Rock­ers Kings of Leon find a chal­lenge on new record

Malta Independent - - MUSIC - ■ Kristin M. Hall

For the fam­ily band Kings of Leon, one of the big­gest fac­tors in mak­ing de­ci­sions about their ca­reer is what will make their wives and chil­dren happy. So the large Fol­low­ill clan, which in­cludes three broth­ers, a cousin, four spouses and four chil­dren, was ex­cited to record their sev­enth stu­dio al­bum ear­lier this year in Los An­ge­les.

“It was win­ter­time here,” lead singer Caleb Fol­low­ill said of their home in Nashville, Ten­nessee. “And we knew our fam­i­lies were go­ing to be away from us for long days, so we wanted to take them where the sun was shin­ing.”

Their wives also have in­put on which cities the band will use as cen­tral hubs on their next tour, said drum­mer Nathan Fol­low­ill.

“All of our kids are the same age or within six months of each other, which makes it re­ally easy for us to all go to­gether and then they have a built-in buddy sys­tem,” Nathan Fol­low­ill said.

Af­ter break­ing out early on with al­bums like “Only By the Night,” and “Be­cause of the Times,” the band strug­gled with suc­cess and ex­cess, which led to pub­lic fights and can­celled shows in 2011. But five years later, they are re­laxed and set­tled as fa­thers and hus­bands.

“WALLS,” re­leased Oct. 14, finds the band with a new pro­ducer, Markus Dravs, who has earned Gram­mys for his work with Mum­ford & Sons, Ar­cade Fire and Cold­play. The ti­tle song is an acro­nym, Caleb Fol­low­ill, said for “We are like love songs.” Love, not an­i­mos­ity, seems to be the pre­vail­ing theme for the Kings of Leon on this record.

The band talked about the al­bum with The As­so­ci­ated Press ahead of their first show in Nashville per­form­ing the al­bum in its en­tirety. An­swers have been edited for brevity.

AP: What’s it like play­ing the new mu­sic in front of home­town crowd?

Caleb Fol­low­ill: Oh it’s go­ing to be awk­ward. We’re go­ing to play new songs that don’t get the re­ac­tion that we’re used to. Matthew Fol­low­ill: And then we’re go­ing to mess up on those songs. Jared Fol­low­ill: And then we’re go­ing to get mad and storm off af­ter the sixth song. AP: What does the al­bum ti­tle mean? Caleb Fol­low­ill: We are kind of open­ing our­selves up to who we are truly are. And the walls coming down means some­thing

to us too. But I feel like through­out our ca­reer, we have writ­ten songs that have a lot of heart. And to me those are like love songs. On this al­bum, more so than any other, there is some real stuff be­ing said.

AP: What was it like work­ing with Markus this time?

Jared Fol­low­ill: Ob­vi­ously we had seen that he had done a lot of re­ally great things, things that we liked. We had con­fi­dence in that as­pect of his work, that he was go­ing to make the songs sound ex­actly how he wanted them to. But just talk­ing to him, we knew that he was a hard, hard worker and had a lot of work

ethic and it brings it out in you.

Nathan Fol­low­ill: And he got pneu­mo­nia the sec­ond week and had to go into the hos­pi­tal. So that kind of got us started off on the wrong foot.

Caleb Fol­low­ill: He lost a lot of weight. He looked great.

Matthew Fol­low­ill: Like hol­low eyes, so rock n’ roll.

AP: Was he a tough pro­ducer?

Caleb Fol­low­ill: We wanted to be do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and not feel­ing like we were sur­rounded by peo­ple who were hip to what we do. And so I feel like, I don’t even think he’s heard our mu­sic be­fore this al­bum be­cause he didn’t seem like he had. So that was a good thing, I felt like we had some­one that was just kind of coming in with fresh ears.

Jared Fol­low­ill: We did more takes on this al­bum than prob­a­bly than any other al­bum. Not be­cause of mess-ups or any­thing like that. Strictly for tem­pos. Lit­er­ally, it was so pre­cise and the beats per minute had to be a cer­tain way. Like oh my God, we had it per­fect. And then you would do it again, and do it again. And then we would change a verse and rere­cord it and shorten the bridge and record. Caleb Fol­low­ill: Then he would come in and would be like, ‘Write a new verse,’ and I was like, ‘Ah!’

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