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Love live the kings
Now on their third album, Kings Of Leon have rubbed shoulders with Bob Dylan, U2 and the Pixies, and can count Led Zep and the Rolling Stones among their fans.
Paul Nolan, 20 Apr 2007
Having made their name with the thumping garage rock of their acclaimed first two albums Youth And Young Manhood and A-Ha Shake Heartbreak, Kings Of Leon’s third record, Because Of The Times, is a more widescreen, stylistically expansive affair. From the gorgeous, slow-burning opener ‘Knocked Up’, to the Pixies-style stomper ‘Charmer’ and the gospel tinged ‘The Runner’, the group have really stretched their creative wings.
The album also looks like being a significant commercial success. Just over a week after our interview took place, Because Of The Times entered the UK album charts at No.1, seeing off fellow indie contenders Maxïmo Park. When hotpress contacts the band’s drummer, Nathan Followill, the rhythmatist is enjoying some R’n’R before the upcoming promotional onslaught for the album.
“I’m in Chicago at the moment,” he says. “My girlfriend, who’s a musician too, has a show here on Saturday night. This is one of my last weekends before I go on tour, so I thought I’d come here and have a romantic getaway.”
Nathan wholeheartedly agrees that Because Of The Times marks a significant shift in Kings Of Leon’s musical style.
“We definitely wanted to go for a much bigger sounding record,” he acknowledges. “The first record was pretty raw and we were kind of inexperienced. For the second album we attempted to experiment a little bit, but still tried to stay in the same vein as the first one. With this one, we totally knew what we wanted going into it. We wanted an epic, different sounding album that would sound as good in an arena as it did in a sweaty little club.”
Because Of The Times was recorded in Nashville, where the band are based, as opposed to LA, where the bulk of the previous two albums were made. Nathan says the group made this decision on the basis that they wanted as few distractions as possible whilst they were working.
“It’s so easy, making a record in LA, to get caught up in everything but the record,” he explains. “You find yourself thinking about what party you can go to that night, or what new club or bar is opening. Things can get rushed sometimes in the studio because you want to get out of there and go party. So, we wanted to do one at home where the record was the only thing we had to look forward to. We were excited to get in there every day and record. Also, we’d been on the road for three years solid, so it was good to get home and sleep in my own bed for a month straight.”