The Killers are bringing their Imploding the Mirage tour to NZ in November this year. Photo / Danny Clinch
When The Killers aren’t blasting hits like Mr Brightside to a packed Spark Arena this November, you might just find them enjoying a flat white and eggs benedict at one of Auckland’s best brunch spots.
The iconic rock band is coming back to New Zealand this year with their Imploding the Mirage tour, and frontman Brandon Flowers says he can’t wait to tuck in to a good Kiwi breakfast – something the US is yet to master.
“I’m a big fan of the breakfast culture,” Flowers, 41, tells TimeOut. “It’s making its way into America slowly, and we’re all the better for it.”
Drummer Ronnie Vannucci jnr, 46, says he’s “always had a little romance” with New Zealand.
“Me and New Zealand, we’re dating,” hey jokes. “It’s one of our favorite places to be on earth.
“The fresh air, the food, the people, the different geography – the difference between the two islands is crazy. You can pretty much just pick a direction and go in New Zealand. On the days off, I just go. I get a car or find a bike or just walk around, wherever we are.”
“There’s something about the light here, that we don’t get a lot of,” Flowers adds. “It’s a beautiful place.” He’s planning to bring his family with him on this trip – his three sons are now 15, 13, and 11, so traveling with them these days “is a breeze”.
The Killers are playing two New Zealand shows this November in Auckland and Christchurch. The last time they were here was in 2018. Since then, they’ve released two studio albums, Imploding the Mirage (2020) and Pressure Machine (2021). This tour is named for the 2020 album, and like countless other acts, was postponed due to the pandemic.
“It’s nice that things are moving again so that we can come here again,” Vannucci reflects.
“There are still countries that we’d like to go to that haven’t made it through, but we’re very lucky that this one’s going through.”
For a band like The Killers, touring is part of their identity. And while lockdown provided a welcome break from touring, there were times they longed to be performing again.
“It’s something we greatly missed when the world was shut down,” Flowers says.
“There were moments that we really enjoyed a little bit of rest, because this machine that we’re a part of has been cooking for about 18 years.
“But there were also moments of longing to be back on stage. And it’s a part of our heritage being from Las Vegas, we’re wrapped up in it, there’s no getting out.”
Or as Vannucci puts it, “It’s nice to be back on the bike.”
That’s not to say they haven’t been busy in between tours. They’ve just released “boy”, the first single for their next – and eighth – studio album. Flowers reveals the song was originally meant to be on their last album, Pressure Machine, a record about the small town of Nephi, Utah, where he grew up.
“It was the first song that was written for our last record, but aesthetically it just didn’t fit on that record,” he shares.
“There was a very specific vibe and sentiment on that record. This song takes place in the town that the last record was written about, but it’s riding in a completely different vehicle.”
“boy” is a nostalgic anthem that slowly builds, with echoes of earlier hits Just Another Girl and Where You Were Young. Flowers agrees the song “definitely has some of those touchstones” from their earlier music.
Vannucci says the band’s process is “ever evolving” when it comes to songwriting.
“I suppose the most conspicuous part of the process is that I think Brandon is writing lyrics that are much more introspective,” he says.
“So it’s much more obvious, it’s more pinpointed: these are the people we’re talking about, this is the situation, this is the town. that we heard.
“I think the older we get, the more important it is to come up with something that has a direct relationship to our soul. It’s more meaningful that way.”
With their eighth studio album in the works, the band doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. “Maybe one more [album],” Vannucci deadpans. “I’m 46, I’m too old for this s***.”
“You’re always kind of riding high on what you’ve done last,” Flowers reflects.
“And so that comes to the forefront of our mind. It [Pressure Machine] was a real creative accomplishment for us, we did something really different that stands up to the other albums.
“It’s just not even in the same genre I guess, and it was a triumphant thing for the band. And I’m still riding high on that buzz.”
Who: The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr
What: New single ‘boy’ and a NZ tour
When: The Killers play Auckland’s Spark Arena on November 21 before heading to Christchurch Arena for November 25.