Photo: Alison Buck/WireImage/Getty Images
LANY Is The Modern, Thoughtful Pop Group The World Needs Right Now
Paul Klein, Jake Goss and Les Priest, the three men of L.A.-based chill-pop outfit LANY, look like the kind of guys you would want to kick it with (and take you thrift shopping). Klein, who leads with vocals, piano and guitar, is wearing a vintage "Sopranos" T-shirt (which he later changed for the show) with several '90s throwback ball-chain necklaces and his bleached hair tying his cool-casual look together. Goss, who plays the drums, is also wearing a graphic T-shirt (it reads "support your friends"), and Priest, who plays keyboards and guitar, has opted for a black T-shirt with ripped jeans and vintage white loafers.
The guys are clearly all good friends and are excited about the music they're making together. They've seen a fast and steady rise from zero followers to earning over 4.5 million views on YouTube for "Malibu Nights," the title track of their sophomore album released on Oct. 5, 2018.
They proudly put heart and soul into their fresh brand of pop music, which I recently witnessed during their show at the GRAMMY Museum's Clive Davis Theater. As I watched, I noticed how LANY went out of their way to connect with the audience, making them a heartfelt, modern boy band with the sort of positive energy the world could really use today. As Klein shared, "I don't think that we're very trendy in the way that we approach our music. I think we're very 2018, but we're very also 2028."
Below, LANY expand further on their journey as a group, and open up about touring, love songs, their biggest inspirations (they love Coldplay) and more.
You guys formed LANY in Nashville, then moved to L.A. How did you meet and why was Los Angeles your home?
Paul: I met Jake at a YMCA through a mutual friend in Nashville. I moved to L.A. without even talking to these guys at all, about being in the band or making music. Then they started this duo called "WRLDS," and I thought it was sick. I was like, "Well, can I fly back to Nashville and write a song with you guys and maybe we could start a band, too?" I flew there March of 2014. We wrote and recorded our first two songs, put them on the internet, and then things started taking off. We put out "I Love You So Bad." Then that's when they're like, "Okay we're moving to L.A. and we're going to actually do this thing through."
So you tested things out and then decided "Okay, we're doing this"?
Paul: It wasn't really a test. We just wanted to make some songs and be a band. I don't think we ever thought anything was actually going to come of it. Then it just started getting bigger and bigger. Our whole goal we started the band was like, "One day what if we can maybe play South By Southwest?" That was our loftiest dream and then we played SXSW within our first ten shows as a band.
How did it feel once you started getting that positive reception?
Paul: In the beginning, we had emails from record labels within the first week of putting out our songs, but we had zero followers, seriously. We all followed our band account on Instagram, but nobody else did. We seriously put out those songs to pretty much nobody. We were getting those emails and I think at first, it was, "Wow, it's so cool." This was back in the day when music blogs were still pretty fiery. People would read them and they'd write about us. It was so cool to read what other people would say about your music. "Oh my god, they really think that about us?"
Again, the beginning was all really fun. It still is really fun, but now the more people you reach, the more, you know. We always know that we're doing really well and when people start talking really bad about us, that's a good sign. But we've reached a lot of people.
You just released your sophomore album, Malibu Nights, this past October. How do you feel you've changed since releasing your debut LP last year?
Paul: I hope that we're always growing and trying new things and stretching ourselves. I think we definitely did that with this album. If you were to look at our growth over the years, it's just been a steady incline. I think we're twice as big or three times as big as we were last year. We measure that stuff. If you were to look at LANY like a stock, it'd be the one you'd want to put your money in because it's always like that. It's just steady.
You have a few more than zero followers now.
Paul: Yeah, it's no ups or downs really. It's just been all steady. I figure that's probably how it's going to keep going as long as we keep doing what we do and staying true to who we are.
You're going to be touring the world in 2019 with your new music. What songs are you most excited to play? What are you most excited about with this tour?
Paul: We did a mini tour called The Moon Tour where we played, I think, seven cities in Europe and seven or six in America, so we know what these songs off the album feel like to play live.
"Thru These Tears" is always really special because of the song and also because of where it sits in the set. By the time we play "Thru These Tears," we pretty much have everyone in the palm of our hand. Then everyone else feels like they're in the palm of everyone else's hand in the room. Everyone feels like a big family by the time we get to that part. That's always so much fun to play and a really powerful moment in the set.
Have you had fans reach out about your songs having a personal impact on them?
Paul: All the time. We get comments like, "This song saved my life," or "This song got me through this season," or "You make me feel not alone." I think a lot of people find themselves in the people that they look up to. I had that growing up and would associate myself with bands, and then my friends who listened to that band and then you dress like that band. I think it's really cool that we can be that for people on a daily basis.
Who are your biggest influences in music, in fashion, in general?
