The Killers at Mad Cool 2022: “Our new song ‘Boy’ is in the gutter, looking at the stars”

Watch our quick catch-up with Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. in Madrid, where they tell us about returning to the road, new music and their love for Foals

They may be over 5,000 miles away in Madrid, but The Killers feel right at home at Mad Cool 2022. “It’s hot today – it feels like Las Vegas to me,” says drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

Frontman Brandon Flowers also feels more at ease in these desert-like conditions than, say, Middlesbrough, where they were playing live just a few short weeks ago. “We played the first 15 or so shows of our tour in the UK and Ireland,” Flowers tells NME. “We were going out on stage and it would be like 55 degrees [12°C] or something like that. I thrive in a warm environment on stage. I want to be hot, I want to sweat and I want to feel like I’m working, so I’m looking forward to that.”

And work it, he did. But before The Killers’ stellar, hit-packed, all-time-great indie disco bonanza of a headline set – featuring the debut of the brand new song ‘Boy’ – we were granted a brief audience with Las Vegas’ finest to talk about returning to the road, tonight’s new track, work on their next album, and Brandon’s love of Foals.

NME: Hello, The Killers! It feels like we’ve been waiting a lifetime for this tour. How does it feel to be back on the road?


Ronnie: “Pretty good, it’s nice to be working again. It’s nice to see everyone else working. There’s this heat coming off of everybody.”

Does it feel like the audience are more hungry for you?

Brandon: “We’re spoiled, though: we have great crowds. People have been cooped up a little bit and this is an outlet for them. We’ve missed that communal experience and that outlet ourselves, it’s part of our identity. I say it so much because it’s sort of a surprise to me. When we started, it was about the songs, of course, then you realise that there’s this whole other artform. We’ve taken advantage of that, and it’s also just been really wonderful for us.”

The Killers' Brandon Flowers at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Rob Loud
The Killers’ Brandon Flowers at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Rob Loud

Well we basically caught a plane to Madrid just to hear the ‘Imploding The Mirage‘ opener ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ tonight…

Brandon: “Oh shit, it ain’t on the list! Did you see any of the London gigs? It was great in London.”

Ronnie: “We’ve got another little something there, though.”

Oh yes – we’re told that you’re going to play a brand new song tonight?

Brandon: “We’re gonna play a new song, yeah, it’s called ‘Boy’. We’ve been teasing it a little bit. It was the song that took me back home and was sort of the impetus for writing [2021 album] ‘Pressure Machine’. What’s interesting is that it just didn’t make it onto the record – but its absence is not a reflection of the quality of the song. It was an aesthetic decision to keep it off the record.”


Ronnie: “It’s a different complexion.”

So is it in that same folk-y mentality? 

Brandon: “Mentality-wise, I think so. There’s an optimism to it. It’s in the dust, it’s in the gutter, and it’s looking at the stars. It’s writing in more of a new wave vehicle.”

Ronnie: “It’s more polished.”

You guys went straight from ‘Imploding The Mirage’ into ‘Pressure Machine’, two of your best records, and it seems like you’re on a real roll. Are you still riding that wave and writing more new material? 

Brandon: “Sure. We just had a few days off and Stuart [Price, producer] came and visited us on the road. We’re sending things back and forth, and ideas. I’m talking with Shawn Everett [producer] too, and it’s nice to have that combo.”

Do you think we’ll hear a new album this year?

Brandon: “You will hear singles this year. The full record will probably be early next year, but there will definitely be more releases this year.”

And after your set tonight, Foals are playing. You were telling us before that you’re a fan?

Brandon: “Oh yeah. Can I tell my story again? I think that ‘Mountain At My Gates’ was the finest rock’n’roll song of 2015, and so I stand by that statement!”

The Killers' Brandon Flowers at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Rob Loud
The Killers’ Brandon Flowers at Mad Cool 2022 (Picture: Rob Loud)

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NME is an official media partner of Mad Cool Festival 2022