NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Kings of Leon took it easy this year after finishing up their international tour for their 2013 album “Mechanical Bull,” but the Grammy-winning family rock group started 2016 with a bang, literally.
They headlined the New Year’s Eve celebrations in downtown Nashville, Tenn., where they’ve made their home for 15 years. The festivities included a giant musical note dropping at the stroke of midnight, fireworks and performances by Grammy-nominated country singer Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Sugar & The Hi-Lows, The Whigs, Wild Cub and LANco.
Singer Caleb Followill and drummer Nathan Followill talked to The Associated Press about drinking on New Year’s Eve, resolutions and working on a new album for 2016. The answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
What does 2016 look like for you?
Nathan: We’ve already started preproduction in our studio for the next record, but the main thing on the calendar for 2016 is getting the record finished. And then the whole press machine kicks up and doing press for the record.
Caleb: We enjoy this part of the process. Obviously there’s a lot of work that goes into it and it can get stressful at times, but we’re all in a good place and we’re having fun with it and we’re all excited to do something new.
Are you going to split the recording between Nashville and Los Angeles?
Caleb: We might just try to get a little change of scenery. Our first two albums we recorded in L.A., so we’re going to try to go back and see if it inspires us. If it doesn’t, we always have a studio at home, so we can always come back.
What’s your experience playing on New Year’s Eve?
Caleb: We’ve done it before where you’re playing for someone and at times it feels like you’re just background music, or the house band. The setting is always nice, but it just doesn’t feel right. That’s why we wanted to do this. We wanted to play a show where we could go up there and people are going to be there for a good time and not walking around eating sushi.
What’s the secret for a great New Year’s Eve set list?
Nathan: You want to have a nice mixture in there. But we’re all realists and not all 150,000 people or how many people are there are like die-hard Kings of Leon fans. You gotta play songs that everyone will know, throw a cover or two in there so that they know that as well. But then we have to keep it fun for us as well. That’s the three parts to the show.
So when do you get to celebrate the New Year?
Caleb: So I decided I am not going to have a drink until next year. So I am patiently waiting. So we’ll do our set and they will have the big fireworks and then we’ll come back and do another half hour or so. And that last half hour, we’ll probably be a little fuzzy cause as soon as we do the countdown, I am starting to drink.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Nathan: To not eat my feelings and to lose some weight. 2016 is going to be fun with the new record and all that. I am sure some of us are probably going to grow our families. Some of us will not. 2016 is going to be a good year, I got a feeling.
Caleb: I am just looking forward to enjoying what we are doing a little more, not getting overwhelmed by the moments that are overwhelming and just kinda enjoy it. And try to be a better me.