We learn a little more about Cali Pop up-and-comers LANY.
LANY, which, by the way, you pronounce “lay-nee” and which, in case you were wondering, refers to the groups cross country credentials (as in Los Angeles – New York), are the three piece currently based in LA who are on a mission to storm the world with their up-beat, synth infused pop. We all know there are plenty of bands who claim to desire nothing more than being able to perform in dive bars to hardcore Indie crowds whilst secretly yearning for platinum records. How refreshing then, that LANY are totally honest about craving mainstream success and, quite simply, getting as many people as possible listening to their music as possible.
It shouldn’t be too hard a task for the trio (Paul Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Goss), because their unique brand of crispy, well-polished, but nonetheless intelligent music is nothing if not instantly likeable. With two EPs under their belt already, their currently working on their debut album – and generally making as much music as possible. For now, though, they’re riding high off the release of their debut single “Where The Hell Are My Friends”. Listen closely and you’ll hear a bittersweet lyricism. Step back, and you’re in for sheer, addictive Pop goodness. Either way, it’s a winner. Over a transatlantic line we got chatting to these future chart toppers about their beginnings, recording on an antique DELL, and why Friday night ravioli from a can makes for powerful inspiration.
How did you guys end up in a band together?
We became friends in Nashville. I met Jake at the YMCA in Green Hills. At the time he lived in a house called “the hoot” with Les and 3 other guys, I’d go over a lot and hang, but we never worked on music together.
Jake was the best drummer in Nashville, Les was the best kept secret in Nashville, and I was the worst singer/songwriter in Nashville. About 6 months after meeting Jake and Les, I decided to move. I lived in Kansas City for a little while and eventually moved to Los Angeles… on October 20, 2013 to be exact.
With no plans, no opportunities, no promises – I packed up my Honda element and drove half way across the country to Hollywood, California where I settled into a one bedroom apartment that I found on craigslist and began applying for jobs.
I was given the chance to open for a friend. I scrambled to find a drummer, paid for the rental of a drum pad, and drove back and forth from LA to Thousand Oaks to rehearse. I ended up playing a 5-song set in a carpeted room for about 70 people. I think it cost me close to $300 to play that show, and mid-set I decided that this was the end of my bleak and devastatingly hilarious music career.
Meanwhile, back in Nashville, Jake and Les had started an electronic duo thing called WRLDS; making their songs in a bedroom on Les’ computer – a DELL by the way. I thought their stuff sounded really cool and while I had practically made up my mind to quit, I couldn’t shake the dream and obsession to be in a band and make music. Very reluctantly I called Jake and asked if I fly to Nashville and record some songs with them. Jake totally obliged and I booked a flight. In 4 days, we wrote and recorded our first 2 songs – “hot lights” and “walk away”. We made a Soundcloud profile, chose a release date and submitted our songs thru tune core to every streaming service you can imagine.
A picture of Michael Jordan and magic Johnson with LANY over the image was our profile photo on Soundcloud, and we had a whopping zero followers when we uploaded the songs. We have no idea who heard the songs first (probably Hilly Dilly) but we got our first email from a record label in 6 days and it went from there. I thought we were getting spammed or punked. About 6 people had ever given a shit when I released music; 3 of them were my sister and mom and dad. The interest wound up being legit, and it was obvious to the 3 of us that this was actually a thing and we needed to write more songs.
You have a pretty get-up-and-go attitude when it comes to recording: tell us why getting your stuff recorded asap (wherever you are) is so important to you?
I wish we did! In all honesty, it’s not that we don’t have the attitude, it’s that we don’t have the capability. Jake and I are some of the least tech-savvy people in the world! Les is our engineer and he doesn’t have a laptop. His computer is at home in LA when we’re on tour. I mean… Jake and I will lay down ideas in Garageband or Logic, but the only place we really record and finalize is back home in our little house.
LANY…where does that name come from? Is it LA and New York…? Or something else all together?
Nailed it. Band names are important; you have to put them on everything and I knew I wanted a four-letter word for symmetry and aesthetic purposes. Every four-letter word had already been taken so I moved to acronyms and thinking about how I could use letters to stand for something. We’re an American band, the 2 major cities of the US are Los Angeles and New York. I put those two together and we decided that’d be name we’d go by.
Talk to us about the process behind your addictive latest release, “Where The Hell Are My Friends?” What’s it all about?
LA’s a big city, and I found myself alone on a Friday night eating ravioli from a can and drinking $6 wine straight from the bottle. I thought to myself, “where the hell are my friends?” and it dawned on me that there are probably millions of people around the world asking the same question. So, I wrote a song about it.
Do each of you have a separate role or is writing completely collaborative?
The music side of it is completely collaborative. The boys kinda let me run with the lyrics. When it comes to melody, they’re my fantastic editors. I kinda throw stuff out there, and they say “yes” or “no.”
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
I have a really hard time feeling anything when I’m listening to older stuff. I know that statement is practically music sophistication suicide. If a song doesn’t take me from mundane to magical, then I’m not that interested. Like, I’m listening to “iT’s YoU” by ZAYN right now and I wanna cry about how broken my family is but also get under the covers with a girl that I love and just tell her all my favorite things about her.
My sources of inspiration are temporary and fleeting… or constantly changing… in rotation. Like, “Bourbon” by gallant… I can’t wait to get home and put my own spin on that. And “If I Believe You” by the 1975, that track destroys me musically and theologically. Whatever I can’t turn off repeat at the moment, that’s my inspiration.
Five songs that we need to hear but probably haven’t…?
“Wanderlust” by The Weeknd remixed by Snakehips
“Despicable Dogs” by Small Black remixed by Washed Out
“2faded” by RVRB
“Grown” by Emilie Nichols – you can only find it on vimeo. (Emilie, if you ever see this, give the people what they want! love you.)
“Killing Jar” by Marcus Marr featuring Chet Faker
What can we expect next from you guys? An album?
We’re working on our debut album right now. We’ll be home all of April and the goal is to finish it, or get as close as we can by the end of the month. 2016 is gonna be a big year for us all across the board: lots of touring, lots of songs, lots of music videos, just being consistent.
What is musical success to you?
I’m not sure. I feel like there’s a few ways to answer this. We have a few specific goals in mind… like getting our debut album to number 1, winning Grammies, playing arenas, eventually being a household name. If we can accomplish all of that without compromising who we are as creatives, I think that would be true musical success.
And in ten years….where would you ideally want to be?