Music has steadfastly maintained a dynamism that ultimately creates uniquely personal experiences for every individual. It is evocative, idealistic, and even hypnotic; it is an epitome of personal expression. This is especially true for L.A.-based dream-pop-meets-R&B group LANY, who have managed to utilize this expression to achieve a blissful dichotomy of both personability and singularity unlike many artists today.
Already somewhat of an Atwood favorite, LANY has only continued to see exponential success within a rather short time frame. As they continue to transcend genres and work swiftly toward mainstream popularity, it is becoming expressly clear that the trio is not to be trifled with; we should all be paying attention.
Recently, the group found themselves touring across the U.S. and U.K. with major pop names Troye Sivan and Ellie Goulding, respectively, and even had their first-ever headlining gig at The Barfly in Camden, London. While in London, Atwood Magazine had the chance to sit and chat with the guys at Universal Music Group in Kensington, and the conversation saw everything from explicitly describing a perfect day to not wanting to be considered “indie,” to signing fans’ foreheads and elevating the human soul. Casual, sincere, and always effortlessly cool, LANY — Paul Klein, Jake Goss, and Les Priest — have successfully managed to nurture their artistry in a way that makes them out to be both unique creators and masterful innovators. LANY is everything you wish your wistful sonic dream to be; they are the pinnacle of panache.
A CONVERSATION WITH LANY
Atwood Magazine: So good to see you again! So you guys just released the new single about a week and a half ago, and I love it; it’s excellent. How close are we to a full-length record?
Jake Goss: Oh, good question.
Paul Klein: I don’t know if it’s really fully up to us. You’re sitting in our label’s building, so we’ve been here all day talking about that sort of thing. But I think the basis of that question is “when is the new music coming; is there more music coming?”
Paul: I think we’ll be doing that all this year. So, whether it’s a single at a time, or it’s an EP first and then an album; I think our job as a band is just to write songs and make music, and then we’ll kind of just leave it up to this team how we release it all.
Les Priest: We’re working towards it.
Watch: “WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS” – LANY
Alright, fair enough! So I’ve noticed that you guys are all pretty social media savvy; very present online. How important do you think that is, to be so fluent on social media; especially in this day and age?
Paul: Yeah I mean, I guess it’s super important; just because everybody’s on the internet, and to not be, I guess –
Les: I mean, that’s how everyone gets their information, you know? So why not just hand to them straight from you?
Right. And you guys run all of your own accounts.
Paul: Yeah, exactly. Totally. And we always will. I feel like we’ve developed a pretty intimate relationship with our fans and the people online, and we’ll always be careful to protect that.
Nice. And it’s pretty well-known that you have done all of your songs on Les’ Dell computer; I’ve heard that forever now. Have you ever -- or would you ever -- want to shift into a studio? Or do you prefer to do it on your own, self-made?
Les: I mean, there are a few reasons why we do things the way that we do them. For me, the number one reason is just that it flows so much better when you’re in your own space, y’know? The second reason is that most studios don’t have windows, and it’s just not very inspiring. It feels good to be, like, in a house or in a space that you want to be in.
Paul: Yeah he doesn’t mean “Windows” the software, he means actual windows.
Les: Yeah, yeah — sunlight coming in, you know, it just feels good to have sunlight.
Jake: I get that.
Paul: We just have a set-up at our house, and we’re not against collaboration or anything like that, it’s just that we got to this certain point just by just being a band and doing it up [like this], and we’ll do that until it doesn’t work. And I don’t know what it means, what not working means, but we’ll just do it until then.
The three of us are from pretty different kinds of backgrounds and influences […] And we don’t sound like any of them.
Alright! Do you have a favorite lyric that you’ve ever written?
Paul: Um, I need to think about this. I do — I love “Our disco ball is my kitchen light.” I just like that line; I thought it was pretty cool.
I agree. I think that song--personally, I just love how poetic it is. Like, you could read it as a poem if you really wanted to, which I think is so awesome.
Jake: Yeah, it’s so visual. I remember when I first heard that line, I could just see it there in the kitchen. A disco ball! It’s great!
Watch: “ILYSB” (Live in Los Angeles) – LANY
Absolutely. So what was the first album that you ever owned?
Jake: Oh, man. DC Talk?
Les: No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom.
Paul: Oh, I honestly don’t know. One time, we got a Columbia House subscription, where you got a bunch of CDs — like Room for Squares was one that I got — so I feel like it was one of those.
