Brandon Flowers shares how The Killers new album came together remotely

They perform new single 'Caution' during the first episode of 'etalk Open House.'
May 28, 2020 7:12 p.m. EST
June 3, 2020 3:03 p.m. EST
Brandon Flowers may be a rock star, but he's also doing his part to adhere to quarantine practices. The lead singer of The Killers is currently sheltering in place with his family at his new Park City, Utah abode while putting the finishing touches on the band's upcoming Imploding the Mirage album and coordinating what live performances he can, remotely. Like the TV debut of The Killers' latest single, "Caution."The Killers are headlining the premiere episode of the new etalk Open House concert series, which features performances and exclusive interviews from your favourite  musicians every Thursday night as part of etalk's regular Thursday broadcast. Brandon shared that the Killers performance is pretty much as close to live music as things can get right now—literal music to the ears of any Killers fan!Ahead of the band's premiere performance, Flowers sat down with etalk's Lainey Lui (remotely, of course) to talk about the feel of the new album, the evolution of the band since the release of the hit 2004 single "Mr. Brightside" and what music he's currently making his three kids listen to. Read below for the full interview.[video_embed id='1967598']The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers tells us about leaving Las Vegas[/video_embed]Lainey: How are you doing?Brandon: I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. I’m doing alright. Recently, me and my family moved to Utah and I’m really lucky that we have places to go outside and my heart goes out to people that are stuck in cities and tight spots.We’re all learning how to do everything from home now. With respect to your work—when you’re putting the final touches on an album—what’s it been like for you to make these adjustments and get some of your best stuff out there? We worked a long time on this album and it doesn’t look like a tour is going to happen anytime soon but the record exists and we’re proud of it. We’re putting the finishing touches on it now but we’re doing it sort of remotely. Usually I would be in the room with the mixer and be hands-on and now I’m doing it from comments from my phone but we’re getting it across the finish line and I’m excited for people to hear it.I saw the progress report/to-do list you posted on social media. It’s great that you’re sharing this with your fans and peeling back the curtain on the labour that goes into something like that. Was that the intention?Yeah and to maybe give some of these mixers a little kick in the pants [laughs]. It’s a little bit of both. We’re just coming around to be a little bit more involved in social media. Our band launched in 2003 before that stuff was really happening so we still have a foot in the past but we’re trying to get into the future.Well, the present right now is your new single, “Caution.” What does this song mean to you? How do you know when a song is ready to be a Killers song?I think “Caution” is about having the wherewithal to listen to that angel on your shoulder is how I look at it—even if that angel is telling you something you don’t necessarily want to hear. For me that was that I needed to get out of Las Vegas and take my family somewhere else. It was a hard decision for me to make but it’s paying off now and I’m thankful that I listened.  How do we know when a song is a Killers song or when it’s finished? There’s a certain spirit of dust, special fairy dust, that I think exists in Killers songs. And we kind of know when it’s going to be at home on a Killers album. “Caution” feels very much like a Killers song.Your description of the song leads me to the title of the album: Imploding the Mirage. When I think of you and the word “mirage,” I obviously think of Vegas and The Mirage—is there a connection there to departing and starting again?Yeah. We grew up with landmarks and pillars of our life being imploded and places where our grandparents worked at—our uncles and our cousins—they reduced them to rubble and then they put something bigger and shinier on top of it. That does something to you, I think—to your psyche and maybe to your outlook on life and I know it has something to do with the way that our band runs. So I wanted to find a way to incorporate that into the album title. And it was perfect. The Mirage was perfect—it’s still standing; it’s still there but I like the double meaning that is behind it.Can you talk about having these legends—Canadian k.d. lang, Lindsey Buckingham—on the album and what that has meant to you? I’ve always loved k.d. lang’s voice and we have this song called “Lightening Fields” and the cover of our record has a celestial man and woman on it and we wanted to really incorporate a female component onto the record. So we have k.d. and we have Natalie from Weyes Blood and we have Lucius—so we have a lot of that's happening. And just having Lindsey Buckingham coming into the studio was just a joy. When I think of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles—they just captured the Southwest so well and there’s just something about it. He’s just an American icon and having him come in the studio and play—he just plays tumbleweeds and saguaro cactuses and it’s amazing.When you look back at the summer of 2004 when The Killers’ first album Hot Fuss and the single “Mr. Brightside” came out, do you remember who you were and what you were thinking in that moment?Everything was so brand new. We got passports for the first time and we got cell phones and we were going to new countries and doing interviews. I remember just being really not prepared to do interviews—it’s not what you’re thinking about when you’re in a garage writing songs. But it was still just so exciting! Every day there was a new statistic or somebody that we loved was asking us to open for them and it was just a thrill. I still get a lot of thrills from it all but that was a wild time.The Killers have always been a really active band on tour—really connecting with your fans and taking the music live on the road. Since that’s not an option right now, what are your thoughts on the music industry in general and performing live again?It makes you realize how much we take freedoms that we have for granted and the things that we get to do just for granted and those special communal experiences. I say some of the best moments of my life before I was in a band happened at a concert. And now I have a lot of moments when I’m on the stage that have been special moments in my life. So I’m feeling really nostalgic for it even though it hasn’t been taken away for that long. But it’s making me realize how precious it is.Your song “The Man” (2017) came out at a time when the public conversation was a meditation on masculinity and you were singing about regret and a past definition of masculinity. Do you ever feel like you’re too vulnerable when you’re writing lyrics? You have to be able to remove yourself from it enough that people can place their own experiences into it. And I feel like I’ve walked that line the best that I could. Maybe sometimes I cross too far into the sentimental zones but that’s just a part of who I am. I’m definitely cognizant and aware of it and I’m a little more heart-on-your-sleeve than your average rocker.Another song called “The Man” by Taylor Swift, came out recently and it’s almost a companion piece to your song. Were you surprised? I don’t know if she was aware of our “Man” but her “Man” is kind of treading in similar waters. So we kind of had a similar idea.What have you been listening to during lockdown?I’ve been going back to people that are tried and true. I’m always on the lookout for somebody new but . . .  it’s funny—I’m in basically the same region where I grew up and fell in love with music. So I’m gravitating towards that music that I fell in love with and I have a son that’s 12 now so he’s around that age that I was when I fell in love with it and I’m showing him that music from people like The Cars and Howard Jones and New Order and stuff like that. But then on my own free time I’ve been getting more into John Prine and Bob Dylan and things like that.Do your kids recommend to you as much as you recommend to them?No, they don’t. They’re not really seeking anything out or being sucked into anything in particular so hopefully I’m just going to shape and mold them into the people that I want them to be [laughs].The Killers are the first artists to kick off our etalk Open House series. For you, what has it been like to work on these kinds of at-home performances? It has been fun. Our first performance of “Caution” was done in my bathroom with me and Ron [Vannucci Jr.]—our drummer is on guitar and we just did it in the bathroom. It’s forced us to get creative and get into the songs in a different way. The version that we’re going to do for you is a little bit more of a live version and we actually got Ronnie on drums where he belongs. We’re really excited about it.[video_embed id='1964046']The Killers will kick off 'etalk Open House' with exclusive performance [/video_embed]

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