*NEW INTERVIEW* Brandon Flowers: V Festival Interview (August 2014)
It’s 10 years since you first played V Festival, what are your memories of the first time? I remember playing during the daytime, which isn’t ideal, but it was such an exciting time for us. We had a few things to do in London that morning so we had to get a helicopter to get us there in time. It was our first ever helicopter ride and so we felt like pretty legit rockers even though we weren’t even nearly there yet. That’s my abiding memory; flying in over the site like superstars.
Then the next time you played, in 2007, you were headlining. Now, you’re practically the V Festival house band… Yeah, I guess we’re sort of a go-to band for these slots. We take a lot of pride in our live show though. I don’t know whether that comes from being from Las Vegas - that lack of shame at wanting to be a performer - or whether it’s the influence of people that we idolised as kids, but we apply as much craft to performance as we do to songwriting.
Each time you return you seem to become more flamboyant. Who are the artists who inspire the aesthetics of The Killers? There’s a little bit of Elvis in there, always. A little bit of Bono too. Morrissey, Frank Sinatra, Tom Petty - there’s a lot of different musical words colliding in our band, and we try to find a common ground in amongst them all.
Would it be fair to say you enjoy a special relationship with the UK? Absolutely. The UK embraced us when America shunned us - or at least the American labels anyway. That was such an honour because most of the bands who shaped our formative years were from across the Atlantic Ocean.A lot of artists broke in the UK first - Hendrix or whoever - and we had literally seen it happen with The Strokes and White Stripes too, right before our eyes. That gave us hope; the idea that our UK label had a vision and that people might embrace us pretty quickly too.
It’s also 10 years since Hot Fuss was released, does that make you feel old? Not old, but it does feel like it has gone by so quickly…
Do you feel like you’ve changed a lot as people? The world is definitely a smaller place for us now, and we’ve done things that we never would have done without music. Gone places that we never would have gone. We’ve seen so many things. Obviously we have had breaks along the way, but it has been such a continuous thing that when you don’t stop it feels like times goes a little faster.
You must have reminders when you go back home and you’re now ‘Mr Rock Star’? Oh yes. There’s a great line from [Eagles guitarist] Joe Walsh: “Everyone’s different, but I’m still the same.”
You have three kids now. Does that make it harder to be away on the road for long spells - or do they go with you? No, the kids stay back at home. We try and keep that familiarity and schedule in place because it’s good for them. It’s hard to find a balance between being at home with my famiy and performing, which is something that I love and which is now a part of my identity, but I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it. You just find a way to figure it out.
Have you been working on any new material this year? I’m making a solo record. It’s coming along slowly but surely. I’ve been working with Ariel Rechtshaid, who did the last Vampire Weekend album, the Haim record, Sky Ferreira. We’re a pretty good team and all being well, the album will be out in early 2015.
And is there a new Killers album in the pipeline? I don’t know, I don’t see one coming too soon…
Do you have ridiculous rider requests? We really don’t. We need to get a bit more creative with that, though we do like this stuff called Muscle Milk that you don’t have in the UK, so that in itself would be an extravagant request over here. It’s a protein drink. I know, we’re wild.
Do you have any elaborate pre-gig rituals? No…we just get out there and do it. Sorry man, I’ve got nothing!
No naked wrestling? Um…
What do you do on days off when you’re in the UK? We always like to make sure there’s time off so that I can go to state parks, where I like to hike and barbeque and do things like that. I climbed Mount Snowden on a day off in Wales, and that was beautiful. The Lake District is on the list, too, but last time we had a chance it was too cold. In the UK you also do Indian food so much better than in the States so we always look forward to that.
Where do you see The Killers in 10 years time? We’ve started to slow down, but I definitely see a few more records. I just want us to keep progressing and growing. As long as everyone is on board, we’ll keep doing it as long as we can…
Do you have a message for the V crowd, ahead of your 5th appearance? I hope you’re not bored of us yet! If you’re coming back, I’m guessing not…