Interview: The Killers

Interview: Neil Howie
Friday 21 January 2005
reading time: min, words

"We are a whole different thing live than on record. We bring a load of energy and try to make every performance something special"

2004 was an amazing year for The Killers. From meeting heroes like Bono and David Bowie to playing massive shows across America and Europe, they are fast turning into serious hero contenders.a

Their debut album 'Hot Fuss' recently went Platinum over here in England, while in America, where they've just completed a special tour with Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Snow Patrol and Modest Mouse, the record is edging ever closer to that magic million mark. As if that weren't exciting enough, they've also been nominated for three Grammy Awards, so what better way to start another brilliant year than with The NME Awards Tour? It finds the band joined by The Futureheads, Bloc Party and The Kaiser Chiefs for a gig at Rock city on Monday. 2005 then, even more exciting than 2004!

How does it feel to be part of this tour?
"It feels really great. It's so cool that we're on this tour and the fact we're the headlining band makes it even cooler. We're really looking forward to it and we're going to make it a show to remember!."

What should people  expect from a Killers performance?
"I think we are a whole different thing live than on record. We bring a whole load of energy and we definitely try to make every performance something special. We're getting better and better right now, we've had a year of touring and it gets really exciting playing these shows. We're more raw, more brutal on stage. When we connect with the audience and they connect with us amazing things happen."

How have you developed or changed as a band over the last twelve months?
"In the live shows as much as anything. Through all the touring we've done we've learnt how to make a live show that really works. At first we were a little nervous and had to concentrate on what we were playing - now those songs are second nature and that means we can concentrate on making a great show. We've been thrown in front of huge crowds a few times now and it's always worked out so we're more able to relax on stage and that's made us a better live band. We've seen the ups and downs of this whole rock and roll thing too. The ups are really great, being able to do this as a career is fantastic, doing what one in a million want, what everyone who plays their guitar in a garage dream of. Being able to play your own music for people and meeting your heroes, we've met Bono, Elton John and David Bowie, is just awesome."
"That's surreal, two years ago these people were only in our fantasies! Now they actually know who we are and appreciate our music. But the downs can be bad - up until a couple of months ago we were still in a van. You hardly ever sleep, you hardly ever go home, in some way it's a mad way to live- most nights I sleep in a little coffin bunk on the floor of the bus - but it really is all worth it. I'm not complaining, you understand!"

What are the other bands on the tour like?
"They're great, I'm really looking forward to seeing Bloc Party and I really like that Futureheads record. It's gonna be great."

Will there be lots of rock and roll action on this tour?
"Not from us! Off stage we're one of the least rock and roll bands you could ever meet! We're right down to business, it's a bit of a cliché, but we really are about the music. It's such a hard thing to do and it's so much work that you need to rest or you'll get burnt out really fast."

Franz Ferdinand were in a similar position to you last year and they've gone on to be hugely successful, does that put the pressure on you?
"Sort of. But in America we're pretty equal. They've been selling a lot of records in the States, but we're catching up. We're doing really well in the UK, so, independent of their success, we always thought we'd be successful anyway. But it's great to see bands even close to what we're doing being successful. It's a positive sign."

What do you want people to take away with them from a Killer's show?
"We want them to come out of a show knowing they felt something and they were moved by the songs. We want them to feel good and to know they got something different than just what they would hear on the record. I guess it's a connection, a musical and personal one. But most of all, we want them to have a good night!"

You'll be stuck on a tourbus for almost a month, what will be the most difficult part?
"Sleeping on the floor, the bus jerking around, nine other guys around you at all times, the lack of privacy, everytime you look up seeing someone's ass sticking out of a bunk, so many things. But you get used to it."

You're going to thirteen cities on the tour, do you have particular favourites?
"I love London, of course! But that's easy. Nottingham is fantastic too, every time we go there it's amazing. All the audiences in Scotland are insane, Glasgow in particular, but we've not had a bad show in England yet, so we're really looking forward to this tour."

Do you have a secret, pre-gig ritual?
"Kind of a little one. We have a huddle and sometimes we'll talk about things that might have gone wrong the night before. We talk about what to do, what not to do, how important the show is. Other than that we just hang out and do our thing!"

The Killers play at Rock City as part of the NME Awards Tour.

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