First Brandon, then Ronnie, now it's Mark Stoermer's turn to step out from The Killers with a little side project, Another Life (see songs below). We spoke to the bassist about his free download release, balancing solo projects with his main band, The Killers' Christmas single and more. Hello Mark, how the devil are you? "I'm doing fine."
Like two of your bandmates already, you're doing a side-project, is this a new thing or a long-held ambition? "I began recording ideas around the end of 2009 while still on tour with the band. I would save ideas to my laptop, or if I was out and about I would sing a melody into my phone or into a small dictaphone. When the band took a break, I began developing these ideas. I never had a set plan for where it was all going. I was just trying to save any idea I had, as far as music, melody, or lyrics. I wasn't sure if any of it would ever be used. I never sang lead vocals before, and I never wrote lyrics before, so it was kind of an experiment for me. I originally thought maybe someone else could sing these ideas. I considered putting a band together with a different vocalist, but as the songs developed, it just made sense for me to take the plunge and do it myself."
Were you influenced by Brandon and Ronnie doing their own thing in the break? "Not exactly. When we took a break, I just continued doing what I have done for over 20 years now, which is make music. I had no real ambitions with this project from the beginning; it all developed step by step over the last two years."
Is it a band 'Another Life' or the Mark Stoermer Experience? "I guess this is a solo-project for now, although I like the concept of bands. It just isn't that easy to put one together that would be right. I wrote all the songs and lyrics by myself and played a good deal of the instruments on the record. That said, I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of my good friends Joel Stein and Glenn Moule from the Howling Bells and Jason Hill from Louis XIV. Joel and Glenn co-produced and played on most of the record. Jason produced and played on two tracks that we did at his studio in Laurel Canyon. Alex Carepetis also did a great job on drums for my song Amber Bough."
As the latest in a noble tradition of singing bassists, who are your heroes? "Is it okay to say I just like good songs? |
There's a Dylan, Blood On The Tracks/ Nashville Skyline meets Mark Lanegan feel to the songs online? Who would you say influences the project? Is this the sort of music you listen to? "I like both of those guys, but I listen to a lot of music. I love Lanegan's solo album Bubble Gum, as well as his stuff with desert sessions and Queens Of The Stone Age, but I also like Coltrane, Black Sabbath, Fela Kuti, J.S. Bach, Cat Stevens, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Willie Nelson, PJ Harvey, to name a few... I am sure a lot of music lovers are the same. I have different favorites for different moods, situations, and times of my life. But when people ask what my biggest musical influence is, it is without a doubt, The Beatles. That said, I may have never picked up a guitar or bass if it wasn't for Nirvana. Dylan is also right up there for me. The two albums you mentioned are among my favorites."
There's quite a twilight/dusty feel to your vocals? Are you a bit of a nighthawk and did this inspire the songs? "I am definitely a night owl, not so sure about a hawk though... Since I was about 18, I always seemed to have more energy at 2am than in the day. I am not surprised if this comes through on the record. The song Weary Soul actually deals with that subject a little bit."
... And why haven't we heard you sing before? Nice smoky vocals... "Probably because I never sang more than backups before, not even covers. It was a real process trying to figure out how to sing these songs, and I still am not 100 percent comfortable with my vocals. It is a work in progress."
Any chance of you hitting the road under your own name? "Touring is kind of a pipe dream at the moment. I would have to put together a live band, as well as write more material. Timing is also a big factor, as at the moment we are in full-on Killers mode. So... I am not sure if and when this will ever happen, but you never know."
Hang on, now that there are three Killers - and another on the way with Dave Keuning next year - with side projects, could you all take in in turns to be the support on tour to maximize your profits? "Good idea, but it's not going to happen."
Talking of the day job, we've just heard your festive song, The Cowboy's Christmas Ball, how much fun do you chaps have doing that each year? "We have a lot of fun with the Christmas songs every year. All of the proceeds go to the (RED) campaign, so it is all for a good cause."
Finally, we understand you're working on a new Killers album, how does doing a 'solo' project like this feedback into the album? Has it changed the way you work at all or are we seeing a side of you that's been there all along? "As a band, I think we pretty much work how we have always worked. We all have special roles in what makes The Killers and there is no need to mess with that. The songs I made for my album represent a journey that I took the last two years. Now it is out there for anyone, if interested, to listen to."
Head to Markstoermer.com for more and to download Another Life.