected as winner of the first round of the presidential election. he is set again to face his far—right rival, marine le pen, in the run—off vote. 1,200 bodies have been found around the ukrainian capital kyiv since russian forces left. that's according to the country's prosecutor—general. in the south and east there have been more russian attacks. the british chancellor rishi sunak calls for his own ministerial declaraions to be referred to the indepedent advisor on ministers' interests. an inquiry has been launched into how the tax arrangements mr sunak�*s wife became public. pakistan's newly ousted
prime minister imran khan appeals to his supporters to protest against his removalfrom power. a new interim leader will be appointed tomorrow ahead of elections next years. mexico is holding a recall referendum this sunday on their controversial president, andres manuel lopez obrador. supporters of the man mexicans call amlo credit him for social benefit programmes that have made a big difference to family incomes. but his critics say he is becoming increasingly autocratic and might use a victory in the referendum 7 which he proposed himself 7 to extend his mandate beyond the single six—year term of the current constitution. our mexico correspondent, will grant, reports from chiapas state. laura gomez has been making tamales for 25 years. her late mother's recipe for the corn—based staple handed down over the generations is at the centre of the household income.
laura used at struggle to stay afloat but now the business receives a loan from the lopez obrador government. in fact, the entire family has received some aid, including her daughter, a single mother with a disability. little wonder she will vote for amlo on sunday. "he has touched our hearts," laura explains. "at no time has he offered hand—outs in exchange for votes," refuting the idea mr lopez obrador has bought her loyalty. translation: in the past, you would be threatened - | don't vote for this candidate or we will take your benefits away, or if you don't vote for that person, you will lose your benefits. not any more. now the help comes in whoever you support. president lopez obrador can count on rural communities like villaflores to drum up support before the upcoming referendum. some came in search of the same pension benefits already received by millions in mexico. the message being passed out was simple — more amlo.
he is expected to win with ease on sunday. to the people attending this event, amlo can do no wrong. he speaks to them more than any other mexican president in the modern era. to his critics, though, this referendum isn't just a publicity stunt, they fear it is the start of an attempt by mr lopez obrador to subvert the constitution to his own ends. mr lopez obrador calls his critics the urban elites and says they oppose him because he defends the rights of mexico's poor. such a vision is simplistic but he does lack votes in the capital, mexico city, where he was once mayor. this group have called on people to boycott the referendum so it lacks legitimacy. they fear amlo will use it to stay in power. that would really be a very disruptive event here in mexico in which re—election is not allowed since the revolution in 1910.
so, i think lopez obrador will not search for re—election, which is prohibited in mexico, but he will use the result of the referendum to enhance his power during the final part of his administration. amlo�*s critics are many but more than halfway through his mandates, some 60% of voters still back him. as such, the result of sunday's referendum isn't in any real doubt and if he ever does try to put re—election on the ballot, plenty would support that too. will grant, bbc news, villaflores, chiapas. now on bbc news, amol rajan interviews nile rodgers. if i asked you who the most influential musician in modern history was, i reckon i could guess your answer. one of the beatles, perhaps, or maybe one of the stones, madonna, prince, or maybe my hero, bob marley. over the next hour, i want to persuade you that there
might be a better answer. in fact, i want to go further and introduce you to him, because today i've been invited to get to know an icon and so have you. his name is nile rodgers. one, two... # ah, freak out # le freak, c'est chic— # freak out # ah, freak out...# just don't call him the godfather of disco. raised by heroin addicts and beatniks and coming of age in �*60s new york, it's true that with his ensemble, chic, he wrote several of the biggest dance floor fillers of all time with his long—term musical partner, bernard edwards. prepare to be astonished by the range of legendary tunes that he wrote or produced and on which you had no idea he was involved. many of the most celebrated
songs by sister sledge, diana ross, madonna, david bowie, duran duran and, yes, daft punk are all part of his story. his genius is estimated to have created billions of dollars in worldwide sales, reinventing whole genres and artistic careers along the way. and today, after several brushes with death, whether through addictions or cancers, he's more productive than ever. he's chief creative advisor at london's abbey road studios. but he's notjust a musician. he's a thinker, a global influencer and activist fighting for racial equality and a better deal for artists in the age of streaming. i feel genuinely privileged to meet him. hey, my man! how are you, man? you invite me to all the coolest places. how are you? i'm wonderful. thank you so much for doing this. what a place you've invited me to. this place has got the most amazing story of any studio, right? come on in. let's talk about it. let's do it.
