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Kings of Leon’s Jared Followill Talks New Side Project, Smoke and Jackal

Jared Followill
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

With the band on hiatus since late last year, the members of Kings of Leon have had to find new ways to stay busy. For vocalist Caleb Followill, the downtime has provided the perfect chance to start a family — and for his brother Jared, it’s jump-started a whole new band.

Dubbed Smoke and Jackal, the new side project finds the Kings of Leon bassist working with Mona vocalist Nick Brown in what Followill has described as an effort to keep himself from getting bored during the hiatus.

Talking to Rolling Stone about Smoke and Jackal’s debut album, Followill admitted, “I knew that I would go a little bit stir crazy just not doing anything and not having any artistic outlets.” Looking back on the burst of activity that found Followill and Brown cutting six songs over eight days in Brown’s basement studio, he said, “It was super spur-of-the-moment. Nick sings amazing and I sing horribly, so we figured we could just go down and try it one night.”

Added Brown, “We made a rule of ‘no pressure.’ The second: ‘If it’s not fun, we’re leaving. We’ll go to a bar.’”

“All of the songs were kind of a specific sound that our other bands did not go for,” continued Followill. “We both love our own bands, and we weren’t trying to step on any toes. That would have been weird for us.”

Asked about future plans for his “other band,” Followill hinted that we might be hearing new music from Kings of Leon sooner rather than later. “We’re just trying to have fun with it and just have a relaxed-type thing. We’re just meeting with producers and stuff. I think we’re going to try and start it this year. We’ll see.”

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