Bringing you the week's best new music. This week, Brandon Flowers talks the Killers’ killer new album.
Photo Courtesy of Press Here Publicity
Since their titanic debut, Hot Fuss, in 2004, the Killers have been that rare band that appeals to indie rock snobs and fist-pumping bros alike. Over nearly a decade, the Vegas rockers slowly developed a distinctive sound that combines Hot Fuss’s synth-heavy dance jams , follow-up Sam’s Town’s widescreen Americana and the glossy glam rock of 2008’s Day and Age. On their newest, Battle Born, out today, all these threads come together in an arena-rocking monster. Frontman Brandon Flowers gives us the lowdown on how it all came together.
You guys have been one of the more dance-friendly rock bands of the last ten years, and now electronic dance music has sort of swamped the industry. Was this record a reaction to that?
We did our last album right before all this dance stuff got really big, so it’s more of a reaction to that Day and Age. You just don’t want to repeat yourself. And it seems like bands who come out today are either made for Glee, or they’re just trying to get on the radio and have “that sound”. So it was really also a reaction to that. I refuse to just lay down and do what we’re supposed to do because it’s 2012 and this is what’s on the radio. It’s annoying. We’re spoiled because we’ve had success already, but if you’re a new band and you love the Rolling Stones, what are you going to do right now? There’s no home for you, and that’s sad. But it all goes in circles, so it’ll come back around.
So did you have any apprehensions about going with these unapologetically huge songs on the new album?
We’re kind of students of bands that weren’t afraid to be big. And if you love it, and you’re in a band, you learn the tricks and the chord progressions and how they do things. The bands we loved were U2 and The Who, bands that were just larger than life. So it’s a little bit of that, and a little bit of Vegas. It’s kind of been a perfect storm.
How does Vegas affect your sound?
I try to capture it a lot, but it’s hard to make it happen. The best I can explain it is with the song “Miss Atomic Bomb” on this new record. With that, I see where I’m from and I feel the magic I felt when I was growing up. I feel like we really captured the Mojave desert on that one, as well as the city. It’s weird, but hopefully someone is going to hear it in Arkansas and feel the same thing.
It seems like this album was engineered to play to huge crowds.
Yeah, it’s exciting, but it’s also hard, because when you start to play to these big crowds a lot, you can feel guilty for taking it all for granted. But’s it’s amazing that these people keep coming. The shows are really where all the hard work pays off, and we’re so excited to play these songs live. There are moments on this record that are just screaming out to be played in font of a lot of people.
Do you still have moments when you have to pinch yourself?
We have our own studio in Vegas, and Elton John came in to do a song, and that was a real treat. You just never expect to meet these people, let alone have them appreciate your music. One of my favorite U2 songs is “In a Little While” and I got to perform that with those guys when they played in Vegas. And I got to do “Thunder Road” on stage with Bruce Springsteen. That’s the biggest “pinch me” moment for me.
Are those the kinds of artists whose careers you’d like to emulate?
Yeah, people who stick around, but don’t cave in. They’re just writing about the things they should be writing about at that age, and not trying to stay young and hip. They do it their own way.
Battle Born is out today.
Other new albums worth opening your ear for:
Band of Horses, Mirage Rock
Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on the Sky
Grizzly Bear, Shields
Kreayshawn, Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay
The Whigs, Enjoy the Company
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