It’s hard to come across bands these days that have a passion for music similar to my passion for photography. I strive to create a story with my art – also my words – that can be told visually and understood on a deep level. A couple weeks ago I met my match.
As I sat at the Cake Shop, a little dive coffee shop/bar/concert venue, with the trio that is LANY, I listened to their lead singer, Paul Klein basically take my ideas about creativity straight out of my head and made them audible through his lips.
“I always want our music to be extremely visual and to really kind of paint an image for people when they listen to it,” Paul said, “and also just [emote] really honest feelings.”
Paul gets his inspiration just from walking around the different cities that the band is able to visit.
“I’m visually stimulated so that carries over into writing songs for me,” he said. Whether it be fashion, or art, or design, or just an entire city itself, that’s where he draws his inspiration from.
And since he’s so visually stimulated, Paul wants to carry that over into his music and just make people feel those raw, honest emotions that he feels by being able to see them the why they want to see them.
“I always just try to think what’s the most simple way to approach things and I want to do that with our lyrics and like what I’m saying in a song, break it down like, I just love you so bad,” Paul said in regards to their hit, “I Love You So Bad.” “It doesn’t need to be crazy or extravagant or verbose, I just want to hit people right in the heart.”
LANY owes the success that they have today to the fact that their lyrics are so emotionally and visually driven, creating a connection between them and their fans that is very special.
“I think that’s why we’re experiencing whatever amount of success we’re experiencing at the moment, I think that’s why, because people really connect with what I’m saying and what we’re playing and how we sound and the way we carry ourselves, it’s all just very honest, I think, and passionate and very emotional, obviously,” Paul said.
A couple weeks ago I got to see first hand how the band interacts with their fans when they opened for Troye Sivan at Webster Hall. It’s hard being the opening band because the audience may not give them the same attention that they would to the headliner but that night was different. The majority of the room was dancing and singing along as Jake Goss crushed the drums, Les Priest produced sweet sounds on the synth and guitar, and Paul ripped his heart out on stage and performed crazy stunts including jumping up on Jake’s drum set and leaning over the barricade to get as close as he could to the crowd.
It’s hard to believe they’re such a “baby band,” as Paul calls them. A few years ago, the guys all lived in Nashville and Paul actually met Jake at a YMCA.
“He kind of had a really awesome reputation around town as one of the best drummers, so I knew who he was and we all had mutual friends,” Paul explained.
Jake lived with Les in a house of five guys,so when Paul started hanging out with Jake, they all became friends but at that point they weren’t making any music together. Paul ended up moving to LA for a bit to work on his solo music. Jake and Les ended up putting out music as a duo called Worlds and that’s when Paul asked to get in on the action and in the spring of 2014, LANY was formed.
In March of 2014, Paul flew back to Nashville and the band recorded their first two songs, which they put online the next month. They didn’t play their first show as a band until February of 2015 and, like any “baby band,” started off playing to crowds of less than 10 people. The night I saw them, they were playing to a room that fit 1,400 people and it was sold out.
So far, the music creation process has consisted of the three guys all working together doing everything themselves.
“We do all of our work on a Dell computer, Les engineers and mixes everything and we write our own stuff,” Paul explained. “It’s just kind of the three of us working out of either a bedroom or a living room or something like that – we all lived in a one bedroom apartment not too long ago in Hollywood, all three of us.”
That’s exactly how they created what eventually became their EP, Make Out. Most of the songs had already existed and had been released separately so they ended up compiling those together, adding a few new ones and released their EP this past December.
In May, LANY embarks on their first ever headlining tour in support of Make Out routed around a few festivals they’ll be playing. But before that, they’re spending the rest of March over in the UK playing 11 different arenas while opening for Ellie Goulding. While they’re on tour with Ellie, they’re breaking away for one night to play a headlining show at The Barfly in Camden.
“We put it up on one weekend and it sold out,” Paul said. “It’s just 200 people but we’re really excited that 200 people are going to come see us play. It will probably be the most important show we play while we’re in the UK with Ellie.”
The band is just so humbled with how fast they’ve been picking up speed and every experience is still surprising to them. They remember when they played their first festival last summer, Sloss Fest in Alabama, and how that was a turning point in their career for them. They were one of the first bands to play the entire festival and there was so much unknown to them.
“I walked out of our trailer on to our stage thinking there would be about 30 people in this humongous room right, like a kind of open barn, but there were like 2000 people,” Paul remembers. “It was insane, Jake cried, we were all freaking out and it very much felt like they were all there for us.”
The crowd knew everything and the band was in awe. That is one of their favorite moments as a band so far.
There’s a lot in store for LANY’s future and right now the guys are just enjoying living their dream.
“This is the best,” Paul said. “You get to travel around the world and make really good music and inspire a lot of people and meet a lot of people and just have a lot of fun.”
Article: Merissa Blitz