There’s something particularly endearing about a band in its infancy, and LANY is no different. As I sat with Paul Klein, Jake Goss and Les Priest of LANY (pronounced LAY-NEE) on the lakefront before Saturday’s set at Mamby on the Beach, their relaxed demeanor and welcoming smiles reflected the carefree nature of their music.
Formed in March of 2014, LANY is a poppy, alternative band that reminds you of your first love and your last heartbreak. Their relatable lyrics have allowed them to develop a large and loyal following that will be sure to grow with the recent release of their latest EP, kinda, and their extensive upcoming tour.
Tell me a little bit about your musical background.
Paul: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5, so I was classically trained for 13 years. I also studied jazz. I wrote my first song to ask a girl to go to prom.
Jake: I saw the movie That Thing You Do! in 5th grade, so I got a drum set after it because I wanted to be Guy Patterson. I started taking lessons when I was 11, so I’ve been playing for 18 years now. I went to Belmont University in Nashville to study music, played around in Nashville, and then ended up with these boys in LANY two years ago. It’s been a fun ride.
Les: I’m the least musician out of all of us. My mom tried to make me take piano lessons as a kid, but I hated it, so I went to school for music production at Belmont, that’s where I met Jake. So, here we are.
How was LANY formed?
Paul: We all were doing music in our own right. Jake was playing with a bunch of people and doing lots of studio work. I like to say that Les was the best-kept secret in Nashville; he was working out of Belmont Post Office, nobody knew how good he was. I was the worst songwriter in Nashville, couldn’t get a co-write.
So, I moved to LA on my own, played a show as Paul Klein at the House of Blues opening for Johnny Simpson, and had a moment where I decided I never wanted to do music ever again. Then I changed my mind a week later and decided that if I could do it in a band with my friends, that’s what I would want. So I called Jake because he and Les were making music as an electronic duo called Worlds and they had put some stuff on the internet. They seemed to have a little bit of steam and were making cool stuff, so I wanted to see if I could fly into Nashville to see what we could come up with.
In 4 days we recorded “Hot Lights” and “Walk Away” and put those on the internet on April 22nd, 2014. Fast forward 2 years and some change, and here we are.
When did you realize that the music you were making actually had momentum?
Paul: In 6 days we got our first email from a record label, Polydor, who we ended up signing to. It was in that first week or two weeks when we started getting attention. I just thought it was a joke, you know? I had put out so much music before, and nobody ever cared. To get emails from record labels was just insane.
I think when we put “I Love You So Bad” out, which was our third song we ever did together, there was a moment where Jake and Les decided to sell the house that they were living in in Nashville and come live in LA with me and to give this a real shot. They lived in my one-bedroom apartment with me for an entire year in Hollywood.
I’m guessing that the creation of your latest EP, kinda, was a little different from Make Out, then?
Paul: Yes, and no. Every song was made by just the three of us. We did every bit of kinda the same way we did the other two EPs. But when we signed a record deal we were able to get out of the one-bedroom; instead of using our recording budget on a producer or a studio, we asked if we could use it on our rent, and we got a little house in Malibu.
We were able to get out a live kit for the first time ever, experiment more with sound, and try to come up with beefier instrumentation. So, a little different, but at the same time, very much the same. Still on a Dell computer. Les actually mixed this entire EP, minus “Where the Hell Are My Friends?” and “Yeah Babe No Way,” in a van, on a laptop, in headphones, because we were on tour. Kudos to that guy.
A few people are claiming that you are “Bending Genres.” Do you think that each of you bring a different feel to the group?
Paul: I saw that for the first time the other day and thought that was really amazing. I guess because we grew up in different places with different friends, and even different times, we all had different influences and inspirations. The best thing about us is that we’ve never tried to sound like anybody; we’re really big on instinct and what feels right to us. I do think, believe, and know that we don’t sound like anyone else in the world. LANY is its own sound. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that our music remains untouched aside from the three of us.
What can your fans expect from your live show?
Paul: A lot of energy. A lot of emotion. Even if there aren’t a ton of people there, we always go as hard as we can. We did a show Saskatoon, Canada, where there was one person and I was still shirtless hanging off the stage. You can expect LANY to be LANY – no matter what.