Interview with The Killers: Escapism In Hard Times

The KillersFor a band that’s sold 12 million records in four short years, the Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers is surprisingly humble.

Driving through Las Vegas on his way to band rehearsal, any preconceived ideas about the lead singer’s pride are quickly stripped away as the mastermind behind “Mr Brightside” and “Read My Mind” deliberates over whether or not the Killers have managed to find their niche.

“I struggle with it. Some days I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, and I think that we’re doing it perfectly. We’ve had a couple of bumps in the road but I’m really happy with our career,” he says. “And there are other days where I just get frustrated because I don’t know if we have ‘that’ thing. I’m not sure because, I guess, I’m so close to it. I don’t know if we have a Killers sound or not, I don’t know.”

If playing worldwide tours at arenas, reaching platinum status and having a swag of hit singles is anything to go by, it’s a pretty solid indication that the Killers have nailed a beat that’s distinctly their own.

Following the razzle-dazzle of their debut Hot Fuss and the anthemic rock themes that dominated their Springsteen-inspired sophomore album Sam Town’s, Day & Age boasts the perfect blend of dance rock and synth-pop, which sees the Killers soar to new heights. Their most recent delivery is an indulgent and glossy record, packed with charm, funk and plenty of sparkle, which shows even more of the quartet’s vivacity than their previous work.

Flowers says this time around they felt more confident.

“Three quarters of the Killers are quite shy individuals. It’s funny, it took the success of selling 12 million records to really show a little bit of the sex appeal, a little bit of the rock and roll. There’s a lot more swagger on this album and a lot more grease but it’s also playful and fun,” he says. “We’re finally realizing we deserve to be here and we’re going to do what we want to do, and this is that album. We weren’t afraid to make this record. There were things that we were afraid of when we were making the other records.”

With tracks that delve into dreams, desires, heartache, hope, and of course, the bombastic and fantastic, the Killers’ knack for creating tracks that transport you to another time and place is as strong as ever.

When it comes to songs like “Human,” “A Dustland Fairytale,” “Joy Ride,” “Neon Tiger,” and particularly, “Spaceman,” listeners can either dig deep and dissect metaphors, or just cruise along for the journey.

“There was this playful attitude I discovered about myself that I didn’t have before. Sometimes if you listen to ‘Spaceman’ in the right context, it will break your heart—but it will also make you laugh too,” he says. “This album’s an escape in a lot of ways, and that’s what pop music was for me when I was growing up. I spent about eight years in Utah. I lived in this town called Nephi, Utah, and we didn’t even have a stop light, so it was kind of the opposite of Las Vegas. And when I listened to the Cars’ ‘Just What I Needed’ or ‘Double Life,’ it made me feel like the coolest person alive—which I wasn’t—and it was an escape. I’m happy that’s made its way into our music.”