With the world on hiatus in 2020, Dave Keuning, guitarist and founding member of The Killers, decided to play. Embracing all the richness of his creativity and inspired by the social and political chaos that has defined recent years, he began working in his home studio, having fun with “guitar solos and nine minute songs” and welcoming the freedom to work. alone. This resulted in a new album “A Mild Case of Everything”, a collection of 16 tracks with sound ranging from rock guitar to synth-pop, and lyrics about political uncertainty and the need for unity.
Much like her solo debut, 2019’s “Prismism”, Keuning sings and plays almost every instrument on the album, but this time with more confidence in his creativity (how else could the nine-minute epic ‘Don’t Poke The Bear’ have come to fruition?). Now, with his latest record released and two new projects with The Killers underway, he’s ready to step out of the studio and get back on stage.
NME met Keuning from his intergalactically lit basement in San Diego, Calif., for the latest edition of our In conversation series, to discuss the inspiration behind his latest album, learn the real reasons he took a break from The Killers, and find out what he’s been working on next. Here is what we learned.
He was determined to release a nine minute song, like it or not.
Keuning shares that he wrote the sprawling power-pop track ‘Don’t Poke the Bear’ in the middle of the night, working on it until the early hours of the next day. “I kept adding pieces to it. It was one of those nights where I had a lot of ideas and I just wanted to do this epic song and I decided to do it, ”he says.
“There are long songs that are boring. Hope this is not one of them. I’m really happy with the lyrics and the feedback so far has been good. I was going to put it on record no matter if people liked it or not because I had so much fun writing and playing it.
Last year reminded her of the 60s, when there was so much to sing about
When it came time to write the lyrics for the album, Keuning couldn’t help but write about what was going on in the world, explaining, “I’m not good at making up stories.
Much of the record was inspired by her reaction to current events, with Keuning sharing, “There was so much that I couldn’t believe was happening and I still don’t understand much of it. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to coexist with each other or… just have common sense or try to treat each other the way you want to be treated.
He adds that last year “a bit like the 60s” because there was so much to sing about. He also referred to the messages he thinks listeners will receive from the album while discussing the track “Peace and Love”. “It’s very simple. There are hardly any words. I just took a guitar and these chords came out,” he said of the song. “Because I just don’t understand why he it’s so hard not to take your knee off someone’s neck when they are dying. Why is it hard? “
People misunderstand the reasons for his hiatus from The Killers
Keuning took an indefinite hiatus from touring and recording with The Killers in 2017, and since then people have speculated and often misinterpreted the reasons for the hiatus. “I guess they don’t get it until you’re in the person’s shoes,” Keuning said of the reactions to him taking a break from the band.
In fact, a “very crazy background story of more drama than I would like about anyone, mostly baby mommy dramas and so on” was partly responsible for its hiatus. With Keuning adding that the grueling program, not the band itself, was what he wanted from the space. “I needed to break up for my own sanity which really had nothing to do with the band.”
With their seventh album completed, the Killers’ eighth is “a good start”
After his hiatus, Keuning is now back and contributing to The Killers albums. “I was asked to record on the seventh disc. I helped with that one, and then we’re already working on the eighth set, ”he reveals.
Although the seventh record is a concept album, Keuning says it “still sounds like The Killers”. “A lot of those songs were ready to record, I was coming over to play guitar. I actually came up with some ideas for songs that we worked on together, and then I made the record, so it was fun. It’s different.”
Although there is no official release date for the seventh album, the eighth album is apparently well advanced. “I’m just happy to be back in any capacity on the seventh album and now that it’s done I’m just excited to write and see where the eighth goes. I don’t think we know what it will look like, ”he shares. “It’s too early, but we’re writing ideas for it and we’ve got quite a few already, so we’ve got a good start.”
He is ready to officially go back on tour, solo and with The Killers
Keuning shares that he plans to hit the road again with The Killers while touring solo. “I’m learning the new songs because I’m going to play them live. I’m happy to play them live “, he adds when told about” Imploding The Mirage “, the only Killers album in which he has not participated.
“I had a great break thanks to COVID so I’m excited to play shows, play old music that I love, and play new music. I’ll always make time for my solo thing when it allows – I’ll be doing gigs probably later this year!
Dave Keuning’s “A Mild Case of Everything” is now available