thank you very much. camera a. b. c. d. e. god, you sound like my two—year—old daughter, man. mark it? lovely. some dude wrote on twitter yesterday, i thought it was hysterical, he says, "i'm thoroughly convinced "that nile has hundreds of hats with hair hanging." laughter. "hundreds of hats with hair attached to �*em." amol laughs. i was like, "no, that's actually how i'd look "if i didn't have a bleep hat on." yeah. it would be like... thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed. so, in preparation for this, i have done a lot of work. i've read your remarkable memoir and i've come to a conclusion, which you're too humble to say, so i'm going to say it, which is, i think you're one of the most influential musicians in modern history. how would you assess your influence? i look at myself, honestly, as a worker bee, and i walk into the studio and my onlyjob is to make sure that artistically, we wind up in a better
place than we started. the hitmaker. yeah. tell me the artists that you've worked with holding that guitar. it's the main workhorse in my life, and people, they laugh at me, they make fun of me, because they think that i treat it poorly and i say, "you don't understand." i show up to work. erm, this guitar is there to work. but that's probably responsible for what? it's over $1 billion worth of music you've made and produced and written on there. when, for instance, let's dance, the song let's dance comes about in switzerland, what's the process by which david bowie has an idea... ..and you take it and you take it further and you take it to the next level and you turn it from what he envisioned, which is a sort of folk song,
to something that would be a song that's sold a zillion records? so he walks into my room one morning, and he was very enthusiastic. "no, darling, ithink this is a hit." isay, "oh, wow. cool," you know. "play it for me." and he does something like this. strums riff. # let's dance. # something like that. i just thought it was a nice little riff, whatever. i said, "david, what if i did an arrangement? "would you mind if i did an arrangement on this?" he said, "oh, man, i'd love you to do an arrangement." awesome! arrangement. got the right word in. so i went... strums funkier riff. which sounds a little more funky to me. and because i knew he loved jazz, then i put a 13, a minor 13 chord in there.
continues strumming. but it still sounded dark in the key of a minor so i moved it up a half—step and all of a sudden we got... strums riff. and then i thought right away, huh, dark, dark, light, light — what if i make it really bright? and i moved it up a whole octave. and i went... strums riff. and then the minor 13 chord up here. then ijust said, "what else?" i'll do the voice leading. and then back here. then i made it a little nile—like and went... strums upbeat riff. # let's dance # put on your red shoes and dance the blues # let's dance
# to the song they're playing on the radio...# but, in a sense, you started with, materially speaking, nothing because if we go back to a world before david bowie and daft punk and madonna and sister sledge and duran duran and all the others, you've said to people that you were born into the underclass in new york city in 1952. you were born in segregation—era america but you were raised in the ultimate bohemian household. my mom was incredible. a really smart woman. she was the most open—minded... ..fun... ..loving person that you could imagine. we'll come on to your biological dad, nile rodgers senior, but she raised you with the help of this remarkable man, bobby glanzrock, a jewish beatnik. yeah. and thinking about the 1950s
in america, a mixed—race partnership like that was pretty rare, wasn't it? it was extremely rare. but what's really interesting is that thejewish and the black communities were really closely aligned because of the garment industry... yeah. ..the food industry. you were raised by heroin addicts. you know, both your parents, your stepfather and also your biologicalfather, nile rodgers senior, were drug addicts. so for you, the extraordinary was quite ordinary. just give us a sense of what it was like in the household, coming home and seeing this amazing social and intellectual swirl of people, but also a lot of drugs. so, when i was younger, i didn't contemplate the concept of... ..heroin right away... because it was so normal? and because i didn't even quite understand it. i mean, it was almost like, erm... it was something beyond, erm...
