The Killers

We spoke to Ronnie & Brandon from The Killers about their hometown of Las Vegas, their single Mr Brightside and their favourite Welshman.

Hello, welcome to the show. D'you wanna say a few words to make sure we're recording...

Ronnie: One for the nameless, 2 for john stamus, 3 for the beats that'll make you famous.

How did you guys get together?

Brandon: We got together a couple of years ago. Myself, Brandon, the singer. I answered an ad that Dave the guitar player put out. And we just formed The Killers and picked up everybody along the way. And here we are.

Where did you get the name The Killers from?

We got it from the New Order video 'Crystal'. It's barely visible, there's a mock band and on the bass drum it says 'The Killers'. We thought what a great name.

You'll be playing Mr Brightside on the show. I've read that you play the song at every gig. Why is that?

Brandon: It's just been around forever. We've played it at every gig. And now the way things are looking we're playing it a lot more.
Ronnie: But none of us have gotten sick of it so...It's really nice.
Brandon: We're lucky, it's one of the first songs that was written. The good thing about it is that since the first song that things haven't changed that much. So there's a little continuity in there. That's another reason we keep it in there.
Ronnie: We've written stuff since which isn't in our set anymore so it's kinda neat that it's still with us.

You're from Las Vegas. What's the Vegas scene like?

Brandon: We're not from Las Vegas....
Ronnie: We're from Alaska... Anchorage!
Brandon: No we're just messing with you. It's pretty normal in Las Vegas. We have the option of it being like what you see on the strip and things like that but other than things being open 24 hours it's fairly normal.
Ronnie: Vegas is completely accessible to whatever you want, whenever you want it. So if you've got enough self control it's a great place to live.

What did you do before you joined the band?

Brandon: I was a bellman at a hotel in Vegas.
Ronnie: I went to school and took wedding photos at a chapel on the strip.

So rock and roll is suiting you then?

Yeah, just fine.

Who else are you looking forward to seeing on the show?

Ronnie: Graham Coxon.... And...
Brandon: Tom Jones!......

And he's a fan of Vegas.

Brandon: And we're a fan of Wales!

Enjoy the show.

Thank you.

The Killers

The Killers have made a huge splash in the UK and are at this moment are starting to burn up the US radio charts with their single "Somebody Told Me". Their new album "Hot Fuss" hits North American stores on June 15th. This interview was originally supposed to be part of our Inside Track series, where the band walks the reader through each track on the album and gives us the inside story of each song, but some signals got crossed and that portion of the interview wasn’t completed. However, we still had a plenty to talk to Mark Stoermer from The Killers about and Brandon Flowers wraps things up. So with that out of the way, antiMUSIC is very pleased to present you with a Q&A with The Killers.

antiMUSIC: The first obvious question is where did your name come from?:

Mark Stoermer: We were watching this video "Crystal" by New Order and the video had this band who looked all hot in it, pretending to be New Order but they were known as The Killers. We saw that name on the drummer's kick drum head and lifted it.

antiMUSIC: How did the band form?

Mark: Dave placed an ad in the local Vegas Weekly looking for a singer who was into Oasis and Bowie. Brandon responded and he and Dave hooked up. One of the 1st tunes they wrote was "Mr. Brightside", which is proving to be a hit song in the UK at the moment. Then myself and Ronnie met the guys at shows when Dave and Brandon had a different rhythm section. We were asked to try out for the band and the rest is history...

antiMUSIC: You guys are from Las Vegas, what's the music scene like there?

Mark: It's really tough on young bands. Most venues want to book nationally known acts and the smaller clubs can't compete with the clubs doing business on the strip, so local bands have a hard time finding a place to play. We resorted to building a following in a drag club. That place was good fun until they had to shut it down.

antiMUSIC: Since everyone one and their brother thinks you have to move to L.A. or New York to get a record deal, how did you guys land your deal with Island?

Mark: After we built up a buzz in the UK, a lot of major labels in the US and UK started sniffing around. When we played CMJ in NYC in October of 2003, offers started coming in and we ended up signing with Island Def Jam.

antiMUSIC: Listening to your album, there really seems to be a lot of 80's synth-pop-rock influence. Who are your biggest influences?

