Wednesday night I was one of the lucky many that got to see LANY perform. They opened for Troye Sivan and the crowd went crazy. Most people were pretty well-versed in LANY and Sivan’s music- a note I made during the audience accompaniment. And if you hadn’t heard of them you before, well that’s what we here at ATYPICALSOUNDS are for! Constantly contributing to the ever growing “need-to-listen” playlist you have saved on your Spotify/Soundcloud/etc.
There were so many factors that made this show awesome; Jake Goss’s impeccable drumming, Les Priest’s heartfelt keyboard playing and harmonious back up vocals, Paul Klein’s sultry voice combined with his James Dean look and Jim Morrison spirit that radiated off the stage. It’d be a gamble to try to resist the “Damn, this is really good” reflex.
Thursday morning, I caught up with LANY over an entertaining and hilarious brunch in the East Village.
How did the band come together?
PK: Jake kind of had a pretty great reputation in Nashville as an incredible studio musician drummer and he had been out on the road with a lot of people in Nashville. And when I lived in Nashville I was pretty intimidated by all the success everyone else was having and I wasn’t. So, I never ever thought to approach Jake and be like, ‘Hey… should we play some music together?’ Because it just felt like a way different caliber. But we became friends (they met at the YMCA) and he lived in a house with four other guys (one of them being Les) so there were five guys in that house and it was fun to go over there and hangout. Or just run around Nashville, go get dinner and whatever. So, I think for the longest time it was just about being friends. It still is just about being friends but one day I found the balls to ask him if I could be in a band.
And what did you say?
JG: Oh, a thousand percent, yes.
What inspired the album? And the album title?
PK: Most of those songs were written and were on like previous releases. Basically, we started growing as a band and realized that, wow, we have like ten different releases on our Spotify and its kind of confusing. For a long time we were just putting out a song at a time. So, we decided to compile everything that we have into two EP’s. One was already existing called I Loved You and then the new EP which is called Make Out. It was a bunch of songs we had already written and recorded and released. We added one track called “Kiss” that serves as almost a hidden track. And we did a version of “ILYSB” stripped down. I just remember somebody saying to me, ‘You guys make make-out music.’ I thought that was the best thing ever. We had a few ideas for this but we settled on Make Out.
What has the been the biggest challenge for you guys as a band?
PK: Just a lot to do. We are very hands on. So as things continue to take off and grow there’s more responsibility and there’s more things to do. We make all of our own graphics, we make all of our own music, write our songs, mix them, produce them. We do our best to write all the treatments for our music videos. We don’t outsource anything.
Are you going to continue to work out of a bedroom/home studio?
PK: We moved to a little house out in Malibu for the time being to work on this record. We were living in a one bedroom apartment just the three of us. Obviously there’s no room for real drums or anything like that. So we got into a little house and Jake’s drums have been in the kitchen for about four months. We are expanding but just recently we did try to go to a little studio and it just didn’t work. We just have our system. We have the way we know how to make music.
What is a hobby outside of music that rejuvenates your creativity and music?
JG: Movies. We love going to the movies together. We’re really inspired by that. We talk a lot about the movie ‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ just because, visually, the cinematography and the soundtrack are beautiful. Just really inspiring. I love going to the movies and taking away from movies.
PK: I like taking showers.
JG: I like to exercise and sometimes I get to run on the beach when we’re out in Malibu. That kind of stuff.
How did you end up doing shows with Troye Sivan?
PK: We are on the same management team but I don’t know when that happened. He came to our first show in Hollywood. He was there and we’ve just always stayed in touch. He even came to our apartment one afternoon and wrote a song with us. We love him so much. All of these shows with him have really been incredible.
How did you end up with Polydor Records?
PK: Polydor, it’s funny because when we put our first two songs on the internet, we did that in April 2014, within six days we got a first email from a record company and it was Polydor. However, they weren’t in the picture until later. There was a time when we were really trying to decide between a few different labels and at the very last second they came in and it just felt like the right fit. We flew over to London and we met this guy named Ferdy who runs everything over at Polydor. It just felt like where we should be. We love our entire team, they work incredibly hard for us. We’re super thankful.
Do you have any preshow rituals?
PK: We just say a little prayer before we go out. Team huddle.
Les, last night I saw after the very last song you closed your eyes and it seemed like you were kind of just meditating.
LP: I was probably just soaking in Paul’s awesome vocals.
JG: Yeah, it’s a heavy moment where he’s singing there at the end by himself.
LP: That’s cool because I didn’t even realize that. I was just feeling it I guess.
