How LANY Went From Working In Coffee Shops To Playing Arenas
Consisting of Paul Klein, Jake Goss and Les Priest, LANY is an LA-based alternative pop band. Having only formed two years ago, the three-piece has made a name for themselves through viral tunes and an insane amount of touring (their headlining tour’s sold out!), during which they’ve accompanied the likes of Twin Shadow, X Ambassadors, and Halsey. We spoke to Klein about what seems to be an overnight success. Check out our interview on the bands humble beginnings and big dreams, below.
How did the three of you meet and decide to start this project?
We all met in Nashville a couple of years ago. We were all working on music independently, not together. I wound up moving to LA on my own, just thinking that I would keep trying the solo artist thing that I was doing and it was honestly…I was failing miserably at it. Jake and Les were back in Nashville. They lived in a house together with five guys and they were just kind of making music for fun on the computer and doing it themselves and so…I had a moment in LA when I was playing a show that I kind of wanted to quit music. I called Jake asking if I can come to Nashville to write some songs and see what happens. It was kind of my last ditch effort. In those four days we wrote and recorded our first two songs and then really quickly after that, like six days later, we got an email from Polydor, which is the record label we ended up signing to about a year after that. Things just kind of took off immediately for us.
What’s the difference between the music scene in LA and Nashville?
It’s interesting because we’re actually back in Nashville right now. We flew back here to write and record for three days because we have a little bit of a break but I think that the music that we were making when we started making it, it wasn’t very common. We obviously love Nashville so much, but getting out and all three of us living together in LA was really important to the whole process of becoming a band and informing our sound and growing.
What have you learned while on tour?
Jake’s an incredible drummer and spent most of his life so far drumming for other people. Not in his own band. So he had been out on the road and had become familiar with it. I had never been on tour. I did one tour one time where I played three shows and one of them was at a coffee shop called Cool Beans at like 8:30am. It was awful. But going on tour last year, I think we played close to eighty shows. We played some incredible rooms with some incredible bands, and we played some not so incredible rooms, but still with some cool bands. I always tell the story about how even on our Twin Shadow tour, we were supporting him, and there were many nights that we were playing to no one. [There was one time] when I was hanging off the stage shirtless to literally 0 people.
Have you learned a lot from the bands you’ve gone on tour with?
I kind of hate my answer because it’s “no.” I think overall there’s a huge lack of mentorship and people looking out for people in this industry. I think as a band, when we grow and have some wisdom, we’ll be the first ones to pass it down. But unfortunately no, no one has ever taken me aside and been like look man, this is awesome. You guys are awesome. You have a lot of touring ahead of you. Here’s your advice. Here’s some wisdom. No one ever pulled me aside like that.
But you did have Sam Smith and Selena Gomez endorse you guys a bit.
Yeah, I mean Selena is a great friend of mine. We don’t know Sam. That was a crazy thing to open up your Instagram and all of a sudden people are going nuts. I have no idea how he heard us. But we feel so cool about it. But one day when we’re in a room with a bunch of really cool people and Sam’s there, we’ll at least feel like we know one cool person in the room. So that’s really awesome.
What kind of themes do you find yourselves writing about frequently?
I obviously recognize a major theme. I mean we write love songs. That’s what comes most naturally. I’ve thought about writing politically-centered songs or I’ll read really indie publications and see the things that they praise, and they typically tend to praise everything but love songs. Or they praise artists who have a really radical viewpoint on feminism, or whatever it is, and that’s awesome…but the experiences that we draw from are maybe just a little bit more common. It kind of all boils down to relationships and love songs.
When you’re writing about your own experiences, do you ever feel self conscious about putting it out to the public?
To be honest, I live pretty open book. I have a lot of people in my life who know everything about me. I don’t have a ton of deep dark secrets. Deep dark secrets are fine, but I just mean that when I put something into a song that’s kind of personal, it’s like, well twenty other people around me already know this, so it doesn’t matter. The best thing about music is that one thing can mean a million different things to a million different people. Me writing about my experience, a lot of people connect to it in a completely different way.
Do you have a clear definition for yourself of what defines success?
I think our goal has always been to play music for as many people as possible. You know obviously you want to write songs that you’re proud of, and we do all that. We do all of this on our own. We write, produce, mix and record, and it’s coming straight from us. So obviously that’s always fulfilling, that we’ve made these songs and that we’ve put our stamp on these songs. I think always, from the beginning, even though we were in an apartment and playing for eight people, we always dreamt of playing in arenas and we wanted to be a household name. One career that I look at that’s been incredibly successful is Lorde, who has had so much commercial success without compromising creatively. Something like that for us would be really great; to write our own songs and say what we want to say but have enough momentum that we can be commercial while still really cool.
Check the band out on their Soundcloud here.
U.S. HEADLINE TOUR DATES
May 1 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
May 2 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
May 10 Dallas, TX @ The Cambridge Room at House of Blues
May 11 Dallas, TX @ The Cambridge Room at House of Blues
May 12 Houston, TX @ The Studio at Warehouse Live
May 16 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
May 17 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
May 19 Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory
May 20 New York, NY @ The Marlin Room at Webster Hall
May 21 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
May 24 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
May 25 Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Photo courtesy of Alessio Boni