Mark: We listen to Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Boys, early Bowie, The Beatles, Blur, and Pulp, and The Smiths.

antiMUSIC: And how would you describe your music to someone that hasn't heard it?

Mark: If Vegas were cool...

antiMUSIC: Out here in L.A., you guys have generate quite the buzz on our trend setting radio station KROQ, becoming the third most requested band on the station. And there is a definite buzz for your guys in the UK. Has the single caught on that strong everywhere yet?

Mark: I'm told that 55 stations are playing nationwide at press time. The West Coast was the 1st area of the US to really get behind "Somebody Told Me".

antiMUSIC: You guys did a tour of the UK earlier this year. How did it go?

Mark: We could see more and more fans showing up knowing the words to our songs and that makes really worthwhile. It was great touring with Stellastar.

antiMUSIC: And what are you most looking forward to when you go back there? (note for readers: at the time of this interview the band was getting ready to go back to the UK for a tour in late May/early June.)

Mark: We are looking forward to our 1st headlining tour and playing for crowds that are coming out just to see us. I'm hearing the tour is all SOLD OUT, which is really amazing!

antiMUSIC: Speaking of live buzz. You guys really turned some heads when you were direct support for two of Morrissey's L.A. shows. We've heard about the audience response, but how did the shows go for you guys? What was the highlight?

Mark: The shows were amazing and it was quite nerve-racking watching one of our pop idols checking out our soundchecks too. The crowd's were huge and that venue was incredible.

antiMUSIC: Tell us three things should everyone know about The Killers?

1) I'm nocturnal...
2) Dave our guitar player has a secret nickname...
3) We're all going to Japan to play the Fuji Rock Festival July 30th.

antiMUSIC: What are your favorite tracks from the CD?

Mark: "Jenny Was A Friend of Mine", "Smile Like You Mean It", and "Everything Will Be Alright".

antiMUSIC: Apart from the UK tour, any big touring plans in the works?

Mark: We're going to be touring the West Coast in June, back to the UK to play the major festivals. Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen in Ireland are all on our schedule with a short European run, and back to the US. It's looking like we'll be on the road non-stop through 2004 into 2005.

antiMUSIC: Final question. What do you hope people take away from your music?

Brandon Flowers: We hope that people get excited about a real band again.



Tiscali Music: Hi there one and all, pleased to meet you. You have just released the single 'Mr Brightside', and your debut album 'Hot Fuss'. Do you have expectations about releases, or is it a case of 'whatever will be will be'?

The Killers - Brandon: We kind of have that attitude, I mean it's whatever happens is gonna happen anyway, but it's nice - we're not opposed to our records doing well in the charts, so hopefully they will.

Tiscali Music: Do you believe in fate - is there a reason we are all sitting in this room, or is it all just chaotic?

The Killers - Mark: It's chaotic, I would say! I don't think you can talk about fate until you've done something really important.

The Killers - Ronnie: When I first met Mark, that's what he said. That's what he said - 'Do you believe in fate?' And I said, 'Yes, Sir' (they all laugh).

Tiscali Music: Do you not feel like you've done something important already then? I mean you have recorded a great album.

The Killers - Brandon: It seems like you are always trying to prove yourself.

I think it's a good way to be. I think you should always have a level you are trying to surpass. If you look at all great artists they are the same. They work hard at what they do to get where they are at. You do have to burn brightly to shine.

Tiscali Music: What is your motivation?

The Killers - Brandon: We just love music. I think this is what we would all want to do. I think it's one of those things that is like now we've tasted it we would all be miserable if we weren't doing it.

The Killers - Ronnie: If I wasn't doing music, I wouldn't be happy. At all. [There is a pause]

The Killers - Brandon : [Laughs at Ronnie] It's just something that we all have in us.

The Killers: You are going to tour the UK shortly. Do you feel you have reached your live peak yet?

The Killers - Dave: In terms of how our playing is? Then no, we've definitely got a lot of improving to do. We've gotten a lot better in the last year since we started touring. Just getting the show a little more exciting to watch.

Tiscali Music: Are you big believers in the Beatles 'Mak Shau' concept. I.e., 'the show' and the presentation being everything live, even more important than the sound?

The Killers - Dave: Not to the extent of having tonnes of pyrotecnics or anything, but you just want to live, like you want to be there. Like some bands just stand there with a droopy face, and they play. We just played a show there last night, and you should be happy for the fact that loads of people want to be there to see you.

