Our Interview with The Killers

“We never make anything happen. We just hope!”, The Killers

One of the first interviews you ever did was with Billboard in 2002. Ronnie, you say, “We’re ready to do whatever it takes to make people love us.” Do you remember feeling like that?
Ronnie Vannucci: Yeah, I still feel like that! Who would join a band and not want everyone to like them? When I think about it now I realise we’re lucky that we get to we get to please ourselves first, but people also like what we do. So far…
Brandon Flowers: I think it’s actually easier to say you don’t care, but we’ve always been pretty brave and honest.

As a band you took it right to the wire with this record (both laugh out loud) – you tested your nerve. Did you always know something great would come out?
R: In some ways, it always happens like that for us. Great things tend to come from pushing yourself to the limit like that. It doesn’t feel great while you’re doing it, but when you get to the top of the hill it’s a wonderful feeling.
B: We never make anything happen. We just hope!

What record first made you want to be a musician?
B: I know that Hunky Dory made me commit to being in a band.

How did it find you?
B: Well, I didn’t graduate from college but I took two classes at Community College and one day I was driving home across this overpass above the 95 freeway and Changes came on the Classic Rock station I was listening to. I’d never heard it before and at first I thought it was Bob Dylan just because of the way he sang the verses. So I hunted it down and found the album. The strange thing is I knew the bands I loved – like Morrissey and Depeche Mode and Duran Duran – were all influenced by him but I’d never sought Bowie out. That was really enlightening for me.
R: It’s a similar story for me. I was in the truck as a little kid and I heard Damn The Torpedoes by Tom Petty and I thought he was Bob Dylan too. I can really remember being in Vegas and it was so hot and the stereo was loud and I was drumming on the side of the truck. Even before that, when I first heard American Girl, I just freaked out. At that moment I couldn’t decide whether to play drums or guitar, but I knew I had to do something. It was a totally pulverising feeling.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
R: We don’t get much advice! We should actually ask more questions ourselves. I’d have liked some advice from Elvis. We all need someone older and wiser around.
B: I had some from Neil Tennant. I was feeling strange performing and knowing people have seen me do certain moves before. Those moves came originally from improvisation, but if they work I tend to keep them. Neil told me not to worry about it and that I should stick with what the people want to see.

Is there a signature Flowers move?
B: I don’t know if I really have one!
R: Oh, there are a few that I see every night. I don’t have any favourites – I don’t try and do them!

Finally, the question on all our minds… What’s your favourite noise?
R: A snare drum. Oh man, I love that noise!
B: I don’t know! If I was from, like, Newcastle I’d have a great answer for you! It would make everyone laugh. But I’m from Henderson, Nevada. Actually, there is one – I just love the sound of quarters hitting the metal plate in a slot machine.

Battle Born: Track By Track
B: We had the song pretty much done then Steve Lillywhite came in to assist. He suggested this new Motown-influenced section.
R: It turned out to be really great…
B: It’s like a weird left turn to Detroit, but it’s awesome! We wouldn’t have done that without him.
R: It’s my favourite bridge in all Killers tracks.
B: I wanted to do a bridge like Metronomy, but it ended nothing like them at all!

R: That was our springboard back into this way back in 2009. Brandon had a chord sequence that we were playing with before a gig. The show was shitty, so we retreated to work straight after and that’s when we got the kernel of Runaways.That was exciting, it got us in line. The direction felt right.

B: We had Daniel Lanois come to town for a few days and we did so much together. I’d had the chorus kicking around for a few years and the band came up with the verse and it all just worked. It was very quick.
R: Dave had this instantly cool guitar line that just fused everything together.
B: It’s a true bridge in that one, too. A real middle 8!

B: Phew! That’s a tender moment in Killers history!
R: That one has two bridges. And people say we’re not adventurous!
B: It’s a big song – it goes over really well live. It’s a real song – it’s legit.

R: You know when archeologists do these digs and uncover artefacts like bowls and sabre tooth tiger teeth and jawbones? A Matter Of Time is us doing that, digging into our history, going back to my garage. We still have that DNA in us and it was cool to find that without looking for it, it gives credit and validity to what we were doing in a hot garage ten years ago and we’re still driven by that.

B: That made it onto the record at the last moment! It comes from a Bob Seger song called Against The Wind – it’s one of the best songs ever written – and the words just came out of me as I sang. It has a very special feel to it.
R: It has a bass solo too. And Rototoms. That’s a first for us!

B: That was done early on and dismissed by one of the producers. There you see we’ve had the positive and negative sides to producers on this record. A producer can be wrong! And this one was very wrong! That song holds its own. We’ve played it live and people who don’t even know it yet love it. I love the imagery, we don’t mind being associated with Las Vegas and the desert. We actually embrace that.

