I saw Killers Live on the FUSE cable channel today and actually got their latest album a couple of days’ ago. I really start to dig their sound, always liked them as they are very unique in this otherwise bland pop/rock scene today.
Maybe it’s also that they take a lot of elements from the eighties sounds that I was part of, too…
So I went to my studio today for just plain jamming purposes and of course ended up doing a base track that sounds half-way like Killers, speak of influence.
Here’s the current rough mix after three hours of quick takes and mixes: .
So what are the ingredients to get to a similar Killers sound? Well, you have a definite rock drumming with some accents that the eighties drummers used a lot, a driving kick. I recorded all the drums from beginning to end using a Yamaha DD-65 just to get the MIDI information based on real drumming (instead of programming) and then used various EXS24 and Ultrabeat sounds to trigger the kick, snare, hihats and so forth.
Before the drums I recoded a pick-played bass with a gnarly sound (using a click drum loop) — I’m using Line 6 PodFarm Ampeg SVT simulation. Also play a lot of eight notes with the bass.
Then I added two eighties-kind-of sounding synth pads. As well as two tracks of distortion/phaser guitar stuff. This is still work in progress, tomorrow I need to put in a couple of synth-pad lead melodies and then a guitar chord that is played in an arpeggiated style.
Finally I need to figure out how to sing like Brandon Flowers, add a little bit dramatic flair to the singing style.
Hopefully it will not become a real Killers copycat — they have their definite style and it’s fun to see what one could do from it but then take it off to another direction.