MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Ampline’s “Captions” From “Passion Relapse”

We first introduced you to the music of Ampline’s Mike Montgomery last year with our profile on R.Ring, his duo with the Breeders’ Kelley Deal. Ampline—Montgomery, Kevin Schmidt and Rick McCarty—has been together since 2001 and will release its fifth album, Passion Relapse (Sofaburn), on January 26. You can pre-order the vinyl here, but today you’re in for a treat: We have the premiere of LP track “Captions” for your listening pleasure. Says Montgomery of the track, “We wanted to write a song that just worked and churned away at a riff with just brief moments of melodic bloom. I had to write a eulogy once, so lyrically it grapples with the notion that you could sum up an entire lifetime with a few thoughts or captions.” Check out “Captions” below.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Faze Wave’s “Leagues”

Faze Wave was formed a little more than there years ago by Jacksonville, Fla., high-school buddies Matthew Flynn (guitar/vocals) and Zachary Stickler (drums), who quickly added bassist Hunter Hielman and guitarist Jacob Nemeth to the fold. Following two EPs and full-length Melt, the band has a new digital single, “Leagues”/”Suburban Boy,” on Canvasclub. Says Flynn of the a-side, “‘Leagues’ was inspired by desperation. I was looking for excuses to keep contact with a person that didn’t feel the same way as I did. I wrote this song without even realizing how I truly felt. But, when the lyrics finally came together, I actually understood that the relationship was over.” We’re proud to premiere both the audio and video for “Leagues” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check them out below.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Violetta Zironi’s “Toast” From The “Half Moon Lane” EP

A songwriter since age 16 who toured around her native Italy fronting a country/blues trio, Violetta Zironi was signed by a label hoping to make her a pop star (she even appeared on the Italian X Factor). Instead, Zironi decided to pursue the kind of music she felt was most real to her: a blend of Americana-inspired folk/country with a decidedly European sensibility. After relocating a couple years ago to both London and Berlin, Zironi soon took an extended trip to the American South, where she played and wrote songs with local musicians. Her new Half Moon Lane EP (named after the London street she now calls home) is the culmination of her moving around. Today, we’re giving you the chance to check out EP track “Toast,” a haunting, cosmopolitan slice of self-assured pop that makes it hard to believe this budding chanteuse is only 22 years old. Says Zironi of the tune, “This song is about being emotionally removed from any relationship, being afraid to be vulnerable and to put yourself out there. When stealing hearts, all you really want is someone to steal yours.” See, we told you she’s wise beyond her years. We’re proud to premiere “Toast” on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out below.

Exclusive Cover Story Excerpt: Belle And Sebastian Interviewed By Actress Busy Philipps

Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the current MAGNET cover story. To read the whole thing, order a copy of the issue here.

Interview by Busy Philipps

Photos by Gene Smirnov

It’s hard to believe that Belle And Sebastian has been creating its ever- evolving brand of pop music for more than two decades. Stuart Murdoch and Co. continue their brilliant career with How To Solve Our Human Problems, a series of three new monthly EPs premiering in December. MAGNET asked actress (and B&S superfan) Busy Philipps to speak with Murdoch about his life’s pursuit: mastering the art of modern-rock songs with his Glasgow gang of six.

I was in New York while my husband, Marc, was getting ready to shoot his movie. On a whim, we decided to go to the Panorama Music Festival on Randall’s Island. We texted our friend who works at Goldenvoice, and within the hour, we were in an Uber headed out there. I didn’t even know who was playing that Saturday, but I love seeing live music and I love a music festival. If I’m being honest, it’s the shorter sets. I want the hits! And then I want someone else’s hits!! And then I want corn on the cob!! And a matcha! I really like so many bands and kinds of music (except new/pop country—sorry), but I can count on one hand the artists who I would sit through an entire hour-and-a-half set of. As it turns out, one of the bands that I would gladly listen to until they decided to leave the stage is Belle And Sebastian, and they were playing Panorama!

I’ve been a fan since the late ’90s, when Tigermilk was released in the U.S., and I’ve seen them live over the years several times in Los Angeles. Each time, I’ve left the theater or venue just feeling so good, you know? Like genuinely happy and alive and like things are going to be OK. A renewed sense of hope and love and positivity and also like I’m probably gonna start wearing my hair in a beehive and only wear ’60s dresses and dance all the time.

Anyway, I was texting with Jenny Eliscu, who was recording her show for Sirius at the festival, and we headed over to her tent to say hi. (After my matcha, obviously.) She was just finishing up her interview with Stuart Murdoch. I tried to play it cool and sat casually on a picnic table nearby. To my surprise, they both walked over to us, and Jenny explained that Stuart had just mentioned he knew I was a fan, that he had heard I had been to some shows in the past. But in my head I was like, “Stuart Murdoch knows who I am?!?” He was so sweet, we chatted a bit, and I told him I was super excited to see them play later. After we parted, I was annoyed that I was too embarrassed to ask for a photo with him. I mean, I wanted him to think I was cool. Not a total nerd who asks famous musicians for pictures.

