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...
for the nameless, 2 for john stamus, 3 for the beats that'll make
How did you
guys get together?
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.
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?
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
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.
Las Vegas. What's the Vegas scene like?
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?
was a bellman at a hotel in Vegas.
Ronnie: I went to school and took wedding photos at a chapel on
So rock and
roll is suiting you then?
Who else are
you looking forward to seeing on the show?
Brandon: Tom Jones!......
And he's a
fan of Vegas.
we're a fan of Wales!
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.
The first obvious question is where did your name come from?:
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.
How did the band form?
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...
You guys are from Las Vegas, what's the music scene like there?
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.
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?
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.
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.
And how would you describe your music to someone that hasn't heard
Mark: If Vegas
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?
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
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.
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
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!
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?
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.
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
What are your favorite tracks from the CD?
Was A Friend of Mine", "Smile Like You Mean It",
and "Everything Will Be Alright".
Apart from the UK tour, any big touring plans in the works?
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.
Final question. What do you hope people take away from your music?
We hope that people get excited about a real band again.
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'?
- 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.
Do you believe in fate - is there a reason we are all sitting
in this room, or is it all just chaotic?
- Mark: It's chaotic, I would say! I don't think you can talk
about fate until you've done something really important.
- 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
Do you not feel like you've done something important already then?
I mean you have recorded a great album.
- 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.
What is your motivation?
- 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
- Ronnie: If I wasn't doing music, I wouldn't be happy. At all.
[There is a pause]
- Brandon : [Laughs at Ronnie] It's just something that we all
have in us.
You are going to tour the UK shortly. Do you feel you have reached
your live peak yet?
- 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.
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?
- 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.
- 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
How are you finding being in the music industry and having to
work your craft?
- 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.
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.
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.
What is the best live gig you've done ever?
Brandon: I think the Electric Ballroom, and in America, in San
Francisco - those are the two that stand out.
What are the differences between a U.S. and a U.K. live audience?
- 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?
- Brandon: We just recorded it!
- 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...
Have you all been recording since you were young?
- Dave: Little recordings that didn't amount to much - four-tracks,
or cheap 10-dollar an hour studios. High school bands, nothing
- 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?
Do you think that's something you'll change next time?
- 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.
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.
- 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!
- Ronnie: On Top is a good one for me right now. Ask me tomorrow
and you'll get a different result.
How closely wedded to your lives are these songs? Do you think
of them as therapy?
- 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.
Do you keep a diary?
- Brandon: At times.
What do you think of the internet in terms of music?
- 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.
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.
- Brandon: Thanks a lot - bye for now.