You could be forgiven for thinking Las Vegas alt-rock act The Killers had several different musical personalities on their latest album, Battle Born.
The quartet worked with not one but four big name producers on their fourth collection in the form of Steve Lillywhite, Brendan O'Brien, Stuart Price and Canadian Daniel Lanois (along with Damian Taylor), handpicking each for certain songs.
"We used them for what they're good at both sonically and sort of getting into the headspace," says Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci.
But really it just came down to scheduling.
"It was sort of happenstance," he continues. "We were writing songs, we waited until the last minute to call some people. They were like, 'I'd love to do the whole record but I've only got 10 days here and a week here, and three weeks here.' All these guys are juggling these schedules. It was all people we really, really wanted to work with. So we were like, 'F--- it! Let's give it a shot and see what happens when we kind of go in with this sort of team type of way of doing things.' And it was a little scary because you didn't want your record to sound too all over the place. We got about seven or eight songs in and in and started to discover that we were very heavy-handed in the production of this record and it still sounded like us."
Battle Born, which gets its title from words on the Nevada state flag and is also the name of the band's home studio, came after the group went on hiatus in 2010. In the interim, frontman Brandon Flowers and bassist Mark Stoermer released solo albums, Vannucci released an album with his side-project, Big Talk, and guitarist Dave Keuning got in some quality time with his family.
"It was a much needed break - we'd been going for about seven years straight," says Vannucci. "You got to take care of your band, mend the freight engine. So we decided to take six months to a year off. It was all planned and everything. We all three of us got into some solo stuff and discovery. Got some creative ya-yas out. (It was) sort of nice and familiar when we got back together. The band is really strong."
So were The Killers, first introduced to the masses with their hugely successful 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, afraid they might have been forgotten by fans in that time apart from each other?
"You always risk that," Vannucci says. "There's always some new upcoming band nipping at your heels. In today's very saturated influx of media and music, people have a sort of natural short attention span. You're going to lose them if you don't keep exercising (the recording muscle)."
In the end, Battle Born has garnered them some of the best reviews of their career.
"It's sort of scary because most of the reviews have been positive," Vannucci says with a laugh. "That's unusual for us."
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