Later, Marc and I saw Stuart lying in the sun, on the bank of the Harlem River, having a quiet moment to himself. It was so endearing and lovely, I feel like I’ll always remember it. The show was fantastic, per usual. After their set, we went backstage to meet up with Amy Schumer (who is starring in Marc’s movie), and after I told her I was too embarrassed to take a picture with Stuart, she said, “Well, I’m not!” and called him over and the three of us took the picture. His publicist ran up to us after and pitched the MAGNET piece, asking if either of us would be interested. Look, I’m sure she was hoping Amy would be, but I screamed, “I’ll do it!” before Amy could even process what was happening.

I spoke with Stuart for MAGNET a few weeks later. He was in Chicago, the band was playing the famous Chicago Theatre that night, and he was wandering around the city while we were talking. His phone was kind of cutting in and out of range, and he kept encountering things like a full marching band and a man dressed as a vampire and a bunch of tourists. I tried to sound smart and interesting and funny and ask good questions, but I was worried for weeks after that I sounded like an idiot. But really, it was just so amazing to get to talk to someone whose music has brought me so much joy for the last 20 years and provided the soundtrack for so many of my own walks around cities I’m exploring alone.

Also, I forgot to ask if he really always cries at endings. Because I do.

—Busy Philipps

Busy Philipps: How’s it changed in terms of … you’re a dad now. Do your kids come with you or not so much?

Stuart Murdoch: Just simply because of the numbers, we don’t usually. We sometimes see our kids at specific concerts, but yeah, they don’t tour with us. It would be different if it was a solo tour and had a different bus for the kids or something.

Philipps: Or if you were Gwen Stefani. I guess it doesn’t really make sense. Do you live in Scotland still, or are you in the U.S.?

Murdoch: We’re all in Glasgow. When we come to the U.S., it’s like the Wild West for us. We’re camping out here, just living on a bus, rolling out of the bus every morning, playing our shows, trying to look respectable. But right at this minute …

Philipps: I feel like for me that would be the hardest part of bus living.

Murdoch: You leave your own family and you join your other family for a while, and then you go back to your other family.

Philipps: When we met at the festival in New York, you were saying, “Oh, I’m a huge Freaks And Geeks fan.” I have to tell you that I’ve met more band members who’ve approached me because on the bus they’ve watched … They don’t have, like, Netflix or streaming services on the bus, but they would get DVDs and watch Freaks And Geeks over and over again. I’m just curious: Do you guys do that? Do you consume media on the bus or together as a band?

Murdoch: We’ve probably gone past that stage together. Because we’ve been together for 20 years. Yeah, I guess we went past the sort of honeymoon period of the group where everybody was consuming what everybody else was into. Freaks And Geeks—I can’t remember who turned me on to that, but that was my own personal thing. I was an evangelist for that show, and I was telling people about it because it only aired for one series and it wasn’t in the U.K. originally. For me, it was the perfect personification of that age, the high-school age. I don’t think it was ever done better, honestly. And I’m talking about any movies here, so it really struck a chord with me.

Philipps: I mean, music plays a big role in that series, too. It informs the time period tonally, and stuff. But weirdly, to me, in watching it now, people are just now finding it because of Netflix. But the show aired almost 20 years ago. It does sort of feel timeless to me, and I feel the same way about your music. I remember hearing the first album—is that ’97 or ’98? When was it, Stuart? You know better than me. I’m not Googling this.

Murdoch: Yeah, it was ’96, but it would have been ’97 by the time it got in America.

Philipps: And I was graduating from high school, and maybe I was a freshman in college when I first heard it. I remember when I first heard it not knowing if it was contemporary or if it was something from the ’60s or ’70s, but your references were contemporary and I feel like that sort of thing—it’s just interesting to see where pop music, and music in and of itself, had started in, like, the mid-’90s to where it is today. You guys have evolved but maintained such a timeless bond. Do you feel that way? Am I crazy?

Murdoch: Yeah, all these things are very nice and complimentary. We find our thing, and we just went with it. I think the crucial thing was by the ’90s, people kind of had to … It was when everybody started looking back. The ’80s was this amazing time for music for me personally, because people were still inventing music, people were still doing things for the first time. They were kind of looking back to the ’60s, but by the ’90s, you couldn’t ignore the classic era of rock ’n’ roll. And we were such a different band; everybody brought something to the table when we all got together. Stevie (Jackson) brought the Rolling Stones, and Richard (Colburn) brought the funk, and Sarah (Martin) and Chris (Geddes) brought the Velvet Underground and nortern-soul music, and Isobel (Campbell) brought Nancy & Lee, so this is all kind of looking back. I was a kind of an ’80s person. I was obsessed with the Smiths and these sorts of groups, so it was all there. We managed to carve our own niche, but you’re never going to reinvent music the way the Beatles did unless you go out on a completely different form and use different instruments and turn into Public Enemy or something.

Philipps: What do you listen to now?