Can you each tell me three facts about yourselves that you feel the world should know?
PK: 1) I have a hard time going to sleep. 2) I love very sugary, girly coffee drinks. (Laughs) 3) Just got my third tattoo four days ago. It’s my handwriting. It says thanks in cursive—THX! We actually all got our own version of thanks. To remember to always be thankful and never become jaded and burnt out. You know what I mean? Just always approaching things with gratitude.
LP: 1) I’m left handed. 2) I’m from Missouri 3) I have five tattoos. Boom.
JG: 1) When I was born my name was Scott. So now it’s Jake. My parents changed their minds when I was 6 months old and decided to change it to Jake. 2) I’ve been married just over a month. 3) I did a marimba solo at church my senior year of high school and my fly was unzipped…and they had two screens. Whaddup.
What would each of you say your spirit animal is and why?
PK: Can you define spirit animal?
What animal do you feel really resonates with your soul?
PK: Yeah! Maybe a black panther. Because they’re kind of rare I feel and they look great. I love that black fur.
LP: I’m going to go with the wolf just because you always think of the lone wolf, you know, kind of solitary. That’s kind of me.
JG: Oh gosh. Uh…um…I’m going to go with….this is tough man. I’m trying to think of an animal that is just tender and cozy. (Everyone laughs) I had a dog like that. A German shepherd. Her name was Amber, which, was hilarious. I’ll go with a German shepherd.
What is one of the funniest things that has happened to LANY thus far?
PK: Well Jake is really funny. So anything he does is really funny but… *pause for giggles* He did trip on stage a couple shows ago. I saw it and I acted like it wasn’t happening and I think we forgot to address it until like two days later.
JG: Yeah like right center stage I was the first one who was walking out. Tripped over a hard cord and just almost fell.
Did the crowd notice?
JG: Oh yeah. But I had my ears in and I didn’t look at anyone for the first thirty seconds. Because if I would have turned around Paul would have been dying and then I would have tripped into the crowd because I would have been crying laughing.
PK: Another story is, from still very early on I think we had played honestly less than 20 shows and we had this opportunity to play The Mayan in L.A. with a band called Milky Chance. It was sold out and they were going to let us open up for them and you know there were fourteen hundred people in that room, I mean we were stoked. But something happened with the sound board during sound check so we didn’t get a sound check. I think someone spilled ice on the main board. Milky Chance is German so their in-ear monitor guy is running sound for us like way behind us. So he’s running sound for a room and he can’t even – he can’t speak English. Nothing was working. It was hilarious. It was basically me singing a vocal solo for thirty minutes while Jake also had a drum solo. It was the worst night ever but now it’s funny. It was probably the most hilarious show we’ve ever played.
JG: On our first tour, you know some bands go out and they have crazy road stories because they’re just young and doing dumb stuff. It was our first tour together and I remember we were at a hotel and I think we turned into the wrong lot for a different hotel. And instead of going out into the road Paul was like, ‘Guys, let’s go over this curb.’ He was like ‘come on we got to make some memories!’ So, we drove over a curb ’cause we’re hard.
What’s up next for you guys? What’s your dream for LANY?
PK: We’re going on a.. *His eyes intently focus on a delicious plate of eggs* I’m going to go ahead and order that too. Scambled eggs and bacon. *He points to the salad portion of the plate* but I don’t need any of that green stuff. *Chuckles. Paul gets back to the interview* Sorry about that intermission.
We are going to do our first headline tour which is exciting. For the last year we’ve just been out supporting people. Which is awesome. We’ve loved it. It’s gotten us in front of a lot of really cool and different people. But yeah, we’re going on our first headline run in May and it’s exciting because things are selling out. LA sold out in three minutes which is nuts. I just think we have the best fans in the world. We used to go on tour and I would be like man, Halsey has the craziest fans ever! And look at Troy’s fans and they really do but a lot of them have become ours as well. I think that’s really been past down to us. We’ve always dreamt really big. I mean I say that I didn’t know if anyone would listen to us in the beginning but deep down in my heart I was hoping that we would one day sell out arenas. You know? So I think we really want to be a household name and we’re not interested in being indie or artsy or too cool for school. We want to make music that feels really, really good and resonates with a lot of people while staying true to our artistic convictions.
It’s safe to say that LANY is going nowhere but up and will be around for awhile. Make sure to check their site HERE to find out when they’re coming to a city near you. If you haven’t heard them yet, do your ears and soul a serious favor and check out their E.P’s Make Out and I Loved You below.