LANY Talks Upcoming Album, Touring And Owning Your Sound
In just three years, indie-electropop band LANY has taken the alternative rock scene by storm. From recording and self-releasing their first EP Acronyms on a computer in Nashville, to dropping their full length album today (peep below) with a major label in LA, members Paul Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Gross have come a long way.
Staying true to the dreamy, synth-y sounds of their hit single “ILYSB”, LANY is treating us to some dope, honest new tracks. The group continues to dedicate itself to live performances and maintaining an intimate connection with its audience, and are set to head back out on tour in the fall. We spoke to lead vocalist Paul Klein about their experience as a touring band, and how their unique sound comes together.
How are you? How’s your week going?
It’s good! We’re doing everything we can to make this a really good release, on June 30. So we’re just finalizing a bunch of designs and getting a bunch of ducks in a row, I guess.
Yeah! Your album is dropping really soon, are you excited?
I am! Ready for this lead up to be over with.
Is it stressful?
Yeah, it’s just a lot of creative decisions. I feel like I’m basically running a glorified clothing line, or brand. We’re doing – Urban Outfitters is going to carry exclusive LANY merch in 20 stores, so it has to be all brand new designs, so I’m doing all of that, and we’re trying to do a popup in L.A. But there’s a lot of creative decisions that go into, like, “What is the store going to look like?” and that needs exclusive merch as well, and what is the experience going to be like. Anyhow, it’s just a lot.
Yeah, I’m sure. Well, I guess I wanted to start with what your inspiration behind the album was. Is there a narrative or thread that ties all of the songs together?
Yeah, and not sarcastically, but the thread would be real life. You hear about these concept albums with these narratives, but nothing is fiction about these songs – there’s nothing fictional about what we do, period. It’s all very real, and it comes from personal experience. You know, we’re a touring band, so we play so many shows – last year we played 117 shows, this year we’ll play somewhere north of 130 shows – and I can’t imagine getting up every night and singing about something that’s not real, and something that I’ve never actually walked through and experienced. So, just for my own sanity and the legacy that I want to leave – and Paul wrote to my exact situation, he wrote to my exact experience, and I connected with him on such an honest level. So that would be the inspiration behind our album.
So how did you guys form this band?
We were just friends, and I met Jake in Nashville at the YMCA, he lived in a house with four other guys, one of them being Les, and I moved out to L.A on my own and was writing songs out here as a singer-songwriter. It kind of sucked. It wasn’t fun, I wasn’t writing great songs, I was pretty creatively frustrated. In the meantime, Jake and Les started making this really indie-electro music on Les’ computer back in Nashville, and I thought it was cool and I also thought it would be really fun to get in the room and see what we could come up with. So March 2014, I flew to Nashville for four days and we wrote and recorded our first two songs. April 22, 2014 we put them on the internet and it just kind of hasn’t stop since then.
That’s awesome. So you guys really, kind of complement each other?
Yeah! Something really unique and special happens when the three of us get in a room.
Yeah, I was going to ask, what’s your creative process like? Do you bounce ideas around, is it usually a slow process?
Most of the time, it starts with a beat or a groove, something that Jake or Les has put together. And then I’ll lay some chords and melody over it, and either my lyrics dictate my melodies or vice versa, but I do all of the lyrics and I write most of the melody and the chords. But we do it all together – we all have our own roles. Les engineers it and mixes it and Jake is always adding little tasty elements, and really purposeful parts in the songs. That’s pretty much a LANY song right there.
That’s cool. Your first EP “Acronyms” came out three years ago now. How do you feel like you guys have evolved or improved as artists? Do you feel like your style has changed?
I think we’ve stayed really true to who we are. I think we have a really unique sound which is such a good thing to have, especially in 2017 when you’ve got 2000 artists making pretty much the same song. [Laughs]
So we’ve stayed really true to who we are, and conviction has always been a massive thing for us. We would never put anything out that we didn’t fully believe in. Yeah, it’s always been about conviction and instinct. I think we’ve definitely, over time, become more confident in our instincts and in our conviction – it’s become more familiar with those things. We know our lane, you know? Like, everyone has a lane in life and we know ours, and we just own it. Nobody will take it from us and we’ll never try to go in anyone else’s lane, we do we. [Laughs] We do us.
[Laughs] You do you. That’s awesome. And you guys have gained a pretty big fan base over the past couple of years. What’s that been like, getting such a good reception?
We’re so thankful for the fan base that we have. They’re extremely invested and that’s the best thing you can wish for when you’re a band, is that people care. We have some people that really, really care. For the most part I think that our fan base is down to grow, which is cool. There’s that thing where you want a band to always be your secret – I think we’ve established enough trust and rapport to know that they’re not going to lose us if we get bigger, it’s just going to make things better. I think that’s a cool culture that we’ve established. So the future’s bright, best is yet to come.
You were saying that you do a lot of shows. You’re going on tour this summer and in the fall, are you excited about that?
To be honest, I know I need to say that I’m excited, but I’m super tired. Tour is the hardest thing in the entire world, and right now I’m just trying to figure out how to make tour the best experience for me as a person, just for my soul – for the boys as well. It’s an enormous blessing to be able to go around the world and play music that you’ve written, and that be your job. But at the same time, the sacrifices that you make to do that, and the inconveniences that you go through is – it’s actually crazy if you think about it. I did the math, and I think I’m going to get to sleep in my own bed in California 40 nights this year. Which means that 325 days this year, I’m going to be in a coffin, pretty much, on a bus, living out of a suitcase, away from all of my friends, no family, no community really.
It’s just you and the band.
Yeah, it’s exhausting, it’s draining because I’m consistently day-in and day-out just emptying myself for people, you know? Just serving them – like, sure I’ll take a photo, yes I’ll sign your thing, yes we’ll meet you, yes I’ll make a video for your friend, yes I’ll write out your tattoo, yes I’ll go as hard as I can on stage, yes I’ll take all of these interviews, yes I’ll do the best and try to write these – it’s just a constant pouring out of myself. So I feel so drained when I get off tour, so I’m just trying to recover right now.
Were you just on tour?
Yeah, we’ve been on tour all year, we started February 21 and I got home May 28. So I’ve been home for what, two weeks, and I’m already about to go out on tour again.
Well as far as the rest of the year goes, what’s in the pipeline for you guys besides all the shows?
Yeah just tour, debut album – at some point I’m sure we’ll release a deluxe edition of the album, because there’s song that we’ve written that didn’t go on the debut. Content is king, so just constantly producing more content. I guess just fulfilling all of the responsibilities of a band in 2017.
Featured image courtesy of Catie Laffoon
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