Interview: Brandon Flowers Talks The Killers’ ‘Direct Hits’, M83 Collaboration, Underappreciated Singles
Las Vegas arena-rock favorites the Killers has been a band for more than a decade already, with the ten year anniversary of their legendary debut, Hot Fuss, rapidly approaching next summer (June 7, 2014, to be exact).
With the band ready to hop a plane for their first-ever performance in Singapore later that day, the dynamic frontman, Brandon Flowers, sat down for an interview with Radio.com to talk about the Killers’ upcoming greatest hits collection, Direct Hits, due for release on November 11.
Mixed among smash singles like “Mr. Brightside” and “When We Were Young,” the Killers recorded a pair of new songs, “Just Another Girl” with longtime producer Stuart Price (who Flowers called “my brother”) as well as the band’s first collaboration with Anthony Gonzalez, better known as the man behind synth-rock sensation M83, on the track “Shot at the Night.”
“We love Anthony. It was nice getting to know him when we played with him on our (2008 full-length) Day & Age tour,” Flowers remarked about the M83 frontman. “He’s one of the best ping-pong players that I’ve encountered in my life. I guess in France they teach these things. He also loves a lot of the same music that we do, and so it was great to finally come together and do it,” adding that they started work on a second song together, although where it will eventually end up is anybody’s guess at this point.
Flowers was thoughtful when inquired about the process of picking tracks to include on Direct Hits, including one that didn’t quite make the cut.
“Most of the songs are singles. There’s a song called ‘The Way it Was’ that was never a single that maybe should’ve been a single,” Flowers pondered on the tracklist. “I wonder if ‘This River is Wild’ should be on there…you’re never going to be completely happy.”
Asked which of the band’s singles he wishes had been a bigger hit, Flowers was fast to identify “Runaways,” the first single from the Killers’ 2012 album, Battle Born. It peaked at No. 78 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it did get as high as No. 7 on the Alternative Songs chart.
“When we play it, it’s just huge,” Flowers added. “But it’s fine. You don’t have to have a smash single for a song to touch people.”
Another Flowers favorite not found on Direct Hits is “A Dustland Fairytale,” the third single from the aforementioned Day & Age album that’s especially close to the singer’s heart.
“I think ‘Dustland’ is one of my favorites for sure. Lyrically, maybe I’m proud of it. You set out to capture something, and that’s difficult to do sometimes. As I get older, I’ve realized that I want to capture where I’m from and my surroundings. I feel like that’s the closest that I’ve gotten. So hopefully I (can) beat it.”
Regarding what’s next for the Killers, Flowers mused that the band’s past could very well be a key to its future.
“I feel like this puts a long of things in perspective,” he said of Direct Hits‘ place in the Killers canon.”When I look at it, I’m really proud of it, but I’m also really excited about evolving and growing. I look at the songs that maybe are my favorites on it, and maybe I’m wondering if I need to conjure up those spirits, if they’re still in there.”