One Direction’s Harry Styles and Nathan Followill drummer for Kings of Leon have been good friends since they met, about two years ago, and KOL is one of Styles’ favorite bands. Harry and Nathan even have matching tattoos according to The Sun. There is a good chance that Nathan and the rest of the Followill brothers will influence the overall tone of Styles’ solo album.
The Kings of Leon are four brothers from Nashville, and their music reflects their southern rock roots. Most of their early stuff is fast and fun, with a lot of complex guitar riffs and other instrumental work. Some KOL songs though have darker lyrics, written by KOL frontman Caleb Followill, with a lot of the musical elements filled in by his guitarist brother Matthew Followill. Fourth brother Jared Followill serves as bassist for the band.
One Direction’s Harry Styles is closest with Nathan Followell, having gifted Nathan with one of his guitars, but he knows the other Kings of Leon brothers as well. Caleb Followill told The Sun that Nathan is a collector of musical instruments and treasures the Styles guitar as the most important in his collection.
The Kings of Leon have widely varied styles, or rather a whole set of styles that have evolved with the band. KOL emerged in 1999, with obviously southern rock styles. There is even a hint of country and bluegrass bleeding through occasionally. That side of the Kings is reminiscent of Lynard Skynyrd, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The Kings of Leon could as easily be compared to Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, or 38 Special. KOL is heavily influenced by the southern rock genre, but there is more to them.
If the One Direction crooner appreciates Kings of Leon, then Styles must have an appreciation of the whole southern rock genre. That is good news for true music enthusiasts, who see promise in young Harry.
Recently, the Kings of Leon have been experimenting with a new sound. In some songs, they are slightly similar to U2 or Radiohead, but even so, the sound is uniquely KOL, with elements that definitely belong to an array of rock sub-categories.
The Kings of Leon bring a lot of variety to a concert. The Followill brothers are very successful, and a real musician’s band. The better people understand the skill level involved in the music, the better they like the Kings. This is especially true of their older material.
Harry Styles of One Direction greatly admires the music of Kings of Leon, and that alone is a sign he is a connoisseur of the rock genre, with an appreciation for the complexities of southern rock. This is interesting because, decades ago, there was a sort of distinct division between fans of southern rock and fans of British rock. There were few crossover fans, especially among serious musicians. The mix of the two has scarcely ever been attempted.
Kings of Leon is very definitely southern rock. Although they are tremendously versatile and have songs that are representative of other more recent genres, they are light years away from the Rolling Stones and other classic English bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, or Pink Floyd. It is not that either of the 1960’s to 90’s rock sub-genres is superior, only that it is highly unusual that Styles has such a great appreciation of both.
Will Harry Styles try a marriage of British rock and southern rock on his debut album? If Harry is looking for a totally new sound that is classic and springs from the classic origins of rock, straddling the pond so to speak would certainly be a totally new sound that was still classic.
The One Direction crooner’s classically perfect British accent, coupled with heavy southern rock guitar riffs, would be an awesome take on the classic sound to be sure. The overwhelming emphasis on bluesy guitar work in southern rock, coupled with the English band sound, might be a fairly novel approach coming from two classic themes.
Kings of Leon guitar riffs are fun to listen to, and they sound totally carefree, but they are extremely complex, as are nearly all southern rock riffs. Sadly for the true southern rock enthusiasts, Kings of Leon is transitioning a bit, and while their music is still very complex and interesting, it could be losing a bit of its original Tennessee flavor. Matthew Followill explained to The Whigthe differences between their new album, Walls, and their older material.
“The sound is a little cooler — a little more effortless. We used a lot of vintage amps and guitars and drums and old synths that I’ve collected. But there are actually fewer things on each song. We didn’t throw the kitchen sink at every single song — we gave space for the parts to breathe. And the arrangements aren’t so formulaic; it’s more random; anything can happen. You think you know what’s going to come next but that doesn’t happen. Overall, I think we’re moving in a good direction.”
One Direction’s Harry Styles may also be interested in the evolution of Kings of Leon since they too are looking for a new and groundbreaking sound that fulfills the need for a classic basis while exploring revolutionary ideas. Matthew Followill explains the new direction the Kings are taking.
“It’s important to evolve and change, or you just get bored… this time I was bringing in riffs and chord progressions that we would use to create the song. I was more inspired this time. I felt a little bit more of a fire … I fell in love with guitar again. Before, it was like playing guitar was my job. I kind of floated through life, and then I had that turning point when I realized I’m so, so lucky to play guitar and get paid for it. So I got super-into guitar, which led to more playing, and it just went from there.”
Hopefully, One Direction’s Harry Styles too will fall in love with his guitar all over again. News about Harry Styles’ old guitars has been cropping up. He gave one of his guitars to Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon, as mentioned earlier, but one of his was also reportedly stolen and turned up in a pawn shop a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it is Harry’s way of saying, yes, he can play the guitar. Numerous times in media, it is either stated or inferred that Niall Horan is the only One Direction member who plays guitar, which is obviously not correct.
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Unlike Kings of Leon, no one else seems to expect for Harry Styles or the rest of One Direction to be musicians. When Harry bought a piano, people were puzzled for some reason. People actually wondered what on earth Styles was going to do with a piano.
Why would One Direction’s Harry Styles need a piano? Well, pianos come in handy when writing songs. So do guitars, and Styles had said he would be writing songs. What on earth do people think? Do they think Styles, Malik, Payne, and Tomlinson write music by playing the kazoo? No wonder Styles feels a need to prove himself as a musician.
Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mick Jagger, and former members of the Beatles would not be so excited about One Direction’s Harry Styles if he were not a musician capable of playing guitar and piano. The Followills have no interest in pop music, so they apparently find common ground in the rock genre.
The Followill brothers of Kings of Leon are serious musicians, and One Direction’s Harry Styles wants to be taken seriously as a musician.
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