“3x5” is one of my favorite songs ever. And I know that you have all been doing music your whole lives, since you were very young; how has that major part of your life inspired what you guys do collectively as LANY, now kind of putting together your musical upbringings?
Paul: Yeah I think that’s just what makes LANY, that the three of us are from pretty different kinds of backgrounds and influences. Like, there will be times where people will write about our songs and be like, “This reminds me of this artist,” and I’m like, “I’m not sure if I’ve ever even heard a song by that person.” But then Les will be like, “Oh yeah, I grew up listening to them,” so then it makes sense.
Nice. And I know that you guys don’t really like to use the term “influenced by” or “inspired by” or whatever -- but when you were growing up, either musically or personally, did you have an inspiration that you looked to? Like you were saying, you haven’t heard an artist, but Les then maybe grew up listening to them...
Paul: Yeah, well for me, I grew up pretty much adoring John Mayer. I was enamored with him. I think he’s probably one of the greatest songwriters of our generation.
Jake: A lot of it for me early on was like, “who are my favorite drummers?” I was such a drum geek. I had this magazine called “Modern Drummer,” and I would read through every subscription. But one that really stood out was Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers. They were probably the first band that I got really in to.
Les: I’ve always loved the bands that my dad listened to. So, my favorite band growing up was Journey. I know everything by Journey.
Jake: John Mayer, Chili Peppers, Journey…nice.
Paul: And we don’t sound like any of them.
No! But I think that’s awesome -- I think that makes it so much better. I think it just kind of proves that you guys are so unique.
Jake: Right. That’s why it was so fun when we created our first few songs together. It was like, “Oh, that’s what we came up with?”
Paul: That’s why I hate the influence question.
Yeah, I think it’s too stereotypical to be like, “Well, what are you like?”
So, I know you guys played Lollapalooza last summer, in Chicago; is there any festival that you want to play, or are playing? Do you have a dream festival, or do you prefer doing more club shows?
Paul: I think these guys are playing their dream festival–
Les and Jake: Yeah, Bonnaroo!
Jake: I’ve gone like six times just as a fan, so to go and be playing it is just insane.
Paul: I’ve never been to a single music festival in my life. So, like, when we played South By [Southwest], it was my first time there; then we played Lolla. But yeah, I mean, I’ve heard Coachella is sick, so —
Jake: Yeah, Coachella would be cool.
Coachella would be like, the pinnacle.
Les: Festivals are cool because like, people are there because they want to listen to music, so even if they don’t know who you are they’re just ready to listen.
Jake: It’s like an equal opportunity.
The vibe is just there. Do you have a favorite song to play live?
All, unanimously: 4EVER!
Jake: That one is just so fun live.
Listen: “4EVER!” – LANY
Awesome. So how do you hope to keep pushing yourself in the “indie” music genre; do you think “indie” itself is a genre?
Paul: What do you think it means?
I think it’s more of a mindset. I feel like there’s so many different styles of “indie.” You could do indie alternative, indie pop; even indie R&B is an emerging thing now. How do you hope to continue to push yourselves within a genre? Or do you not want to be defined by a genre?
Paul: Well I don’t really want to be associated with “indie,” if I’m being honest with you.
That’s completely fair!
Paul: I always find that “indie” people are really pretentious.
Les: They’re tough.
Paul: They’re always just like, “Oh, this feels good…I hate it.” And we’re not really interested in that.
Les: It’s just too pessimistic.
They can be very negative people.
Les: We just want to make music for everyone.
Paul: So that’s not very “indie.” The most “indie” thing about us is that we do everything “independent.” But as far as like, trying to appeal to an “indie” audience, we wouldn’t even waste our time. We don’t care. If you like it, great! If you don’t, then you don’t.
We have really specific goals…we’re hoping that it just blows our minds.
Do you think you have a genre?
Paul: I think that at the core of who we are, we’re a pop band. We play pop music with melodies and choruses and —
Les: It may be a little alternative, but it’s definitely pop.
Fair enough. So I know you guys are only just going to be two years old in April, and it’s really great that you guys have had so much success already in just two years. Where do you hope the next two years will go? Do you not really have any expectations, or do you want it to go to a certain place?
Paul: In two years, I hope that — well, we have really specific goals. We’re going to put out a debut album eventually, and we’d love for it to go to number one. That’s a goal of ours. We want to win Grammys, plural, but in two years if we could just win a Grammy that would be so good. We eventually want to step out from being a support act and be a headline act.
Jake: And to sell out shows!
Well you have your headlining tour, coming up in May!