Murdoch: I listen to a smattering of new music. I tune in to 6 Music—that’s our kind of groovy station back in Britain, and that keeps me sort of informed. Really, I just jump around the decades like everyone does these days. I fool around on Spotify, listening to all the music I used to love and augmenting it by the odd classic I dig up. I’m pretty lazy. My real music-listening days were back in the ’80s. I’m unapologetic about that. I was a DJ back in the ’80s, but you start writing music and being consumed by what you’re doing and you become the egotistical monster.

Philipps: Has it changed since you’ve become a dad? What kind of music do you want to play for your kids? My husband, (screenwriter/director) Marc (Silverstein), and I have a whole thing about this, so I’m curious to hear from a musician’s standpoint.

Murdoch: It all starts with the songs that you sing to your kids. Do you ever sing to your kid?

Philipps: I used to, but now my kids are a little bit older, and they are embarrassed by me and hate my voice, so … Your kids are a little bit younger, but just wait, it’ll get there. You’ll start to sing, and they’ll roll their eyes.

Murdoch: Your oldest one—is she 12?

Philipps: Birdie just turned nine, but she seems like she’s 12. We’ve played her Belle And Sebastian; it’s hard with the influence at school to keep them away from … I just have a problem with a lot of what popular top-40 music is now. It feels so mindless to me, and I would rather they listen to more interesting modern music. But she’s really into storytelling in songs, so she enjoys Belle And Sebastian. She really likes when she feels like she can get a hold of the lyrics and figure out what the song is about, if there’s a story being told. Joanna Newsom is good kids’ music.

Murdoch: When we started as a band, sometimes you felt like you were singing nursery rhymes for children. Some of the people you were writing for or appealing to were a little infantilized themselves. They were at the stage where they didn’t quite want to turn into adults.

Philipps: That was me for sure—are you kidding? And oh my fucking god, my fucking boyfriend would play (Tigermilk’s) “The State I Am In” and curl in a ball and cry.

Murdoch: Have you any idea the reputation we’ve been trying to shake off for the past several years? Everybody in regular media still thinks that we wet the bed. The stuff they’ve said about us in Britain is so terrible it becomes funny.

Philipps: Really? What do they say?

Murdoch: Well, we just sit around knitting each other sweaters. That’s kind of all we do, and we make yogurt.

Philipps: Well yeah, because you’re just sensitive, quiet. That’s what they think, is it? I think you’re super poppy and dancey and fun. Obviously, Tigermilk is a little different, but that’s 20-plus years ago. You know what song was in my head all day yesterday, Stuart? Because of the current events in politics and our country, I literally just had (Write About Love’s) “I Want The World To Stop” playing on repeat in my head yesterday. For real. But just that one line. I know that you do some activism in terms of climate change and you’re outspoken in that. Do you feel anything about what’s going on? I know you feel something, but do you feel a responsibility to speak out about events?

Murdoch: I feel almost my only responsibility is to go in the opposite direction, where it’s to direct people to a mind of peace. I don’t mean to sound like a hippie, but part of the problem is that we get very involved with stuff that we can’t do anything about. There’s so much anger, and anger is never a good thing. I don’t care who you’re angry about; the anger is never a good thing, and it’s just harming you, the person who gets angry. So I know that’s a little bit of a British standpoint, but I think it’s entirely more useful to do something that’s in front of you, to be kind to the person who’s next to you rather than being angry at the person who’s on a television screen. Obviously, the stuff that’s going on is horrendous; these people are so disillusioned that it’s an understatement. They’re crazy; they just don’t know what’s happening. On a lighter view, if you want me to comment on it, I think my wife—who is American—said something interesting, which is, “All these angry white men are pissed off because they’re not getting their way anymore.” It’s almost like an end-of-empire situation where they realize the end is nigh, them making the decisions for everybody. It should be, and it will be. We’re never going back. We’re not going back. We’re marching on. We’re becoming more civilized and we’re becoming more equal and more groovy, but these people are desperate. They’re like cornered rats—reacting so much.

Philipps: My husband is making this movie here in Boston, and the other day he was having a really hard time with the news, and he was, like, “What am I even doing with my life?” And I was like, “You’re making art. You’re making a comedy that’s going to bring joy into people’s lives, that sends a really positive message to women. You’re putting something beautiful into the world—you’re attempting to, anyway, and that is as noble right now as any pursuit that you can have.” I get what you’re saying, but for you guys to bring joy and a message of happiness and to try to bring light is … I don’t know, man.