Paul: I think it's changing all the time. It sounds silly, but I can be inspired by anyone or anything. I think we're at such a lucky time in life, 2018, where you can be exposed to pretty much everything instantaneously. I'm inspired and influenced by everything around me that's happening right now, but then growing up, of course, I had my favorites, like John Mayer was my favorite artist and still really is. I think he's one of the greatest songwriters of our generation.
Then this new Coldplay documentary came out. They're so cool. They're such a global band. They're in stadiums literally in every city in the world. We've always looked up to them.
That's what we aspire to be, is a band that can be in arenas in every city in the world. We take our live show and our tours very seriously. We play a lot of shows. I think that's why we're here today is because we put on a pretty damn good show.
So what's your favorite Coldplay song of all time?
Jake: "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall."
Paul: I bet I could name both of theirs. "Strawberry Swing"?
Les: Yeah, that's the one. Dang.
Paul: It's really hard to say. Then after the documentary, of course, I listened to their whole discography. I'd have to say "In My Place."
Jake: I actually went back and listened to Ghost Stories because it came out around the same time that we started.
Paul: "Magic" came out when we were writing "Walk Away."
Jake: I associate that record with our beginning so much.
A lot of your music is about love and relationships. What do each of you think is the best love song ever?
Paul: Every song's a love song, right?
Jake: Any Beatles song. Gosh, I don't know.
Les: Who did "Isn't She Lovely"?
Jake: Stevie Wonder.
Les: "Isn't She Lovely" is such a good song.
Paul: I don't know. That's impossible. [Laughs.] I think that's impossible.
Do you see yourselves as a modern boy band? How would you describe LANY?
Paul: I would never push our band on anyone. I think maybe one of the best things about us is that we are just LANY. LANY's starting to become its own adjective, if that makes sense.
Our songs come from a very honest place. I feel like we communicate our message pretty clearly. I think we pick our sounds really well. Hopefully, they're songs that people don't ever really get tired of, they can always come back to.
I don't think that we're very trendy in the way that we approach our music. I think we're very 2018, but we're very also 2028. I don't think that what you're listening to now you will be, "Ah, I can't listen to that anymore. It feels gimmicky."
love ya mean it pic.twitter.com/EDPjOImqNZ
— LANY (@thisisLANY) October 29, 2018
When you first started you toured in support of artists like Ellie Goulding and Troye Sivan, and pretty quickly you started headlining shows yourselves. What was the biggest change you felt, and what did learn touring with artists of those followings?
Paul: The first show we ever played was our own show, so that's cool. It was amazing and we learned a lot just from that show alone. Then the next few shows after that were maybe right off the bat with this girl named Tove Styrke. Then we did SXSW.
So it was a mix, but supporting an artist teaches you how to be in a room and nobody's really there for you. We've got to showcase who we are. We've got 25 minutes pretty much to make them never forget the night they saw us play.
Jake: Being in an arena and nobody knows who you are is pretty intense.
Paul: Yeah. Then also a lot of times it's half empty because they're going to be for the main act.
We had such a good time on all of those tours because there's something to learn in each one. There's one time we went on tour with a band when we were experiencing a lot of growth as a group. It was weird. As the support act, a lot of people were coming for us, so we learned how to deal with that, where a lot of people were in the room for us, but we only had 20 minutes. We learned so much.
Then there was times we went on tour with a band that they're the kind of band that everyone shows up late to even the main act. There was one person in Saskatchewan that we played just to them. I feel like we have played every kind of show there's ever been and we know how to get through it and make it awesome.
— LANY (@thisisLANY) December 3, 2018
Do you feel like you play the same show for one person versus a sold-out crowd?
Paul: Yeah, oh yeah.
Jake: I wish we had videotape of Paul.
Paul: Always shirts off. One guy in the crowd, shirt's off, standing on the kick drum.
Where you feel most creatively inspired by in L.A.?
Jake: By the ocean.
Paul: I was going to say that, yeah. We lived in Malibu for a long time. We all recently just moved out. I haven't seen the water for a week or so. When I went up there, I was like, "Oh my god, I've missed the water," because we used to see it 100 times a day. I would never write a song on the beach, I don't think. But I love to drive, it puts me in a nice space.
If you could say anything to your fans, what would you say?
Paul: Thank you so much. There's some fans tonight that I ran into at another friend's show maybe two weeks ago. But they've been to 10 LANY shows. That's so cool. You start to really see these people grow up with you. You see them bring their friends. That's what's cool about playing in L.A. and being here and being an L.A. band, you see a lot of these L.A. kids that have been coming to your shows since 2015.
To the ones that have been with us forever, thank you so much. To the ones that are just coming here off Malibu Nights, it feels so good to have you. We're going to do this for a while and give you everything we've got.
my goodness pic.twitter.com/g5dMQvUlMp
— LANY (@thisisLANY) November 11, 2018