..a child's mind to take in because you saw people drinking openly and i saw people getting high openly and, as a kid, i always associated injections and things like that, you know, with doctors, so i didn't quite know that that was part of the getting high process. it was just there. as a matter of fact, i would come home quite often and see junkies standing around the apartment and they were in deep nods, which were they were standing up but they looked like they were asleep. sort of group narcolepsy. yeah, yeah... amol laughs. and then every now and then a sentence would come out. "yeah, man. "everything's cool." and, you know, they would just rock and nod. and i thought to myself, "wow, adults sleep standing up and children sleep lying down." so i was seven years
old and that's when i set the national truancy record. out of all the awards i've ever won, that's the one i'm proud of. but this was extraordinarily unusual. i mean, most people don't grow up in that kind of environment. you're such a mixture of things. you're such a sort of... i would say contradictions but that's got negative connotations. you're supremely literary. you're reading treasure island at the age of five or six. tell me how you came to meet timothy leary and how that changed your life. so one day my friend and i, we were going to the skating rink, and we saw these kids and we had never seen any kids like this, these white guys, and they all had really long hair... like, super... like, it was in their faces. they almost looked like dogs because... i was like, "how can
these dudes see?" we go over and we talk to these guys and we say, you know, "hey, man, who are you guys?" you know, "what's your thing? what are you all about?" and they said... they said, "hey, man, you know, we're freaks, man. "we're like... you know, we're freaks." and i said, "freaks?" they said, "yeah, man, you know, freaks." so when they said they were freaks, i went, "we accept her, we accept her, one of us, one of us..." # we accept her, one of us, we accept her, one of us # gooble, gobble, gooble, gobble...# "gooble, gobble..." i said, "like the movie freaks?" they went, "wow," and they laughed. they thought it was cool. he said, "spayed cats, cool, man. do you guys want to take a trip?" and we thought, sure, because we had time to kill. and they drove us up into the hollywood hills to a house that i remember with my childhood vision... ..of a house that looked like it was all glass. and we went inside and people were having sex and partying and going crazy.
and we'd never heard of timothy leary. we'd never heard of lsd. we didn't even know anything about that. i know that at some point we ingested the lsd. we realised we were tripping... nile chuckles. ..and then we sat there for two days. you're listening to this is the end by the doors... by the doors, right. ..and this is when you picked up a guitar and you heard a beatles song. and it was the beatles' a day in the life. yeah. well, that's how it started. i went out and bought a beatles song book, erm... ..and i kept playing... ..the positions that i thought were the proper position. anyway, one of my mom's boyfriends comes home and says, "whoa! what have you got that thing tuned like?" and i said, "i don't know. "i got it tuned so i could play something." and he took it and he retuned it to the proper tuning of a guitar — what we call standard tuning.
now i go back and i play the first chord and it's perfect. you know, you're now 26, 27 years sober, no drink or alcohol. how's that going, by the way? fantastic. yeah? no drink, no drugs for 27 years. nothing. but you reached rock bottom a few times. yeah. your heart stopped a few times. i think there was one incident where you were in a new york apartment and you pressed the number 1a, which was not the floor that you lived on, and that saved your life. why was that again? so what happened was, i was out partying all night and i drove home safely and i got into the elevator and instead of pushing 28, i pushed 1a. when i got to the 14th floor, i fell out of the elevator and it was the classic alcoholic death. you know, where you choke on your own vomit and the whole bit. the only difference was that the janitors
and the guys who work... ..the custodial staff in the building, they work their way down. it was the greatest stroke of luck, they were able to call the ambulance, because the hospital was just right across the street. so the paramedics came, they started my heart again, but my heart kept stopping. and they'd restart it and it would stop again and restart it, and they keep going through this process, so there was no physical damage to the organ, it just was temporarily taking some time off. i've got to move on to david bowie. your partnership would produce, in the record let's dance, one of the... i think his biggest—selling record of all time, almost his defining music. and it started about because you wandered into a club, i think it was about 3am in the morning, with billy idol. a little later than 3am. across the room you see this... solitary figure.