The Killers - Ronnie: There were a couple of shows recently in the US where we had some sound system issues, and we wanted to be there and deliver the songs. Oftentimes if the sound is comprimised we then switch gears and pull out something extra to go to the extra level to ensure that there is a connection made, because without a connection then people.

Tiscali Music: How are you finding being in the music industry and having to work your craft?

The Killers - Brandon: I don't think that has anything to do with your natural creativity. We had problems that came up when we were younger that we didn't handle in the best way - I'm not saying would right now either, buit I think we are getting a lot better at doing things. Now it's nice having our crew and everything, it makes it a lot easier - when those problems happen or just makes it so they don't happen as well.

Killers - Dave: It's a big difference from playing once a month to playing every day - because when you play once a month and something bad happens to have to carry it with you for all that time - that you've had a bad gig. When you play every day things are not such a big issue as you think they are.

Killers - Ronnie: There's a degree of muscle memory that comes into play, you know. We'll do things to keep it fresh for us, change the set up or whatever. I think that is one of the challenges for this tour is to keep it fresh for us.

Tiscali Music: What is the best live gig you've done ever?

Killers - Brandon: I think the Electric Ballroom, and in America, in San Francisco - those are the two that stand out.

Tiscali Music: What are the differences between a U.S. and a U.K. live audience?

# Killers - Brandon: It's got a lot to do with awareness - the level of press we've got. There'll be some shows in the states that are neck and neck with here, and it's all coming together. WATCH THE
Tiscali Music: Let's get into the nitty-gritty oof the album. I now you produced the album yourselves. How did you record it and approach it?

The Killers - Brandon: We just recorded it!

The Killers - Dave: We took about 4 or 5 songs at a time. We took the first 4 in February, the second 4 or 5 in July and then, like 6 more in November. They started out as demos, but by the second time we'd already planned that some of them wouldn't be on the album. We'd try to keep getting better with them, we were in different studios, trying to take a lot less time that the last six...

Tiscali Music: Have you all been recording since you were young?

The Killers - Dave: Little recordings that didn't amount to much - four-tracks, or cheap 10-dollar an hour studios. High school bands, nothing serious.

The Killers - Ronnie: We spent a lot of time crafting the songs, affecting it, so that we didn't have to spend a lot of time in the studio. We knew what it was going to sound like and we recorded our home demos on a DAT machine, live. Then we'd hear that back. We didn't go in there experimenting with a lot of ideas. All this album was done in three takes or less?

Tiscali Music: Do you think that's something you'll change next time?

The Killers - Ronnie: We were talking about that recently. We'd like to kind of encompass the whole live atmospshere on tape, and play more live. When we played live on this last album, as Dave was saying, it was kind of done in chunks, in parts. For the next album, we'd like to get in there and do it more live.

Tiscali Music: There is that energy you get when you do a one off live recording. That's an interesting dilemma. What are the highlights on the album for you - the standout tracks.

The Killers - Dave: I really like 'Everything Will Be Alright' on the album, because I really like the song. I think it's the closest thing to a ballad or something. I'm kind of surprised that it ended up on the album, and when we tried to redo it it didn't sound as good as the original. The Killers - Mark: The version on the album was the actual demo version!

The Killers - Ronnie: On Top is a good one for me right now. Ask me tomorrow and you'll get a different result.

Tiscali Music: How closely wedded to your lives are these songs? Do you think of them as therapy?

The Killers - Brandon: I like things that are made up just as much as my own experiences. For me it makes it more interesting. I don't treat it as therapy or anything. Every song is not my diary.

Tiscali Music: Do you keep a diary?

The Killers - Brandon: At times.

Tiscali Music: What do you think of the internet in terms of music?

The Killers - Brandon: That's how we got noticed! Our manager picked us up, when he saw us on a local website. We'd half heartedly put a demo we'd done up there. You know, today man - the internet is leaps and bounds ahead. It's everything. It's everything, it's your audio, your visual, your communication system. It's great.

Tiscali Music: Well, you said it! That's a great way to end the interview. Thanks very much for your time and I'm sure we'll see you soon.

The Killers - Brandon: Thanks a lot - bye for now.

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