Murdoch: No, you’re right. It raised the question we have on our minds, and as soon as you ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life? I want to be a positive influence. I want to be a better person,” these things aren’t naive. These things are absolutely fundamental, and if everyone was asking these questions we’d be in a much better situation. Some people aren’t in a position … We’re very lucky … We should be asking these questions. We’re lucky because the likes of you and me, we’re privileged people, we’re pretty well off. It is our responsibility to ask what are we doing to make things better. It’s very nice of you to say that to your husband, and my wife in a reassuring way often says that to me when I say, “What am I doing? What the hell is going on?” So it’s sometimes nice to hear that.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Silverplanes’ “Gulfstream” EP

Silverplanes is a “band” to watch. The moniker under which Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Smart records, Silverplanes will be releasing a trio of five-song EPs in the near future, all produced by the legendary Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith, Who, Cheap Trick). In a cool move, Smart had a different well-respected engineer—including Jay Messina (Aerosmith, Kiss, Supertramp) and Geoff Emerick (Beatles, Badfinger, Elvis Costello)—mix each release. The first in the EP series is Gulfstream, out Friday and engineered by Shelly Yakus (U2, Tom Petty, Lou Reed).

The three releases come as a result of a creative burst in which Smart and his studio band—bassist Billy Mohler, keyboardist Matt Rohde and guitarists Jason Johnson, Rand Ray Mitchell and Sean Woolstenhulme—recorded 33 songs with Douglas. “This group of songs feels so vast to me,” says Smart. “There’s a lot of variation in the songwriting styles and recording approaches, but there are also some sonic threads that go through all of them. Musically, the EPs aren’t that far off from each other, other than the way we chose different styles of songs for each mixer. The common link in all of the EPs is my songwriting and Jack Douglas’ producing genius. They will all be released together at some point in a huge full-length with some extra bonus tracks.”

It was the veteran Douglas’ idea to bring in Yakus, Messina and Emerick to do the mixing and divide the output into EP-sized bits. “We had done one record of 15 songs, and then we decided to do another 18, because we were having so much fun,” says Smart. “Then we decided to release the songs as three EPs because we thought it would be cool to keep fresh material coming out in shorter intervals for the ADD generation.”

Now that Smart has a vast body of songs committed to tape, he’s getting ready to take the music of Silverplanes to people in a live setting. “I’m in the process of putting a live band together now, and I’ve put a lot of thought into how to present these songs on the road,” he says. “The people who played on the recordings are friends, and friends of friends, and it was all about ‘Lets record some cool sounds and make some recordings to stand the test of time.’ We never really thought, ‘How will we do this live?’ I would love to have all the guys that played on the record, but we’ll have to see where everyone is at in their lives when it’s time to go on tour.”

In the meantime, check out Gulfstream below. We are proud to premiere the EP today on magnetmagazine.com. Enjoy, and catch Silverplanes when they come to your town.

Gulfstream art after the jump.

Continue reading “MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Silverplanes’ “Gulfstream” EP”

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Lawrence Lui’s “Honey So Blue (Chimes & Tremolo),” From His “Retroism” EP

Lawrence Lui has been working in the music biz for years as a record-company exec (Astralwerks, V2, Island, etc.), radio-station music director (WNYU) and indietronic recording artist. The NYC native was in a serious bike accident last year, which led to a lengthy period spent recovering from his injuries. To help pass the time, Lui says he used music as both “distraction and therapy.” The result is the Retroism EP, his first release under his own name. Each of the four songs pays tribute to an artist or sound that has influenced Lui throughout his career: Suicide, Brian Eno, German techno label/club Tresor and Spacemen 3, whose landmark The Perfect Prescription turns 30 this year. Though Lui is already busy finishing up a second EP, today we are focusing on Retroism and the Spacemen 3-inspired “Honey So Blue (Chimes & Tremolo).” We are proud to premiere the track today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out below.

“Honey So Blue (Chimes & Tremolo)” cover art after the jump.

Continue reading “MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Lawrence Lui’s “Honey So Blue (Chimes & Tremolo),” From His “Retroism” EP”

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of John Davis & The Cicadas’ “Contamination In The Grass,” From Their Upcoming “El Pulpo”

On October 20, Shrimper/Revolver will issue El Pulpo by John Davis & The Cicadas. (A cassette-only version of the album is due out October 14 for Cassette Store Day.) You probably know Davis for his work with Lou Barlow in the Folk Implosion, which scored a freak hit in 1995 with “Natural One,” one of the duo’s contributions to the Kids soundtrack. Davis left the Folk Implosion in 2000, relocating from the Boston area to North Carolina 13 years later, where he started recording songs with producer Scott Solter that he had written while still in Massachusetts. El Pulpo is a song cycle about corporate corruption in the food industry and related issues such as immigration and incarceration and features guest musicians Peter Hughes (Mountain Goats), Andrew Levi-Hiller (Yairms/Alhhla), Wendy Allen (Balustrade Ensemble), Jonathan Henderson (Kaira Ba), Jeb Bishop and more. We are proud to premiere El Pulpo track “Contamination In The Grass” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out below.

Album art and live dates after the jump.

Continue reading “MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of John Davis & The Cicadas’ “Contamination In The Grass,” From Their Upcoming “El Pulpo””

Exclusive Cover Story Excerpt: Liam Gallagher Interviewed By Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins

Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the current MAGNET cover story. To read the whole thing, order a copy of the issue here.

Interview by Taylor Hawkins

Photo by Flint Chaney

Liam Gallagher doesn’t need to introduce himself—he only requires unwavering dedication to rock ‘n’ roll. With debut solo album As You Were, the former Oasis frontman swaggers back into the spotlight for another swing. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins sits down with Gallagher to find out what’s the story.

