Off the back of having released a wonderful debut solo album, Another Life, and with a new Killers record set for release on September 17th, bass player/singer, Mark Stoermer took some time out to reflect before the inevitable whirlwind hits!
GL:From the reaction thus far to Runaways, taken from forthcoming album Battle Born, the consensus appears that you are returning to a sound of old. More grounded, less electronically driven, would you agree?
MS: I am not sure that I can agree 100% with that. A lot has been made about how this album is a return to “Rock” for the band. While it may be true that the guitars are more upfront in general than the previous album, I wouldn’t say that this is strictly a rock record. As far as the sound of old, I think going back to our first record there has always been a blend of rock, pop, and electronic.This album continues down that path.
GL: Do you think Las Vegas as a city, the landscape, culture, space and so on, still shapes the music you make?
I think it is hard to not be affected by the place you come from for better or worse. I think the neon-fantasy playground that Las Vegas is has played a part in many of the songs we have made and probably has had an influence on the live shows as well. However, Vegas is also a real working class town. I believe that is in the music as well.
GL: As a band, you guys have played some momentous shows, from heaving festivals to more intimate club nights.Could you say which of the shows you’ve played in the last decade have left the largest impression on you? Do you feel more connected when playing to smaller audiences?
MS: One of the gigs that really sticks in mind is our first Glastonbury performance in 2004. Our first album was only out a week or so but we had been touring the UK for eight months on two singles. Up until then it was all small clubs of no larger than a few hundred people. Not knowing what to expect and only having a vague idea of what Glastonbury or the entire UK festival scene was even about, we walked on stage and were completely blown away by the size of the audience. There had to be 15 to 20 thousand people crammed into the tent we were playing in around 5 pm. To top it all off, the audience seemed to know every song. It was at this moment that I knew something was changing for us and changing fast.
As far as large or small audiences, I guess it all depends on the night. I think sometimes we have actually made real connections with audiences of over fifty thousand people. I also can think of times where we have completely flopped in front of a hundred or less people. Both types of shows require the band and audience to be in the same head space for it to be a great show. I don’t think the size of show can really determine whether or no that connection is made.
GL: Recently you released your solo record, Another Life, a beautiful road trip of an album. It must have felt good to express a more seldom, personal side of yourself. Have you thought about making a second album as yet?
MS: First off, thank you. That record was a complete experiment for me. Until I made it, I never really sang or wrote a lyric before.I am still not sure what I think about it all, but I am glad I did it. It was a good challenge for me. I really wanted to try to play the record live, but by the time I finished and put it out , The Killers were already working on an album. Then there was little time for that. I do think about doing another album. Not sure if it would be solo singer-songwriter album again though. Maybe I’ll start a band or something to mix it up. Who knows? It all depends on if and when I have the time do something like that and where inspiration chooses to take me.
GL: And finally, I know that other streams of culture, i.e. film, art, literature play a large part in your creative fulfilment. Which pieces of work in particular would you say have had the most profound impact on you as a musician?
That’s a tough one. I would say film and literature inspire the most after music. As far as films, I tend to gravitate towards certain directors. Some of my personal favorite at the moment are Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fellini, David Lynch, and Werner Herzog to name a few.
Hermann Hesse and J.D Salinger are two of my favorite authors. Steppenwolf and Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters are two important works for me.
Outside of the world of art, thinkers like Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung have influenced me tremendously.
Weary Soul taken from album, Another Life, available Here:
Battle Born available September 17