Paul: Yeah, exactly. So we’ll probably just be building production for our live shows. So in two years, it sounds like a lot, but it also sounds like a little. It takes a lot of time for things to move, but also it could move really quick. I don’t really know. But we’re hoping that it just blows our minds; that it just exceeds our expectations.
Well The 1975 has seen all that in the last few years, so it could be something similar for you as well. And you guys have some pretty die hard fans; some pretty devoted fans. Are there any really outrageous or kind of unbelievable fan moments that stick out to you?
Paul: I mean, I signed a girl’s forehead in Milwaukee [laughs], which was just so hilarious. I was like, “I have never signed a forehead — where do you want me to do this?”
But then it washes off though! Or maybe she never showers ever again?
Les: Yeah, it was kind of weird.
Rupert Lincoln [manager]: Permanent marker?
Paul: It was just such a hilarious moment.
Jake: I have a picture of it on my phone for sure.
Yeah, I mean, I guess get it tattooed then?
Jake: Yeah, tattoos are another thing that people like to do. Or, I don’t know if you saw the .gif with Paul, where he touched the girl and she [freaks out]. That was amazing.
That’s just -- he just held her hand!
Jake: Isn’t that awesome?
I think music has this way of — you can almost like, categorize time. And I think that’s so cool. It’s just so — I think it just like, elevates the human soul.
That’s just crazy. So this might be too broad, but how would you describe your ideal day?
Paul: Oh, let’s think. Um, good weather. Sunshine. Not hot though.
Jake: A great cup of coffee to start the day.
Les: Oh yeah, a cup of joe.
Paul: Yeah, for me, Philz Coffee. One of those, and also I love — I have a friend who has a Jeep Wrangler, and sometimes on a Sunday we’ll just ride around.
Les: Yeah, a motorcycle ride for me.
Les: It’s amazing.
Paul: And for me, I love shopping. So if I was shopping, and I had all the money in the world, and I could just get whatever I wanted, that would be ace.
Jake: And do you know about acai bowls?
Jake: So in L.A. there’s this place called Blue Bottle coffee shop, and right next door there’s a place called Backyard Bowls, and my wife and I love to go and get a cup of coffee, then go right next door. It’s just like a ten minute drive, and it’s awesome.
Paul: Yeah, and it would just be so good to have my day with just a bunch of bros, we’re just all — like, I had the best day one time in Seattle, and it was just five guys running around and doing the most insane things. I think that’d be really fun.
Jake: And then at the end of the night, watch a movie. Tub of popcorn, Dece.
Les: Dr. Pepper.
Jake: “Dece” is Diet Coke, by the way. “D-C.”
Oh, okay. I say “dece” as an abbreviation of “decent,” so…
Jake: Oh, that too. That’s decent.
Les: It’s dece.
Paul: More than decent — wow, that is so deep.
Jake: I think you just heard our next single.
Paul: “More Than Decent.”
Okay, okay, well I’m going to need some credit for that!
Les: Fair enough.
So then what, in your opinion, is the most meaningful part of what you do with your music?
Paul: I don’t know. I just think, like, all of my best moments in life I think were listening to music, you know? So whether that was falling in love with a girl, or going on road trips with my friends or my family; or, I think music has this way of — you can almost, like, categorize time. And I think that’s so cool. It’s just so — I think it just like, elevates the human soul. So if we can be that for people, the same way that our favorite bands were for us growing up, that would just be the highest honor.
To feel as though one can elevate the human soul with their art is an accomplishment sought by every artist. LANY is undoubtedly chugging full steam ahead toward this elusive goal, and is only continuing to gain speed. They continue to be sharply magnetic as they enrapture with their musical craft, while maintaining an admirable balance of innovation and normalcy. When later discussing the craziness of their noteworthy growth, Paul Klein said as a summation: “Thank you, just thank you.”
Purchase I Loved You. – EP on iTunes or listen in full on Spotify or Soundcloud
Make Out Tour – LANY
Tour Dates for May 2016:
05/01/2016 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour
05/02/2016 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour
05/10/2016 – Dallas, TX @ Cambridge Room at House of Blues
05/11/2016 – Dallas, TX @ Cambridge Room at House of Blues
05/12/2016 – Houston, TX @ The Studio at Warehouse Live
05/16/2016 – Washington, D.C. @ Rock & Roll Hotel
05/17/2016 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
05/19/2016 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory
05/20/2016 – New York, NY @ Marlin Room at Webster Hall
05/21/2016 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
05/24/2016 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
05/25/2016 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue