By Ryan Alexander
Upon listening to LANY’s discography, I couldn’t help but wonder how they so successfully channeled the elusive good 80s vibe, while simultaneously integrating what band member Paul Klein calls a “90s song structure”. I’m talking a sound reminiscent of the 80s in a way that makes you want to listen to a song on repeat, not because it’s hilariously cheesy, but because each component adds a layer of “Why is this so damn catchy?!” The band joked around with me a bit, claiming that, “we were all born in the 80s,” but let’s be real, that can’t explain it. This talented trio possesses an innate ability to understand musical complexities that command the attention of countless listeners; meriting nearly 1 million SoundCloud plays (well over that if the Ferdinand Weber Remix of “ILYSB” is included).
The artful interplay between the drums and synthesizers helps create an instantly recognizable atmosphere, tinged with something new and intriguing: Paul Klein’s vocals. This mixture of old and new, transcending musical decades, provides a listening experience relatable for audiences exposed to a wide range of popular music. For a glimpse into their still evolving sound, check out their newest single “Bad, Bad, Bad”.
Next, I couldn’t help but wonder, how I will pronounce “LANY” during our interview? Enter my personal hero Paul Klein for a second time. He spared me much embarrassment, informing me that LANY is in fact pronounced ‘lay-nee’. There. Now when you run into band members Jake Goss, Paul Klein, and Leslie Priest on the streets, you can impress them with your well-pronounced words. If you want to feel extra special, you could even call Leslie Priest by his nickname Les, and pretend like you’ve been close with the group since its inception in 2014.
Before diving into the interview, here are a few key LANY facts. The band intentionally maintains a refreshing level of distance when it comes to their presence on social media. Aside from the occasional post, the group prefers to “leave it to the tunes.” I suggest you take that motto to heart and enjoy LANY for what it is: a great band that need not rely on more than their music, and some well-deserved word of mouth. On the other hand, if you so desire to earn an appearance on their Facebook page, I have been told that covers and/or choreography videos may receive some special attention.
Was LANY based out of Nashville before, or is this an LA to NY collaboration?
LANY: We all met in Nashville. Jake and Les lived there up until about five months ago. LANY started with just seeing what we could come up with. People really liked the first two songs, so then we decided to keep making more. All of the songs that you know of right now [aside from “Bad, Bad, Bad”] were written and tracked in Nashville.
Paul, how did you meet Les and Jake?
LANY: I met Jake at the YMCA in Green Hills in Nashville. At the time, I was doing a solo artist thing, and through Jake I met Les because the two were roommates in a house of five guys. We became friends first, and we didn’t work on music together until March of 2014.
Jake: Yea, it all started with Paul doing some bicep curls, and then we all just hung around the pool.
Is LANY much different than the projects you’ve experienced in the past? I know Les did vocals for WRLDS, but now Paul does vocals for LANY. Has it been easy to determine who does what?
LANY: We all kind of do everything. I [Paul] was almost ready to hang up music to be honest. Then I realized that if I was going to make this big of an effort, I wanted to do it with people that I loved, and in a band setting. Jake and Les were making cool music with their computer in their bedroom, and I was like, “Well maybe I can come in and write some songs and sing on top of the tracks that we build.” Also, we all know our roles. Jake is the drummer – he’s the only one who can play drums – and I’m going to sing, and Les is going to sing with me. We’re all going to play as many instruments as possible. We make all of this stuff on a Windows computer with two synth keyboards and a drum machine iPhone app.
Does LANY plan to continue with a home studio, or find a professional space instead?
LANY: No, we are going to just do what we do until it doesn’t work anymore. I would say one of the greatest things, and one of the luxuries that we have as a band is being able to make music that doesn’t cost us anything. Our limitations have kind of shaped our art. We’ll work with what we have, and that’s what has developed our style. We’ll keep doing that until we hit a wall, and if we hit a wall, well then we’ll figure it out, but I don’t think we’re going to hit a wall.
Can you guys tell me a little bit about “Made In Hollywood”?
LANY: I [Jake] think we finished “BRB” before we started “Made In Hollywood”, so we just wanted to bring a little more energy. I went into the bedroom and played a something on the iPhone app. I came out, we plugged it into our little Dell computer, and we started messing around with ideas. Paul came up with a little part, and we started floating around some melodies. Then Paul kind of – he needs McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets to get into it, so we got him some “nuggz”. We have little rituals and things that are pretty hilarious.
What are some of these rituals?
LANY: For “Made In Hollywood”, I [Paul] probably wrote the lyrics to that at 3 in the morning with a 32 oz. Dr Pepper, Chicken McNuggets, and fries from McDonald’s. We always make little runs. We don’t like to just sit in the house for more than a few hours at a time because it starts to feel stagnant or stale. We get out, we go eat, and come back and figure it out. We were hitting a wall with “Made In Hollywood” and ended up going to a dance party some friends were throwing. Then we got some nuggets and Paul had some amazing lyrics. The next day we just bounced them around, and we were just like, “Ahhhh!!”
LANY is young, so instead of talking about the evolution of the band in terms of what has happened, where do you all foresee LANY going?
LANY: The plan right now is to probably put out a ten song, full-length record. It’ll be the first five songs that we’ve already released and then five new songs. There have been a few options on the table when it comes to labels, tours, bookings, and all that. We just want to leave all of that stuff up to Rupert, our manager, and let him sort that stuff out. The idea is to be around forever. Play in some little ratty bars and then play in some arenas – everything.
Do any of you have any sort of formal music training going into this, or are you each self-taught?
LANY: I’m [Paul] classically trained in piano. My mom got me in that when I was 5, and I studied that and jazz until I got to college. Jake has been trained too. Yea, I [Jake] majored in music in college and started getting lessons when I was 11 for drums.
One cool fact we should know?
LANY: We don’t send our songs to get mixed our mastered. Les is a [freaking] genius on that computer, and he mixes and mashes everything.
Finally, Do any of you have a terrible joke?
Jake: Here’s one of my favorites: what ship never sank?
I have no idea…
Jake: Friendship… wuddup.