Discovery: LANY

Published February 9, 2016

ABOVE: LANY. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALESSIO BONI.

Having first emerged slight more than one year ago, Los Angeles-based trio LANY is quickly on the rise. They’ve reached the top of the HypeMachine charts; toured with Twin Shadow, Tove Styrke, Halsey, and X Ambassadors; and played festivals like Lollapalooza. This month, they’re heading out on tour with Troye Sivan and in March will hit stages with Ellie Goulding. Here, we’re pleased to announce that the band will embark on their own North American headlining tour in May, taking them from L.A. to Dallas, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and more.

“Touring—there’s no substitute for it. We love playing for people,” vocalist Paul Klein says. “Our songs are super polished on the recording, everything’s nice and clean and tight, but when we show up, things get really intense, really emotional.”

Klein is joined by Les Priest and Jake Gross, who all met while studying at Belmont University in Nashville. Upon moving to L.A., the three of them lived in a small one-bedroom apartment, writing and producing everything therein. Since then, they’ve signed with U.K. and American labels, but continue to write, record, and produce nearly everything on Priest’s Dell computer. In December, they released LANY’s debut EP Make Out, yet, surprisingly, have only released one video—a live stripped down version of their single “ILYSB.” We spoke with Klein and Priest over the phone just before they left for their tour. Klein appeared to be the more outspoken of the two, answering all questions except those specifically directed at Priest.

NAMES: Paul Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Goss

CURRENTLY BASED: Los Angeles

EVOLUTION: Paul Klein: We dedicate certain seasons to writing and certain seasons to touring, but right now we definitely have to multitask. We’re close to having all the songs we need for a record, but we leave for tour in 10 days, and there’s a lot to be finalized—a lot of dot your Is, cross your Ts. We’re going to have to multitask when we’re on the road to keep writing, keep coming up with ideas. I’ve never tried [writing on the road]. I imagine that it will be harder. We’re still in the beginning stages of being a band, so we’re going to be in, like, a 15 passenger. I’m sure it’s going to be hot or smelly, just not a totally conducive environment to creativity. It’s really going to stretch me.

THE PROCESS: Klein: So far it’s been [writing] music first. Jake will normally have a drum idea, or Les will have a groove or some kind of programmed rhythm section. Recently I’ve been turning on GarageBand and building chord progressions and synth ideas. It looks a little different with each song, but it’s definitely a collaborative effort.

WE’RE KNOWN FOR WRITING ON A WINDOWS COMPUTER…  Klein: But I will, what we call, “fly in” those GarageBand parts. I’ll take a headphone cable that runs into Les’s preamp that runs into his Dell computer, and that’ll play back what I recorded on GarageBand and that’ll go into our session. Then Les will edit and mix. He’s the engineer behind what we do, so at the end of the day it’s all on that Dell tower that Les has.

Les Priest: In the beginning it was just the cheap option, and it worked very well so we stuck with it.

INFLUENCES, OR LACKTHEREOF:  Klein: I’m going through a bit of a crisis with this word “influence.” If I’m so aware of my influences, what does that say about me? How can I have any sort of identity if I can quickly rattle off every person? Am I just a sum of my favorites? A lot of bands inspire us—either their work ethic or songs they write that we think are cool. Les grew up on a bunch of ’80s pop and hair bands. I love Drake and Disclosure, that’s what I’m listening to right now. But I think we are a very visual band in the sense that I am always trying to paint a picture or make a photograph with the music we’re making, whether that’s lyrically or also sonically. Right now I’m obsessed with watching Leonardo DiCaprio interviews. I’m so fascinated by his stories. I love how aware he was, at such a young age, of the films to pick. Like, Titanic was his first big budget movie and before that he purposefully never took anything because he felt like big budget films compromised the content. He was 16 when he was making these big decisions, these career calls. I’m obsessed with actors, I think we all are. We think they’re the smartest and coolest people in the world.

GROWING UP: Klein: I remember two kids coming over to my house when I was four-years-old and they played the piano. I remember it so vividly, my mom talking to their mom about piano lessons. It became obvious, in that moment, that I was about to have zero say in if I took piano lessons or not. So when I was five my mom threw me in there and was relentless. It was almost like, “You wouldn’t eat unless you practiced piano.” Piano came before school, before God, everything. It went from one lesson a week to two lessons a week, from half an hour as a five-year-old to an hour and a half as a 13-year-old. I was studying classical, jazz, and pop. I did that all the way through high school and wound up getting a full ride to a university for music. At some point, it wasn’t about Debussy and Mozart and Liszt; it was about trying to write songs about a girl you liked in and asking them out or asking them to prom. That’s how it happened to me. [laughs]

Priest: My grandparents were musicians and my mom’s a piano player. I always had musical influences in the house. The one thing that was most important to me when I was growing up was that my dad is this music buff. He could tell you the artist’s name and songs and all these top hits—a lot of Eagles and Journey, classic rock, and even some ’80s pop. I think that’s what shaped the music in my life, just Dad listening to a massive amount of music. My uncle went to the same college I ended up going to. That sparked my interest in music production, that’s what he always loved to do. I always loved figuring out how things were made.

ONLY ONE LIVE VIDEO SO FAR: Klein: The one thing that can screw up a great song is a shitty music video. We didn’t have the budget for it, those things are very expensive, and we just signed a label deal in October. So we just shot a music video and we’re shooting another one, and we’ll be releasing those when we go to radio or when we release more songs on the internet. We always have a plan.

FOR MORE ON LANY AND A COMPLETE LIST OF TOUR DATES, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE. TICKETS WILL GO ON SALE THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12.