OK. What can I say? I’ve known Liam for probably about 20 years or so. Happy to say I’ve always been on his good side. I want to keep it that way—ha. I love his voice. A perfect cross between John Lydon and John Lennon. I love the way he can stand up onstage not doing one fucking thing, just looking at people, singing, and still captivate a huge crowd. We had the pleasure of seeing him do this in Seoul, South Korea, a couple months ago, and we were due to go on after him … We were a little scared. Ummm, what else? He’s truly fucking hilarious. Really quick, sharp as a tack. In my eyes, he is truly one of the greatest frontmen of my generation. His new record, As You Were, is definitely a return to form, putting him back where he belongs: at the top. —Taylor Hawkins

Taylor Hawkins: OK, first question. Your voice is so loud and so powerful—everyone’s always like, “Oh, Liam punched this guy” or “Liam said this in the interview” or this, that and the other, you know?

Liam Gallagher: Yeah.

Hawkins: A lot of the light never gets shone on the basic fact that you have a really loud, projecting, powerful fucking rock ’n’ roll voice. Do you warm up before shows, or is it natural?

Gallagher: I don’t take care of it as much as I should do, but I try to get a fucking good night’s sleep. And I lay off the cigs on the day of the gig. I don’t do cocaine before I go on.

Hawkins: Anymore. [Both laugh]

Gallagher: I have a little warm-up, I have a little thing about half an hour before we go on. You know what? I’ve never had any real problems with it, really, man. Fingers crossed. I like to think that I’ve got … I don’t classify myself as a singer—more of a fucking human cello. Some days it works, and some days it doesn’t.

Hawkins: That’s the way it draws, man. Some days it’s magic, and some days it’s tragic.

Gallagher: Fingers crossed, man. I just spend the whole day just going, “Fucking hope it’s there.” And if it’s there, good looks, and if it’s not, fuck it.

Hawkins: Exactly. Dave (Grohl)’s same thing. Dave doesn’t really warm up. He doesn’t really do anything.

Gallagher: He drinks a lot of fucking whiskey, though, doesn’t he?

Hawkins: Fuck, he does, dude. If you go to any vocal coach, they’ll tell you that’s the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do.

Gallagher: When you got onstage the other night and he screamed, the first thing he said was, “If I scream like that, I’d have to have 12 more shots.” [Hysterical laughing from both]

Hawkins: Dave’s a fucking superhero. There’s no question. He’s a fucking superhero.

Gallagher: Animal, man. And he’s got that voice, too.

Hawkins: Oh, fuck yeah. I love his voice. He’s powerful, too, and he’s loud, just like you. I have a thin, little wispy voice, and if I had to sing all set, it’d be done by the end, no question. But you guys both have these loud, projecting, lead-singer voices.

Gallagher: That allows the band a little area as well then, you know what I mean?

Hawkins: Totally. You guys were fucking great that night, dude. It was really, really … We were a little shaky before we went on after we watched you. We were like, “Fuck!”

Gallagher: You always play a bit better when there are people around you who are good, and I mean that.

Hawkins: I think so, too. I mean, for us, it seems like it can go two ways. Either that’s gonna push us up a notch, or we’re gonna get a little “in ourselves” a bit too much. I got some other questions for you. The first question that I came up with is: Is it lonely now, being a solo dude? When you’re the guy … I know you were probably the de facto leader of the band. I know it was a band, but you were probably the leader of the band. But now it’s Liam Gallagher—it’s you. You have a great band, and they play like a band. Is it lonely?

Gallagher: I prefer it being a band, I guess, with all the people I went to school with and all that, because then you know each other inside out, you know what I mean? The new band, we’re getting to know each other slowly but surely. We don’t really hang out that much; we don’t say a lot, but I don’t feel lonely. Man, I’ve got multiple fucking personalities, so there’s a lot going on inside my head. I just chat with myself inside my head, so I’m all right.

Hawkins: Got it, got it. I kinda figured. I would never think to myself, “Oh, Liam’s lonely,” ever. It’s a different thing, when you set out to do a Liam Gallagher tour. It’s a little different. It’s all you in the front and your name is on the bottom of that fucking check, you know?

Gallagher: I say what it is. I say what it is. I’m an indecisive fucking bastard. Someone comes up to me and goes, “I like that … ” I can’t just agree on it and get stuck to it. I’m kinda like, “Oh, what do you fucking think?” I kinda like sharing the bag, you know what I mean? I guess that’s the only pain in the ass. It’s all about you making decisions, which I’m not good at.

Hawkins: If you do another solo record, do you think you’ll do it the way you did this time? Do you think you’ll work with different writers and different musicians and all that?