R: When we got back together we had these writing sessions where we’d take a month and work every day. Rising Tide was the first complete song that came from those sessions. We put it on the back burner and forgot about it and then unearthed it again later.
B: It’s such a cool song, it sort of plays itself.

B: Daniel Lanois was really involved with this one, he perfectly caught a moment in time. We sat in a circle eyeballing each other and that song didn’t even exist an hour before that recording was was made.
R: Sometimes lightning strikes…

B: That’s like a new side to us. It’s a breath of fresh air, a short song!
R: That track’s like a nutrition bar and it’s one of our collective favourites. All the dudes in the band love this one.

B: That was written the same time as Here With Me, we wanted to write ballads. I love our shows, but Killers gigs are like an assault for an hour and a half every night and it would be nice to go on more of a journey. We wrote the lyrics with Lanois at his crazy Gothic mansion in Silverlake. He’s like a spiritual gypsy – it’s fun to sink in with him and let it all happen. I love the feel of it.
R: It’s a totally arresting song for me. You put it on and you go somewhere else for a few minutes…

R: Ah, the album closer!
B: We did a song for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie, a track by The Raspberries called Go All The Way. It has these crazy vocal arrangement on the choruses and we would sit and listen to them over and over again trying to work out what the dude was doing. So we took that idea and put it on the end of Battle Born.
R: There’s a lot of singing on there!
B: There is! So much more than we’ve ever done before…

The xx – hear the album and watch exclusive visuals.

For the past three years, The xx has had a firm position on Spotify’s global Top Charts. This week, the band officially releases ‘Coexist’, their heavily anticipated sophomore album, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.

Coexist strips the hushed and intimate sound of their previous album back even further. Their aesthetic has always been about subtlety. In a recent interview with Pitchfork, they explain their approach:

“Throughout pop music, you usually have to make the chorus really big, but we have a way of working where everything has to be played live. That’s why there’s not loads and loads of guitars or doubled vocals. That’s really how we make minimal music—we’re making what we can play on stage. It sets limits, which is good.”

With ‘Coexist’, each song is accompanied by a filmed video sequence – a microscopic view of mixing oil and water, prisms, haze, or smoke. It was important for The xx that their fans to hear the new album while listening to these moving images.

So take a dive in. Click here to hear the album and watch exclusive visuals.

Our interview with Sam Halliday from Two Door Cinema Club

The Strokes made playing guitar look like fun, like something I could do.”, Sam Halliday from Two Door Cinema Club

If you still cling to the idea that being in a rock and roll band is,(somehow), a glamorous profession then let Sam Halliday, founder-member of Northern Irish three-piece Two Door Cinema Club retune your mental ariel. When Spotify calls at 11am on a Friday morning, Sam is sat in his pyjamas on the tour bus outside London’s Shepherds Bush Empire hoping someone will open up soon so he can go inside and have a shower and some breakfast. Happily, the guitarist and singer, who’s just had an overnight drive from Manchester, isn’t in the slightest bit bothered by it all.

“When you get to look out at the crowds jumping up and down every night all the little annoying things don’t seem to matter,” he says. “They all have their own chants too – there are some rowdy people out there!”

Where should someone start with Two Door Cinema Club?
Start at the start. The first record is more immediate – so I’d go straight to Something Good Can Work or What You Know. But we’re even prouder of the new record, so I’d say you should hear a song like Spring as it sounds so totally new, while The World Is Watching is our take on the big ballad.

Does touring so much affect your song writing?
It does in the sense that it makes you much better musicians. That must do something – and seeing so many new bands inspires you too. Basically, when you record a song you have to be super happy with it as you know you’ll be playing it to people for a long time.

What five records couldn’t Two Door Cinema exist without?
Well, there are a few that are really important to us – the ones that we were the only kids at school who liked them. Biffy Clyro are really important to us as that was the first gig we all went to together. Idlewild’s 100 Broken Windows was another. There’s no specific record attached, but The Beatles were a big influence on this new album. I would say Phoenix have to be in there, their Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album is fantastic. We toured with them in the States and they’ve been a huge influence on us. I’d have to say that The Strokes Is This It is a huge one – they were one of the first guitar bands I was ever aware of. When I was 11 or 12 I thought playing guitar meant being in Guns N’ Roses, but The Strokes made playing guitar look like fun, like something I could do.

What do you think your first band, Life Without Rory, would make of Two Door Cinema Club?
I hope they’d like it; but I’m sure they’d be frantically getting in touch via MySpace pestering us to listen to their demo!

