The Killers have made a huge splash in the UK and are at this moment are starting to burn up the US radio charts with their single "Somebody Told Me". Their new album "Hot Fuss" hits North American stores on June 15th. This interview was originally supposed to be part of our Inside Track series, where the band walks the reader through each track on the album and gives us the inside story of each song, but some signals got crossed and that portion of the interview wasn't completed. However, we still had a plenty to talk to Mark Stoermer from The Killers about and Brandon Flowers wraps things up. So with that out of the way, antiMUSIC is very pleased to present you with a Q&A with The Killers.
antiMUSIC: The first obvious question is where did your name come from?:
Mark Stoermer: We were watching this video "Crystal" by New Order and the video had this band who looked all hot in it, pretending to be New Order but they were known as The Killers. We saw that name on the drummer's kick drum head and lifted it.
antiMUSIC: How did the band form?
Mark: Dave placed an ad in the local Vegas Weekly looking for a singer who was into Oasis and Bowie. Brandon responded and he and Dave hooked up. One of the 1st tunes they wrote was "Mr. Brightside", which is proving to be a hit song in the UK at the moment. Then myself and Ronnie met the guys at shows when Dave and Brandon had a different rhythm section. We were asked to try out for the band and the rest is history...
antiMUSIC: You guys are from Las Vegas, what's the music scene like there?
Mark: It's really tough on young bands. Most venues want to book nationally known acts and the smaller clubs can't compete with the clubs doing business on the strip, so local bands have a hard time finding a place to play. We resorted to building a following in a drag club. That place was good fun until they had to shut it down.
antiMUSIC: Since everyone one and their brother thinks you have to move to L.A. or New York to get a record deal, how did you guys land your deal with Island?
Mark: After we built up a buzz in the UK, a lot of major labels in the US and UK started sniffing around. When we played CMJ in NYC in October of 2003, offers started coming in and we ended up signing with Island Def Jam.
antiMUSIC: Listening to your album, there really seems to be a lot of 80's synth-pop-rock influence. Who are your biggest influences?
Mark: We listen to Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Boys, early Bowie, The Beatles, Blur, and Pulp, and The Smiths.
antiMUSIC: And how would you describe your music to someone that hasn't heard it?
Mark: If Vegas were cool...
antiMUSIC: Out here in L.A., you guys have generate quite the buzz on our trend setting radio station KROQ, becoming the third most requested band on the station. And there is a definite buzz for your guys in the UK. Has the single caught on that strong everywhere yet?
Mark: I'm told that 55 stations are playing nationwide at press time. The West Coast was the 1st area of the US to really get behind "Somebody Told Me".
antiMUSIC: You guys did a tour of the UK earlier this year. How did it go?
Mark: We could see more and more fans showing up knowing the words to our songs and that makes really worthwhile. It was great touring with Stellastar.
antiMUSIC: And what are you most looking forward to when you go back there? (note for readers: at the time of this interview the band was getting ready to go back to the UK for a tour in late May/early June.)
Mark: We are looking forward to our 1st headlining tour and playing for crowds that are coming out just to see us. I'm hearing the tour is all SOLD OUT, which is really amazing!
antiMUSIC: Speaking of live buzz. You guys really turned some heads when you were direct support for two of Morrissey's L.A. shows. We've heard about the audience response, but how did the shows go for you guys? What was the highlight?
Mark: The shows were amazing and it was quite nerve-racking watching one of our pop idols checking out our soundchecks too. The crowd's were huge and that venue was incredible.
antiMUSIC: Tell us three things should everyone know about The Killers?
antiMUSIC: What are your favorite tracks from the CD?
Mark: "Jenny Was A Friend of Mine", "Smile Like You Mean It", and "Everything Will Be Alright".
antiMUSIC: Apart from the UK tour, any big touring plans in the works?
Mark: We're going to be touring the West Coast in June, back to the UK to play the major festivals. Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen in Ireland are all on our schedule with a short European run, and back to the US. It's looking like we'll be on the road non-stop through 2004 into 2005.
antiMUSIC: Final question. What do you hope people take away from your music?
Brandon Flowers: We hope that people get excited about a real band again.