Gallagher: Yeah, I think so. I mean, the band was put together like that, so it was me, and I called Dan—there’s a producer called Dan (Grech-Marguerat)—and then obviously I did some stuff with Greg Kurstin. At this moment in time, I’ve only got one fucking tune for the next album, so it all depends—if it goes well, people want another one, I guess I’ll do another one, but at the moment there are no fucking new songs. I definitely don’t mind making music. I like working with Greg Kurstin when I write, so definitely, man.

Hawkins: It worked out. I like the way that it’s a different kind of sonic experience you get.

Gallagher: Exactly, man. I trust myself as a singer a lot more than a songwriter, so if I write some, hopefully this time next year … I sort of believe the songs will come, and I think I want these people, I guess.

Hawkins: How important is using the studio to you? Do you get involved? Do you come in there and say, “Oh, I wanna do this, and I want my voice to have this many delays on it.”

Gallagher: I’m not a studio—I don’t really know much about studios. I was always kind of … I know where the fucking “louder button” is. I know where that is. I let the producers do it. I know how to turn me up. I know where that is.

Hawkins: “I wanna turn up my voice right here. Do something like that.” You let those guys do it.

Gallagher: I know where it needs double tracking, definitely. I always sing dry, man. I never add those effects on.

Hawkins: Same with Dave. Dave’s the same way. He likes to hear nothing but his voice.

Gallagher: ’Cause that’s the truth. I want it to sound like when I’m sitting in the room playing the guitar at home. I want it to be kinda like that. The majority of it. I like it dry ’cause you can feel it.

Hawkins: Kind of the rule of thumb I always thought of: If it sounds good just you and an acoustic guitar, then it’s gonna sound good either way. What’s your favorite studio? I don’t know if you care about studios. We love going to different studios, and we find the experience of each studio to kind of lend itself differently to the situation and the recording we pick.

Gallagher: Obviously, I’ve been going to Abbey Road, and that’s all right. The one where I recorded this album in England is called Snap!, a little shithole with one live room and where you record it, and that’s that. It was good, man. I could definitely work there again. There was a place in Richmond by this geezer who wrote, like, “(Simply) The Best” for Tina Turner. And he based it on Abbey Road, so it’s a smaller studio, and that’s got good gear. That’s a good studio. I worked there with Beady Eye. Anywhere that’s got the old gear in it, man.

Hawkins: I sometimes get into the history of studios. A lot of times when I’m in London, I’ll go over to Saint Anne’s Court down in Soho ’cause Trident Studios is there. I love Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and all that, and I just wanted to go stand by the door that he walked into. I don’t know why.

Gallagher: I used to do that. There was one called Olympic Studios where they did “Sympathy For The Devil.” And that was a good studio, but I don’t think that’s there anymore. I think it closed down. And there’s one called Konk—that’s the Kinks—that’s around the corner from my house and is a nice studio.

Hawkins: Is that still there?

Gallagher: That’s still there, yeah.

Hawkins: They did like all their ’70s shit there, didn’t they?

Gallagher: Yeah, and I think the White Stripes did something there as well, years ago. I’m not a studio guy, but I do like chalking big fat lines out on the desk.

Hawkins: Well, there you go. Gotta have a good desk. You can’t do that on a laptop.

Gallagher: Exactly! Exactly!

Hawkins: OK, this is a funny question, Liam, and this is from me to you, and you can say whatever you want. But this is a fun question, and it’s a question only I would ask you. My favorite band of all time, probably if I had to pick one, is the Beatles because they’re just like the Bible to me, you know what I mean? That’s the beginning, you know. That’s everything that came after. Anyway: Do you like Queen?

Gallagher: Do I like Queen? Uh, not really, no. I mean, I get Freddie Mercury has a great voice and all that, and obviously they’ve got some great songs. But I do find them a bit Queen-y. [Hawkins laughs] Listen, they’re a top band and obviously they’ve got great songs, but I dunno, man. Brian May’s guitar sound sounds like he’s got it clogged in his ass.

Hawkins: Poor Brian. I love Brian.

Gallagher: I respect him and all that, but I don’t know, man.

Hawkins: OK, that’s funny. That’s a good one. I like that. OK, next question. What about American bands? What American bands from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s?

Gallagher: Guns N’ Roses. I do like, is it Creedence Clearwater Revival? I like them. He’s got a good voice, that John Fogerty.

Hawkins: Oh fuck, dude, we played with him. He’s fucking loud—he’s like you. He’s just fucking loud.

Gallagher: He’s got a good voice. And obviously Hendrix and all that.

Hawkins: What about when all the ’90s shit was going on, and you guys were getting ready to fight your war over there?

Gallagher: I did like Nirvana, and I liked some of the tunes. Who else was out at the time? I wasn’t a big fan of Pearl Jam.

Hawkins: Right.

Gallagher: All the grunge stuff was a bit different for me, I’ll be honest with you. There’s a few bands.

Hawkins: Few songs here and there.

Gallagher: I was kind of caught up in all the old stuff. I was kind of into the Monkees and all that when all that stuff was going down.

Hawkins: Well, it’s like you guys were kind of having your same sort of thing like what was happening in Seattle, in a way. English version.

