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Music Interview

The Killers' Ronnie Vannucci interview: 'I'd much rather bump into Rihanna at Whole Foods'

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The Killers


Since 2004's Hot Fuss, The Killers have entertained the world with their radio and festival-friendly anthems to become an international success.

Digital Spy caught up with drummer Ronnie Vannucci to chat about the band's fourth studio album Battle Born, whether they would consider a Rihanna hook-up and why they'd never team up with a DJ.

Congratulations on the new album Battle Born, do you ever get nervous before big releases?
"Of course, it's a big time for us. When the record's out of our hands you've just got to see what happens."

It's preceded by new single 'Runaways' - why did you decide to make it the lead track?
"It was the song that felt more like the right one to start with. I don't think we were trying to say anything other than, 'We heard you missed us and now we're back'."

The album has a classic Killers sound, but did any other artists influence the record in any way?
"Yeah, I think we've always been shameless about who we like and who's on our radar at the moment. The influences don't really show themselves until after the bones of the songs are built. When it comes to texturing the songs, that's when I think the influences come out."

Did any of the songs change dramatically during that process?
"Yeah, we did a couple of versions of our song 'Be Still'. We did one version that was electronic and had this drum machine - it's the one we ended up using on the record. It had very little guitar, but we used these old vintage synthesisers and it had this vibe to it. Then the other version was a very organic feeling - it was the band in the room and it was also beautiful. But for the record we stuck with the more modern, futuristic sounding one."

There's an impressive lineup of producers on the record, but was there anyone you couldn't get hold of who you'd like to work with in the future?
"We basically got hold of everyone. The reason we had so many producers is because it was this massive scheduling nightmare! We had to wait until the very last minute to see if these guys could do it - obviously they're booked well in advance - so we only got them for a limited time."

The Killers 'Battleborn'


It's been four years since the last record and dance music has dominated the charts since; were you ever worried about coming back with a rock sound?
"I think we've been pretty good at going against the grain a little bit. It's not really a conscious decision, but we have got our own kind of temperament. We gauge what we do and we've been really lucky so far - luck has a lot to do with it - so hopefully the star will align again."

Did you ever toy with the idea of working with a DJ?
"Working with a DJ? No. You're talking to a guy who's been playing in garages since he was 7 years old."

Did any of your respective solo projects filter through into the making of Battle Born?
"Yeah, lots of ideas. At least with my stuff; a lot of it was new, but I remember when I started working on it I was working with old Killers cutting room floor stuff. But a couple ideas here and there [made it onto Battle Born]."

Coldplay recently teamed up with Rihanna for 'Princess Of China', but would you ever consider collaborating with a major female solo artist?
"I don't know. I won't say no, but it hasn't been on my radar really."

Are there any major stars you would like to work with?
"Yeah, tons of people - we all have our heroes. Things like that have to come naturally. It would leave a bad taste in my mouth if our manager calls their manager and arranges some type of weird red carpet-yet-off-the-red carpet meeting to try and sell a s**t load of records. I think whoever it is who we want to work with - from any genre - it has to be a natural meeting.

"I'd much rather bump into Rihanna at Whole Foods produce isle and say, 'Hey, why don't you come around and we'll gather around a guitar, write a song and see what happens?' Rather than, 'Hey, let's Skype and meet at a studio in New York City and try and make a million bucks'. There's something very off-putting about that whole thing for me."

The Killers
The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil Fifth Anniversary Celebration at The Mirage
Las Vegas, Nevada

© WENN



Streaming music seems to be on the rise, while album sales continue to fall. Do you think alternative access to music should contribute to the mainstream chart?
"Absolutely, the landscape is changing for music - for better or worse - but needs to constantly keep evolving. But also as we get into the future with all these different ways of getting music, we have to have something that keeps track of who's doing what."

What have you been listening to this year?
"I'm really excited to sit down and listen to Tempest, the new Bob Dylan record. I'm not really that excited about much that's out. There's a couple bands that caught my attention and made me check who's on the radio, but nothing has stood out as being the next big thing for me."

You have an arena tour coming up - what can fans expect from the shows?
"It's hard not to sound like a used car salesman here! I think the most important thing is to realise that we want to make the people who pay for these tickets happy and have good sound and good visuals. The drums should be really loud! I just want to make sure they get their money's worth."

The album is out now, but what are your plans for the rest of year?
"More touring and getting out to promote the record. It's nice to have such a big catalogue now. I remember when we'd get on stage and blow down eight songs, but now we have 70 songs. It's crazy."

The Killers' fourth studio album Battle Born is available to buy now.

Watch the music video for The Killers' latest single 'Runaways' below:

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