Lany—the R&B-tinged dream-pop trio out of Nashville—have been gathering steam this year, garnering praise from high profile fans like Pretty Little Liars' Ashley Benson. Earlier this month they kicked off their tour in support of their new album, Make Out at the Troubadour in West Hollywood with a sold-out house.
We had a chance to catch up with members Paul Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Goss while they were on the road to talk about their origins, The Eagles, and fandom.
What's been your favorite place to perform so far?
Paul: I think playing anywhere in L.A. is my absolute favorite. Jake: Troubadour was my fav for sure. Les: Oh man, L.A. and then other surprising ones like Salt Lake City.
How did you guys meet?
Paul: I met Jake at the YMCA in Nashville and Jake lived in a house with Les and like three other guys, but that’s how the three of us know each other. Playing music together came way later. I knew who Jake was and I knew he was an amazing drummer because he kind of just had a reputation around town. Initially, I would just go to their house with an entire pizza and just watch football. We would just hang and it wasn’t until when I eventually moved to L.A. that Les and Jake started this kind of electronic duo “Wolves” and they just recorded some music in a bedroom in their house and I wanted to kind of like be a part of it and see if we could do the same with the three of us and that’s how Lany started. I moved to Nashville and we wrote and recorded our first two songs which were “Hot Lights” and “Walk Away” and in four days I flew home and then we put them on the internet and got responses pretty immediate. Jake & Les: Well, we had been messing around with music for years and years so, it just kind of started out of the blue.
Do you think members in a band have to get along in order to make good music?
Lany: Yeah, for sure. I mean the Eagles seemed to fight a lot didn’t they? They also switched out band members a hundred times like that would be so weird I wouldn’t want to be…it would be really tough. Yeah, no new friends.
What is your songwriting process like? Generally, do the lyrics come first or the melody?
Paul: Melody pretty much always comes first. Then, we’ll start with like a drum groove or I’ll have this core progression and we slowly kind of build instrumentation around that and sit with it for a little while and figure out what we want to say. Then, we write the lyrics. Lyrics are super important to us. We take our time with it.
What artists/bands are some of your biggest influences?
Paul: I feel like for about ten years of my life I listened to John Mayer. I mean like I charted every song, I know every word, I know the track list, every record. He was really important to me. For somebody to be that good at what they do, made me want to be like the best at what I could do. Jake: I guess when I started playing the drums like whatever my brother was listening to I would listen to and eventually I began listening to mainly drummers. Like, Chad smith he would walk on stage just like wearing a thong and play a show and I would look at this guy and say he doesn’t care about a thing… he’s amazing. Not a lot of people know him at all. Les: I like the Eagles. I listen to a lot of classic rock and ‘80s pop. That’s kind of what I’m into.
Does traveling in different cities inspire or affect your songwriting process?
Paul: I think it does for sure. I think whatever you put in eventually comes out, right? So, kind of all the sides of the South and wherever we go. I don’t know how and I don’t know if others see it, but I think like the way that we write is very honest, it’s very real, and we’re all about feeling and emotion. So, I think when we sit down and write a song whatever kind of mood; maybe we’ve been on the road too much, we just think of some cool things or if we’re going through hard times it will come out in what we make.
Do you prefer live or studio albums?
Paul: Studio. Live albums are kind of messy, but they’re cool, right? You can feel the energy in the room. For instance, John Mayer’s performance in Los Angeles in 2007 “Where The Light Is,” that is one of the greatest live records of all time. I love the way that he never kind of sings a song the same way. He always switches it up. Whether it’s his solo or melody. That’s what I think is great about live performances. You get the quirkiness from it all and how the show is unique. When it comes down to it, like studio record sounds better, it’s played better, it’s sang better. The foundation of the song, overall. Jake: Studio.
Lastly, what do you love most about your fans?
Paul: I guess just how vocal they are. They’re die hards and radical. It’s interesting because, we’ve got on the road with a couple of other acts who they have fans, but they’re not obviously fans. They’re the fans that maybe keep their hands in their pockets and they were having a good time, but maybe they didn’t feel comfortable showing it. I think being a fan has this weird negative connotation which I would love to obliterate. I am such a component to being a fan of your friends. Man, if my friend is doing something awesome. I’m a fan! I’m going to buy a t-shirt, I want to buy the merch, and we’re lucky enough to have those kind of fans who aren’t “too cool” to be fans. I think being a fan is one of the coolest things you can be as a human, supporting and appreciating and placing values. I’m sorry, that’s a bit of a soap-opera, but I love our fans because they’re not too cool and they’re not ashamed. They’re very vocal with their love and their affirmation. I would say that we’re very vocal back, you know? It’s reciprocated. We talk about our fans all the time, we love them, we put them first…always put them first. If I had it my way, I would be in the pit with them. If my microphone wouldn’t lean back and blow my ears out I would be on the floor with them. That’s where we want to be. They made us who we are. To think we are better than them is absolutely ludicrous.