a solitary figure with a sharp nose from the suburbs of south—east london. what happened next? so i noticed that he was by himself drinking a glass of orangejuice. pretty unusual for an after—hours club. the whole point of going to an after—hours club was to be able to drink. so i walk over to him and right away i say, "hey, man, love your music." right away, the conversation veered into our love ofjazz. deep jazz as well, not justjohn coltrane. no, deep, deep, deep. he saw in me something that... ..was attractive and i saw something in him that was attractive, so this relationship was going to be mutually beneficial no matter what happened. i used to call him the picasso of rock and roll. it used to piss him off but i think secretly he dug it. but it was always, you know, a term of endearment.
could i ask you to take me through the same progression when it comes to get lucky and daft punk? it's an extraordinary album. when daft punk, these two french dudes who are anonymous in their own way, came over to your house and they laid out a vision for an album, what was that vision? what did they sell you? they sold me on a concept. they said simply... .."we want to do an album "as if the internet never existed." they laugh. and i'm, like, going, "ok?" erm, and for some reason, i knew exactly what they meant. as soon as they gave me that explanation, i said, "you don't need to play anything for me. "i'lljust come to the studio and let's do it." so where does a song like get lucky, how does it get born into a world? what happened was, they had already been working on certain songs, so i go down to the studio and i started playing something to this effect. strums riff.
so after i play a part like that, then i would do... i start to map out a lick on it, because now i'm only playing to drums, so now that part is down and then i play... picks counter part. ah, right, so... i want you to keep both things in your head, so... strums riff. so then i break out the plexiglass guitarand i play... picks counter part. and... picks notes. ..turned into, "to get lucky." # we've come too far
# to give up # who we are # so let's raise the bar # and our cups to the stars # she's up all night till the sun # i'm up all night to get some # she's up all night for good fun # i'm up all night to get lucky...# that song actually represented a big moment for you and i would say it was almost a transformative moment for you because there is this irony that you and pharrell williams, who did the vocals, a lot of people thought that you guys were daft punk. yeah, i know. isn't that amazing? so, the only two human beings you see are pharrell and myself and i cannot tell you how many times i've walked down the street and a young kid who didn't grow up with daft punk now is seeing daft punk for the first time and he thinks that it's me and pharrell. # if you wanna leave i'm with it...# but isn't there an amazing irony
that you become, finally, after an incredible ao—year career, you become as globally famous as you are working with a group who are anonymous? right. did you struggle a little bit with the fact that as a producer you didn't get the credit you deserved? no, man. but, see, this is the, if i may say, the famous humility. when i chatted to people and said i was going to interview you, a lot of people said, "well, nile, obviously he's an icon of music, "he's an incredibly nice guy "and he's just strangely humble. "he always says it's not about him." but, if i may, iwatched back your performance at glastonbury a few years ago now, four orfive years ago, and there was this moment on stage, you were playing good times and everyone was up there and the crowd was screaming and they put two syllables into your name. "ni-le!" and you looked to me... i started crying. you looked... you did? you did start crying? i started crying, yeah. why were you so emotional? was it...? can i humbly submit, was it because... ..maybe in bernard's absence, and we might come back to that, but you were finally getting the recognition that you deserved?