Gallagher: Exactly. And I like Guns N’ Roses. They’ve got some tunes.

Hawkins: Yeah, they do. And they’re powerful, and they still sound good on the radio today, you know? When you hear fucking “Welcome To The Jungle” or fucking “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” it’s a classic fucking song. When Oasis came out and all these other bands came out at the same time, and the critics they love to use this kind of a word to describe one genre, but there’s nothin’ like it. Do you fucking hate Britpop?

Gallagher: I fucking hate that word, mate. We weren’t fucking pop. To me, I felt it was us and the Verve. We were different scenes, were like a classic rock ’n’ roll band. Britpop to me was Pulp, Menswear, Blur, all these stupid little Camden bands that were all jolly as fuck, you know what I mean? We wanted to play, man. I personally always found that word fucking insulting.

Hawkins: I think it is, too.

Gallagher: The Verve and Oasis—we were thinking way bigger than Britpop. We were a classic rock ’n’ roll band.

Hawkins: I see that. And also, it’s the same thing with grunge. You can’t say Nirvana and Pearl Jam sound anything alike—they’re not the same kind of fucking music, really. Just ’cause of an era. They have to simplify shit.

Gallagher: It’s just fucking journalists, isn’t it? Lazy cunts. I felt like Blur and all that—they were doing like just jolly kind of weird, fucking stupid music. “Champagne Supernova” is a boss fucking tune. They were all jumping about it with their fingers in their ears.

Exclusive Cover Story Excerpt: The Killers Interviewed By Jimmy Kimmel

Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the current MAGNET cover story. To read the whole thing, order a copy of the issue here.

Interview by Jimmy Kimmel

Photo by Gene Smirnov

Viva the Killers—Las Vegas natives who return with Wonderful Wonderful, their first album in five years. To mark the occasion, MAGNET united them with fellow Sin City local Jimmy Kimmel for a conversation about growing up in the glitzy capital of American excess and experience.

I met the Killers 13 years ago. Somebody told me that one of them had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I’d had in February of that year, and so, of course, I wanted to meet them. Las Vegas is my hometown, and I always root for bands and others who share that unusual distinction, and in this case, I was a fan of their music before I knew where they were from. Singer Brandon Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci and I bonded over time (not immediately, as you’ll read), and they are two of the sweetest, most thoughtful and best guys I know. We wrote a Christmas song together called “Joel The Lump Of Coal”—look it up, it’s said to be one of Jesus’ favorites. This interview was conducted by phone, and unbeknownst to those on the other end, I was naked throughout. —Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel: I’ll start by saying that I was very excited to meet you guys back in 2004 because we are both from Las Vegas, and I was a fan of your music and got it in my head that you would be equally excited about meeting me. So when you were on the show that night, I walked up to you guys and started making chit-chat about Vegas and what high schools we went to, and it seemed that you couldn’t have been less interested in any of it. Then I walked offstage and was like, “All right, I guess these guys don’t give a shit about the Vegas connection.”

Brandon Flowers: We were so nervous to play on national television in the beginning. I still get really nervous, and I think that you were probably experiencing that coming off of us firsthand. Sorry about that.

Kimmel: Fortunately, we got to know each other later on, but I thought it would be fun to relive that awkward moment today.

Flowers: I don’t think we knew how close the ties were at that point. I didn’t know you and Ronnie both had gone to the same high school.

Kimmel: Even more so than that, Ronnie—share your connection to my best friend and bandleader Cleto Escobedo (III), who I grew up directly across the street from in Vegas.

Ronnie Vannucci: I was very young when I started playing drums. My mom worked at Caesars Palace, and she would sort of brag about me to the musicians who were coming in and out. Cleto Sr. was a name that was thrown around the house; he sort of ran the Strip as far as music goes. At least I got that impression, anyway.

Kimmel: That may have been exaggerated. He is a very talented sax player who gave up life on the road to become a room-service butler at Caesars, and his son, Cleto Jr., started playing the saxophone too. It just so happened that Cleto Jr. got a job playing sax with a band called the Checkmates on a stationary boat that floats inside Caesars called Cleopatra’s Barge. Your mom also worked on the barge as a cocktail waitress. The first time I heard this anecdote, I got nervous because I don’t think Cleto left too many cocktail waitresses unplucked. I’ve investigated, and I have good news: Nothing happened.

Vannucci: My first experience was playing that song “Play That Funky Music White Boy” by Wild Cherry.

Kimmel: How old were you?

Vannucci: I think I was like eight or something. But I just remembered being part of an all-black band, which, looking back, was kinda funny.

Kimmel: And not only that, but an eight-year-old playing in a cocktail lounge shows you just how different Vegas is now.

Vannucci: It was a neighborly place then.

Kimmel: What’s the greatest Las Vegas act you guys have seen, either together or individually? And you know what I mean by Vegas acts, the classics.

Vannucci: I saw something called Metal Skool 20 years ago.

Kimmel: It was school with a “k,” right? Metal Skool with a “k”?

Vannucci: So good. They nailed everything. It was like going to see Mötley Crüe and Van Halen and Skid Row all in the same concert.