Finally, what’s the greatest record ever made?
For me I always go back to Idlewild’s 100 Broken Windows. That came out at a time when I was really getting into playing guitar and they were a band who just made total sense to me. That record still gets me excited in exactly the same way it did when I was a teenager.

Big Green Bus Tour Diary #2

St. Louis, Seattle, Portland – our Spotify On Tour Big Green Bus is making its way across the US!

The Bus, proudly sponsored by BACARDÍ, headed Midwest for St. Louis’ LouFest Music Festival where we met up with artists Phantogram, The Flaming Lips, Wild Nothing, Cotton Mather and more.

Racking up more miles on the odometer and tons of roadhouse diners, the Pacific Northwest was next. First stopping in Seattle, the Bus parked outside of the city’s famous Gas Works Park for a Spotify Session with Washington natives, Minus the Bear, before making our way to Salt Lake City to visit fans at the Twilight Concert Series.

The I-5 beckoned and we hit Portland for a pre-festival party at digital agency, The Brigade, before hitting up showcase music festival Musicfest NW and some local landmarks to say hi to friends and artists MUTEMATH, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and Radiation City.

What a fun few weeks – watch our Tour Diary here to catch up on all the action from the road!

Follow the Tour and find out where the Big Green Bus is headed next:

Watch Green Day’s Nuclear Family

“Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round
Like a ferris wheel, like it’s breakin’ down
Scream, scream, screaming bloody murder! Oh yeah.
Like a nuclear bomb and it wont be long ’til I detonate.”

This week Green Day released Nuclear Family, another track off of their upcoming studio release ¡Uno! (hitting stores September 25). Get a tasty dose of power pop garage rock right here with this video on Spotify and Yahoo Music!

App of the Day: Blue Note

We’re totally addicted to the Blue Note Spotify app! A record label virtually synonymous with jazz music, Blue Note Records have developed this engaging app to give you an interactive curated experience – guiding you through the vast amount of jazz music on Spotify.

Jazzed Up
The Blue Note app enables you to explore and discover music spanning the entire history of the label from 1939 to present. Trace the label’s evolution with an interactive timeline or dive deeper into a specific style by filtering by artist, style, instrument and more.

Offering something for everyone, Blue Note helps you to uncover your new favourite artist in “Blue Note 101” by filtering through the label’s different styles of music: Tradition, Groove and Voices. In “Blue Break Beats”, the app will take you on a tour of music that contains samples from the Blue Note catalog, placing the original versions alongside the sampled versions by artists such as Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, Common, Madonna, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Usher, and Wu-Tang Clan.

Whether you’re a jazz novice or aficionado, the Blue Note app is the perfect place for jazz discovery. To take a look at the brilliant Blue Note Records app, come this way.

Listen to Bob Dylan’s Tempest

There are very few artists alive today who are considered to be influential across all generations. Bob Dylan is one such artist, and his storytelling has only gotten better through the years. Dylan’s four previous studio albums have been universally hailed as among the best of his storied career, achieving new levels of commercial success and critical acclaim for Dylan.

Today brings the release of Bob Dylan’s newest album, Tempest, and coincides with the 50th Anniversary of his eponymous debut album, which was released by Columbia in 1962. Listen to the record the New York times claims as the “zone where blues, country and folk intersect” right here on Spotify.

App of the Week: Tunigo

Tunigo is the perfect place to discuss, find, and listen to music with other music lovers around the world. With their Spotify App it is now easier to find new music and playlists in Spotify!

The Tunigo Spotify App allows you to:

– Enjoy customized playlists for all occasions from Tunigo’s music editorial team
– Discover new music and playlists created by thousands of other music lovers
– Read music news and immediately begin to listen to the music you are reading about
– Keep track of new albums and artists

To open the Tunigo App in your desktop, click here!

Fuel for Fashionistas

Image Credit: Xavi MenósFashion Week is winding down and for all weary fashionistas we’ve got some fuel to keep you pumped throughout the final days. Project Runway judge, Marie Claire magazine Fashion Director and all around fashion expert Nina Garcia created this awesome Fashion week playlist to get you through the remaining days of show mayhem. Listen and drink lots of caffeine!

TODAY Rocks out with Spotify

All week long, NBC’s TODAY hosts are letting the good tunes roll. The morning show just launched on Spotify and is offering its viewers and all music fans playlists curated by hosts Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Matt Lauer.

Tune in here for the show’s first playlist featuring selections from Savannah and be sure to check back throughout this week as Matt, Al and Natalie reveal their favorite tunes.

Savannah Guthrie’s Go-To Mix: