NME Magazine April 2,2008
NME: Hi Brandon. We thought you wouldn’t do anything this year except record an album. How come you’re headlining the Reading and Leeds Festivals? BF: We thought it would be a good opportunity to come over and play some of our new songs. We haven’t played the new songs off “Sawdust” either. We always love coming to England.
You didn’t fancy a year off then? We’re just excited to be in The Killers. I don’t know if there’s a spot for us, but there seems to be a place that we slide into. I don’t like to go away for that long. People say we need to go away, but I don’t see the reason for it. We’re about to reach our peak now – I don’t think we’ve reached it yet. I feel like I’m learning more about becoming a better singer, I’m becoming a better songwriter and we’re getting better at all the things we do, so it’s exciting for me.
Its good for the fans too, no long Stone Roses-esque gaps… It’s important, I think. Plus, It’s our job! It’s not pressure, but it’s a duty.
Last time you went into the studio you came out too headline a festival you went from a clean-shaven boy into a hairy moustachioed man – what’s going to happen this time? I don’t know! It would be boring if I was always the same. I don’t do it for the music or the people or the press, it’s part of life changing. I get bored of certain things and I move on. There are two ways to look at it; you either represent where you’re from, everything about your surroundings, or in my case I feel it’s more where the music is taking me. I can’t help it – I love so many different types of music I don’t want to be tied down.
So what are you wearing at the moment? I’m actually naked! I took a shower because I thought you’d forgotten about me.
Reading and Leeds have a reputation for turning US headliners into legends inn Britain. Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Green Day all played iconic sets at the Festival. Will it strike again? I wasn’t really aware of the after-effects but it would be great to continue that tradition. To be an American band and to be received the way we are is sometimes just unbelievable, especially the way America is perceived at the moment. We’re just really greatful and we’ll keep the ball rolling.
The killers always seemed like Britain’s own American band… That’s a good way to put it. We’re absolutely influences by your music. I don’t know what it is, you’re like connoisseurs of pop music and rock music, so we’re happy to be over there.
You’re ending our summer – it’s a bank holiday weekend – so we’re trusting you. (Laughs) Now you’re putting some pressure on us. We’ll get lots of practice.
Obviously at Glastonbury the sound was poor – what are The Killers doing to make sure it never happens again? That was awful, it really was. There’s nothing we could do about it, but i think we’ll be alright this time. Because that happened, I’m sure they’re going to be more cautious at all festivals to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Our sound engineer is actually a really loud sound engineer, so I’m sure it was more frustrating for him. He’s from Birmingham and he plays us pretty loud.
What do you make of your co-headliners Metallica and Rage Against The Machine? I really want to see Metallica. It’s all US bands headlining this year, which is a pretty bold statement. Are we making up for The Beatles invasion? Yep we’re coming (laughs)! We’ve headlined festivals before, but there’s a pressure to keep that up and we’re aware of that. We’re not Metallica yet; they’ve got a few years on us, but it’s great to be headlining a festival that they are headlining. We know we’re still babies.
Will you get a better rider now you’re among the big boys? Do you get more because you’re headliners? Nothing different. Well, we can get whatever we want but we don’t change it. There won’t be a special requests, not even Wellington boots if it rains as we’ve already got those. We do switch drinks between gigs though, so we don’t have the same drink two days running. You’ve got to keep all bases covered.
Any thoughts on the set? People expect a certain show when it’s us in certain circumstances. This isn’t an intimate gig where we’re just going to play the deep cuts and things that aren’t on albums. We do want to play the new songs but they’ll be a set amount of time, so we want to make it as colourful as we can. I never understood the cool factor you get for not making people happy. We get to make the songs we want to make, but when you’re on stage you’re a performer, and it feels natural to want to please.
So you’ll be playing new songs? We go into the studio in June and we’re planning on having the album done by then, so we’ll definitely want to play some new songs when we get over. We’re really excited about that. That will be the moment of truth.
Do you have songs in mind already both for the gig and the album? Oh yeah, we’ve got a lot of songs, we just haven’t laid them down yet.
Who’s producing the new album? It’s Stuart Price. We learned a lot from him without even meeting him because of what he did to Mr Brightside (his thin white duke mix features on Sawdust). He’s very musical. People talk about using the recording gear as an instrument and making it sing and he’s really able-bodies when it comes to that. He’s able to give us soundswe want and give us sounds we’ve never hear. Its really inspiring.
With his background as a DJ and working for the like of Madonna should we put on our dancing shoes at the festivals? (Laughs) Er…. I don’t know. We’ll try a couple of songs and see if we can get people movng their feet. Hopefully it won’t be muddy!
Have you any other special plans? You need to follw Franz Ferdinand’s drummers and Muse’s flamthrower of previous years…. Muse really had a flamethrower? A man threw a flame? Oh right, it was a pyro. I don’t know. We haven’t though about anything too much yet…
You could ask Loud Reed to come and sing “Tranquilize” with you… (Laughs) Yeah! If he’s over that would be great. Mike Tyson? Yeah, we could have a whole freak show. Lou, Mike, even a real flamethrower! It’s all up in the air still. If we do something, it’ll hopefully be something that nobody’s done before.
Gallows had a tattoo done live onstage last year, you could get Mike Tyson to do that for you On my face! While he was singing he had a tattoo done? Alright, I need to up the ante. How do you beat a live tattoo? I don’t know, Play “When you Were Young”?
Songs like that really seem to work with festival crowds – why do you think that is? We have big songs, it’s what we do. We love the festivals. Hearing people singing your songs back to you is what it’s all about! It makes ma want to keep doing what I’m doing
As you’re one of the few people in the world who gets to hear all those people singing back, settle a bet; do big crowds sing in tune? I think they do! It does vary, but once you get them all together it works. There are so many people that you just end up with one big key that everybody’s in.
Do you get nervous hearing everyone singing your words back? This is the kind of gig that still gives me the butterflies in the stomach. They’re more like pigeons, actually, but there’s nothing I can do, no rituals. You just have to get into your zone. It can be scary as hell, but it’s really just getting past the first song for me. Plus, it will be almost a year since we’ve played in the UK, so coming back is going to be really exciting for us. We’re just gearing up and getting ready to rise the lightning again!
You played Reading and Leeds in 2005 – what are your memories? Did you get to look around, or were you helicoptered in and out? (laughs) We don’t really go in helicopters. We went in on the bus! We always walk around at festivals because they’re so very new to us. We don’t have them here in America like that, let alone in Las Vegas! It’s fun for us, we’re like kids. It’s another world.