I sat with the up and coming California based three-piece band LANY for a quick interview before they supported Ellie Goulding’s Nottingham edition of her UK tour at the Motorpoint Arena.
So guys, thanks for meeting me today. The first question I wanted to ask was whether you guys could tell me how you met and started up, and got yourselves from California here today in Nottingham?
Paul: Yeah, so we’ve been a band for about two years. Before that we knew each other but we were just friends, and everybody was just kinda working on music in their own right, in their own aspect and then I moved to LA on my own and I was trying to like do the solo artist thing but it wasn’t working out at all and I was this close to giving up, and I called Jake and Les to see if I could come and just write a couple songs and record ‘em and see what happened. They were having fun with like, little duo projects that they were working on so… I showed up and in four days we were up and recorded our first two songs, put ‘em on the internet and it kinda just really took off pretty quick from there.
So, I know you’ve got two EPs out, so which do you think best defines you as a band?
Jake: That’s a pretty good question, we haven’t got that one yet!
Paul: Erm… I guess I’d have to say our first one ‘Make Out’. Erm, a lot of those songs were like the first, original songs that we wrote. What do you guys think?
Jake: Yeah, I’d say so. Yeah, ‘Make Out’, yeah that’s my answer too.
Les: I don’t know, it’s not that easy… It’s a good question.
So, a year ago was your first show, can you tell me about that?
Paul: Yeah, so we decided not to play any shows until there was, like, a crazy demand for one. So we just put songs on the internet, and let people kind of live with them and fall in love with them, and it really just started like, started pouring in with requests like, “when are you playing live?”, “when are you gonna do your first show? I wanna be there!”, so we were able to kind of build a ton of momentum before ever having to play a show. So we played our first real show at the Sayers Club in Hollywood, on February 3rd 2015 or something like that. It was er, we did like a guest list kind of thing, it was slam and the firemen came, fire marshals got called, and it was really cool! I was obviously super nervous and before being in this band I had played like ten shows in my life and it was a crazy experience and we’ve come a long way from that. I was like standing in one spot super nervous and now I’m taking my shirt off, playing guitar and kick drums and so, it’s really been cool.
So what are some memorable moments along this road you’ve taken?
Paul: A lotta memories, some really good and some really bad. We’ve played some amazing shows where thousands of people are there and are so responsive and attentive but we’ve played shows where literally nobody’s in the room, and we’ve decided as a band that we’d just go 100% no matter if anybody’s there or not. One moment that stands out to me though was when we were playing this festival in Birmingham, Alabama. It was to the first slot, opening day of the festival and nobody should have been there.
Jake: It was also the first time they had the festival too.
Paul: Yeah, a brand new festival, so we had no idea what to expect. And nobody was playing the stage after us for like two hours. But we walked out, and there was close to two thousand people there in the room and it was insane. Jake cried, I was close to crying…
Les: Yeah, I was pretty emotional too.
Especially for your first festival to get such a good response…
Jake: Yeah and the entire time they were very responsive, like having a blast. It wasn’t like they were just there, they were loving it too. It was crazy.
Awesome. So next I wanted to ask you was if there was anything that shaped the way you guys think about music and the way you make it?
Paul: Yeah. So what shaped us from the get-go was I think the space that we had to make music in, and the equipment we had to make music with. Erm, we have like a really kind of minimal basic set-up. Les works on a program that I think hardly exists anymore, called Cubase and he’s just a master of it. And a big part of our story is that we make it all on a Dell computer and its just not how anybody else makes music! We started off with just a few synthesisers and some drum machines and its just really good and has really defined our sound. I still don’t think we wanna get too far away from that, like that’s who we are and that’s our sound and we’ve been really able to find our niche with that kinda stuff.
Jake: For us it’s like there’s no rules when we’re making our stuff. When the three of us are in a room, if there’s something hilarious that like, like if Les is messing with something or there’s just something you hear, like one of those little moments, that’s like very LANY, we just approach it with no rules.
iTunes described your style of music as ‘dream-pop’, which I also got from your track ILYSB. Would you guys describe your music as that?
Paul: Yeah, we’re definitely pop music…
Les: I don’t know what the technical definition of ‘dream-pop’ is, but it feels right — I mean it’s dreamy!
Paul: Yeah, dreamy is awesome and I think maybe the synths that we use feels really lush and it feels kinda dreamy and dazey and aspirational, so maybe that’s… I mean I can’t remember who called us that first, but I remember reading it and that really resonated with us.
So I told Jake earlier that the first song I listened to was ‘WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS?’, which came out two days ago, which I thought was lyrically, a really introspective track. So what was the mindset behind the writing process?
Paul: Yeah I mean, we live in Los Angeles which is one of the biggest cities in the world, it has a ton of people that you could be friends with, or should be friends with, and somehow on a weekend night you’re just home alone eating Chef Boyardee ravioli…
Friday nights with wine and the internet..
Paul: Yeah, drinking some cheap wine and being like how is this even a thing? There are millions of people in this city and I have nothing to do… Yeah so its just like we have the greatest friends in the world, but it was just kind of writing from a very specific moment, it seems to be extremely universal, like all I keep reading about is how everyone has been there at some point.
Yeah I totally get that, there’s so much music out there about being an artist but just feeling like a small fish in a big pond. So you mentioned your first show was in Hollywood, but aside from that are there any favourite places or shows you’ve played?
Paul: Well we’ve only been in three countries — well four, we’ve been to Wales, we had one show in Wales. Is that considered a country?
Haha, yeah that’s a country
Paul: We didn’t have to like go through any border controls or show a passport!
Jake: We love a lot of cities, but like New York or Chicago, those are our standouts. And then also like Seattle.
Paul: Seattle’s amazing. And our home city, L.A., they’re the best it’s like, we’re their band you know, so we love L.A. obviously.
That’s great, so to finish,what are your goals for 2016 and beyond?
Paul: Well to finish our debut record, and then when we put it out, get a number one record with that! Er, what do we wanna do? And I think maybe if we could do like a late night appearance, if we get our record out this year, something like James Corden or Jimmy Fallon. Getting some radio play would be awesome, we just wanna be everywhere.
Thanks guys, I really appreciate you taking the time before your show to have a chat with me.
LANY were speaking to Shaun Brewster