'Ireland is the biggest place for fans of The Killers' - Brandon Flowers
The former Killers frontman talks solo career and new album, U2, and why he feels particularly connected to Ireland
When he jetted into Dublin last week for a concert at Dublin's Olympia Theatre, one might be forgiven for thinking that the rock star was toning things down.
In actual fact, Flowers and his band have never been more popular in Ireland, and he knows this all too well, conceding that "pound for pound" it's the "biggest place for fans of The Killers".
But this time it's all solo for Flowers, who has just started touring in Europe on the back of his new record, The Desired Effect.
He told the Herald that there was a unique "love" that he feels from the Irish crowd, that allows him to "let loose" on stage - and it's something that he attributes back to a certain band from the North side of Dublin.
"There's the whole U2 thing here I think, their spirit is just here, even when they're not," he says.
He ponders back on The Killers first gig in the Olympia in 2004, where Bono and co tried to disguise themselves in the upper balcony.
"That was the first time I met Bono," Brandon says. "They were trying to hide themselves but it was just impossible!"
Another unexpected Irish connection arises as Brandon reveals that one of his crew originally came from Dublin.
"Our lighting guy, his name is Stephen Douglas, and he has been on the road with The Killers for ten years now.
"We played here in the Olympia in 2004 and he was the house lighting guy. We liked his show, he put effort into it and he did cues and things like that. So we took him on and he's with us ever since."
Flowers also says that the majority of his music taste stems from Ireland, Britain and Europe, which is why he feels he enjoys more fame here than in his native country.
These tastes are to the fore on his new solo album, The Desired Effect, an record the Vegas native admits he wanted to make radio-friendly.
"It used to not be a dirty thing to aspire to be on the radio," he says. "On this record I definitely wanted to put my best foot forward.
"I've never been ashamed of liking music that I heard on the radio, but I listen to a lot of classic rock and pop and I love the craft. I appreciate the craft so much and I think that I just really applied all of that into these songs," he says.
Since the release of the album this month, Flowers has already released four singles, including the haunting Lonely Town.
Brandon admits that the song has a personal connection, but like many of the songs on the album, "it's not the Brandon you might be accustomed to today".
"I'm definitely lurking in every song and in Lonely Town I am literally lurking," he says, of a song with stalker theme.
The album's slow and melodic closer, The Way it's Always Been, is his favourite song on the record, though he says he his proud of all of them.
Like his previous hits, Brandon never grows tired of performing them live, saying that he hasn't even got sick of the Killers now 11-year-old hit, Mr Brightside.
"When you go and see a band that you love or maybe that you're not even sure about, the things that you're certain about are the songs that first attracted you to that band and its weird to withhold that from people. I've never gotten bored of playing it," he says.
He's also keen to portray his humility and respect for his audience, saying that "they have paid their hard earned money" to come and see him.
In the past, Flowers has been accused of being arrogant for apparently saying that The Killers were 'the best band' in the last 20 years.
Eager to clear his name, he says that he meant "one of the best".
"It's tough because I wish everyone could come and be on the couch when I said it in an interview and under what circumstances that I said it, because people just pick up the wrong headline," he said.
"It makes me look bad."
Brandon is a man who appreciates the past, name dropping The Cars, the Pet Shop Boys and INXS as major influences.
"In the same interviews where they say I claimed I'm the best, I talk about my reverence for the past and the greats and how hard it has been for me to step into those shoes, but they [journalists] don't talk about that stuff.
"But one of the best is not a far reach and I'll say that again, we are one of the best," he says.
The Killers have been on hiatus since the end of their last tour in 2013, and with Brandon's second solo outing, many have speculated that the band are on the verge of breaking up.
However, Brandon assures that there is "no crisis".
While he says there are no plans for the group to call it a day he does concede that the band needs to find a new direction.
"I think we do definitely need to find that spirit," he says.
"I feel like if we applied that spirit that we had when we were making the first couple of records, to the confidence that we have acquired and the experience that we have acquired, I think that we could be deadly.
"I'm really excited about what we still have to offer," he says.