no. i... i just thought that they appreciated it so much. way beyond... look, i go out there to try and make people happy. we're talking a bit about the internet era, and i want to ask you a bit about one other aspect of it, which is whether or not the internet is working out for artists. and you've been very vocal about the deal or the lack of deal that artists are getting in the age of streaming. what's the issue? why are you speaking out? there's a really, really big problem here. erm... ..the music industry is built on songs. it's... the foundation of the house is in the songwriter. we haven't had a raise in 75 years because our deals, in effect, are governed by copyright laws. when streaming came into effect, the people who own the masters now had something that they can negotiate with that was very
powerful because without having that music to play, spotify doesn't mean anything. where's that gone wrong in the age of streaming? in the age of streaming, what's happened is that since we don't even know what the deal is, we don't know how much money they're making or anything like that, we don't know how that money is being funnelled to help the new artists, to help the business. i've got some quickfire questions. this is minimum one word, maximum ten, ok? who's your greatest hero? wow. erm, 100% honest, john coltrane. favourite sportsperson? nile exhales. muhammad ali. dickens or shakespeare? dickens. oh, man, you'rejoking? why do people always say dickens when i ask that question? that's the only question which has a right answer and a wrong answer but i'll forgive you that. how much time do you spend
in the gym each week? not enough. how much tea and coffee do you drink? erm... not a lot. do you believe in god? no. do you eat meat? i do, but i try to avoid it. person from history you'd most like to meet? probably... ..harriet tubman. why? because... ..my great—great—grandmother was a slave. the concept of a person having the bravery and the ingenuity to design something that's nicknamed the underground railroad, i would love to meet that mind. the fact that it was a woman blows me away and that she was so effective at doing it. thank you so much for being so generous with your time today. thank you very much. # these are the good times...#
hello, there. we've got some more springlike weather over the weekend ahead. today, though, is still on the cold side, as it has been over the past few days. we've got low pressure sitting to the west of the uk, spiralling around it this cloud that is beginning to push in and turning the sunshine rather hazy. a lot of high cloud, as you can see here, in north somerset from earlier on, but also some fair weather cumulus bubbling up as well so more cloud as we head towards the latter part of the afternoon, temperatures a shade higher than they were yesterday. still the odd shower in the north—east of scotland, and the clouds thick enough in the west to give a little rain perhaps here and there
in northern ireland. the breeze, though, picking up in western areas and tending to increase a bit elsewhere, and there will be a lot of cloud around overnight tonight, not much rain, though, really, most of it will be in northern ireland. but the upshot of the cloud in the breeze means that it is going to be a lot milder than it was last night, with temperatures typically four or five degrees. earlier in the week, we've got the chance of seeing some rain, but those temperatures will be continuing to rise as well. now, there won't be much rain in the forecast on monday, we've got a couple of bands of short lived rain sweeping northwards, mainly at the western side of the uk, through the midlands, much of eastern england it may well be dry and we'll have some sunshine here as well. and those temperatures beginning to lift, up to around 17 celsius in the south—east of england. now, we are seeing those temperatures rising because the really cold air is getting pushed away to the north of scotland, something more of a southerly breeze heading our way early in the week but at the same time as temperatures rising, we've got the zone of cloud and rain all the way from spain up across france and heading
into the uk, bringing with it a pulse of rain. we'll see some rain overnight continuing to work its way northwards, on tuesday up into scotland, still quite windy in the north—east. and this rain could be heavy, possibly even thundery as well — where it brightens up, following on from that in the light winds and some sunshine, that could trigger a few sharp showers as well. still quite chilly in the north—east of scotland but towards the south—east of england, those temperatures are getting up to 17 or 18 degrees. that weather front will take the rain away out into the north sea overnight. things calm down as we head into wednesday, light winds across the whole of the country this time. it could start off a bit misty and murky around some western areas, that will tend to lift, some sunshine coming through now and again could trigger one or two light showers. most places, though, will be dry, with a little bit of sunshine, temperatures lifting in the central belt, 19 in the south—east.
dvornikov this is bbc news ? welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. our top stories... emmanual macron, is projected as winner of the first ballot in the french presidential election. i call on you for the last six years who have committed to work on my side to transcend their differences, to come together in a great political movement of unity and action for our country. i political movement of unity and action for our country.— action for our country. i have decided in — action for our country. i have decided in this _ action for our country. i have decided in this campaign - action for our country. i have decided in this campaign to i action for our country. i have i decided in this campaign to be action for our country. i have - decided in this campaign to be free of partisan politics and to support all french and to talk directly to you.