Kimmel: Where did you see them?

Vannucci: It was, like, the Suncoast or something.

Kimmel: One of those off-Strip Vegas hotels. I wonder why they decided to spell Skool with a “k.”

Flowers: That’s cool.

Vannucci: With a “k.”

Flowers: I think it’s OK for me to say Copperfield is up there. David Copperfield.

Kimmel: Really? Wow.

Flowers: I remember Danny Gans. I saw him play a few times.

Kimmel: Yeah, he’s one of those guys that not too many people outside of Vegas knows. He passed away, right?

Flowers: Yeah, he died.

Kimmel: And he did imitations of singers, right? That was his thing?

Flowers: He was supposed to be really good at it. I never saw it.

Kimmel: It’s a shame he didn’t live long enough to imitate you guys. That’s a real-life Vegas tragedy. OK, I’m not gonna dwell entirely on Las Vegas, but it is what brought us together, so what is the most “Las Vegas” thing you’ve ever seen? You can translate that in any way you like. For me, it was seeing Liberace at the Mayfair Market on the Strip. He was wearing a hairnet and buying meat.

Vannucci: You got one, Brandon?

Flowers: I was a busser at Spago when I was 18, and Carrot Top came in. It was during the day—and during the day only the cafe’s open at the Forum shops, but because he was Carrot Top, he requested to sit in the dining room so nobody would bother him. My server—I wasn’t 21 yet, so I couldn’t be a server—was not familiar with Carrot Top so he didn’t know that there was a comedy side to him. And Carrot Top assumed that everyone knew who he was, I guess, and my server, he was from Japan and he was a martial artist. Carrot Top, when he sat down, picked up his knife and made this move kinda jokingly at my server, who didn’t know who this guy was. My server did this judo chop thing, and the knife went flying across the dining room. It was this whole scene, and we had to calm the waiter down and explain to him that this was a performer on the Strip and famous comedian and he was just joking. It was crazy.

Kimmel: He actually chopped the knife out of his hand?

Flowers: He was one of those guys who was just prepared, I guess.

Kimmel: The move will hereafter be known as the Carrot Chop. Can I tell you something? Carrot Top emailed me this morning. I’m not kidding. So you see how strong my Vegas ties are? I won’t reveal the contents of the email, but just know that he did contact me and I will get to the bottom of this story. Ronnie, did you want to answer that question? The Top is hard to top.

Vannucci: I can’t top that. Or chop that.

Kimmel: Do people ever give you ideas or lyrics for songs? I’m not talking about people like Elton John. I’m talking about people in your life. And if so, do you ever take them?

Vannucci: In the early days, there may have been a couple attempts from family members to chime in. I would politely listen to what they say, but I don’t think anything ever made its way into a Killers song.

Kimmel: Have the four of you guys ever shared a room?

Flowers: Yeah, when we were recording in Berkeley, we were all in the same room.

Kimmel: And how did you split that up, bedwise?

Flowers: There was a couch in the room, so I think I went on the couch because I was younger than them. I sort of got last dibs.

Kimmel: And then who had to pair up? Were there multiple beds?

Flowers: I think it was one of those two-room deals or, like, a kitchenette, where there was, like, a double-bed-and-a-couch scenario, and then we got a rollaway or something.

Vannucci: This is, like, before everybody had access to cellphones, otherwise we would’ve taken pictures.

Kimmel: This is not necessarily a music-related question. I want you to go back into your lives and think about this. What’s the first award you ever won?

Vannucci: I actually won the school talent show in fifth grade.

Kimmel: For playing the drums?

Vannucci: Yeah.

Kimmel: And what did that feel like? Were you instantly a celebrity at school?

Vannucci: Yeah, I went from nobody to being a drummer. The runner-up was this girl who made French toast.

Kimmel: Did you get to try the French toast?

Vannucci: Yeah, it was good. It just goes to show the level of my talent if French toast is the runner-up.

Kimmel: I know you’re being sarcastic, but I think if you asked a thousand people, “What would you rather have right now, a drum solo or some nice French toast?” 900-something of them would say French toast. So I think that’s fairly impressive.

Vannucci: You’re right. It was good, and then my family moved away, like, two days later so there was sort of this legend. I left a legend.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Minor Poet’s “And How!”

Tomorrow, the EggHunt label will release And How!, the debut album from Minor Poet. A band in name only, Minor Poet is Richmond, Va., musician Andrew Carter, who wrote, played and recorded the 11 songs on the LP all by his lonesome over the course of two months after the breakup of his band the Mad Extras. Says Carter of the album, “And How! was made during an uncertain period in my life—the kind of time where a dread hangs over everything you try to do. Recording these songs was my escape. I was all alone in my dingy basement studio, getting lost in the songs and remembering why I loved making music in the first place. All I hope is that people wanna listen to this album’s weird little world and connect through our shared anxieties and daily existential dramas.” You can preorder And How! here, but you can also try before you buy below. We are proud to premiere the album today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now.