Interview: LANY on love, relationships, and their self-titled debut album.
LANY open their debut self-titled album with Paul Klein singing the lines, “Oh my god, I think I'm in love” (on ‘Dumb Stuff'), an honest proclamation of love which surmises the band in a nutshell, as an outlet for frontman Klein’s thoughts on love, relationships, and breakups - all set to the incredibly distinctive LANY sound, created as a collaborative effort between all three members.
The trio, made up of Paul Klein, Jake Goss, and Les Priest, craft a truly unique world as LANY, and on ‘LANY’ (the band’s debut effort) - which follows a string of much-adored EPs. The concept of love is chronicled throughout the album - from a proclamation of love in ‘ILYSB’, to ‘It Was Love’, a look back at what once was. The lens of love is rose-tinted at times, and at other times more retrospective and questioning - “Where did we go wrong?” Klein sings on ’13’.
As well as within the music, the trio are just as articulate about love in real life, with Les accurately putting it truthfully in our interview, “No-one is going to hurt you worse than the people who are closest to you.” Their honest sentiments about love have created a fanbase which is equally as loving in return - with red roses having become a staple at their live show, with fans throwing them on-stage.
In between eating their lolly leis, and posing for photos with the most adorable pug ever, LANY opened up with us about their debut album ‘LANY’, the importance of love, and more…
...you fall in love with somebody that you talk to a lot, and that’s who I want to end up with, you know? Somebody that I just love talking to and that I crave their company and that I just love being around and want to hear their thoughts on everything and talk to them about everything and be able to have that really deep connection.
COUP DE MAIN: I think my favourite song on your album is ’Super Far’. In the song you sing, “If this is love, I don't want it.” To you guys, what defines love?
LANY - PAUL KLEIN: I think, selflessness and making an effort. I think when it comes down to it, we make time for the things that we love and…
LANY - LES PRIEST: I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but people say that Paul writes like specifically about love, and I think they usually think romantic love, but I think there is a lot more in this record than just that. It’s a broad look at love.
CDM: You go on to sing, “But my heart is so invested, I don't wanna face the truth." Do you think that the ‘coming to the end’ of a relationship, when neither party wants to acknowledge the problems, is one of the hardest things?
PAUL: Maybe sometimes both people arrive at that at the same time, but it feels like a lot of the time it’s one or the other. I think that breaking up is the worst thing in the entire world. I mean obviously there’s worse things like poverty and child hunger and things like that, but breaking up is just one of the least…
CDM: It’s such an intense emotional thing.
PAUL: So I think sometimes people are really invested and sometimes I think people are just really scared so they don’t want to get out of it, because they’re afraid of what it is going to be like without it - so that’s where I was at when I wrote that song.
CDM: What was it like working with Ryan Tedder on that song?
PAUL: He was really cool! He is just a master at melody and he really respected my opinion and our desire to produce the song ourselves, because we sound like LANY because we make LANY songs. He was super cool with that and he helped to develop a really cool song structure and melody with me and let me write the words, because he knows how important that is to me as well. Of course, he was there to kind of like guide and bounce things off of him - it was an amazing experience.
CDM: What do you think is the strongest human emotion?
LES: Love, it’s gotta be right?
MY FAVOURITE SONG ON THE LANY ALBUM IS…
CDM: In ‘The Breakup’, you sing, “You think you wanna be, you wanna be alone / Just wait until you're crying on the shower floor.” Do you think the grass ever is greener, on the other side?
PAUL: Yeah. It’s easy to get stuck in a toxic relationship… I mean, the grass does grow where you water it, but, sometimes it doesn’t.
CDM: You wrote and recorded ’13’ in just one day, that’s crazy! Does your creative process normally work this fast?
PAUL: No, but we kind of work on one song at a time really - very rarely do we start on a second without finishing the first one. ‘Super Far’ was written in a day, but not recorded and tracked and stuff. I’m trying to think of another song we might’ve done in one day… Not a ton. A lot of times it might take me two to three days, or a week.
CDM: What song on the album took the longest to complete?
PAUL: I think ‘Over Time’ was the hardest one to write. ‘Hericane’ might have taken a while.
LES: ‘It Was Love’ took a long time, we had that synth solo before any words or anything.
LANY - JAKE GOSS: Oh yeah, we had that track from beginning to end basically for months.
CDM: You’ve said in a past interview that you don’t make songs for radio, and that you don’t want to change your sound for radio--
PAUL: No, no, not that we don’t want to, but we just don’t naturally make songs that sound like pop radio.
CDM: You guys are obviously doing fine without major radio support. What are your thoughts on the importance of radio in modern day artist’s careers?
PAUL: I think we’d be ignorant if we said radio was dead, it’s not dead. Literally tens, if not hundreds of millions of people listen to the radio. We’d love it if radio wanted to take a chance and play our songs, but we’re not going to change who we are or what we sound like to get that radio play. It would be nice to see some radio DJs play something that sounds a little different than everything they play all the time-- it would be extremely beneficial to our growth and our reach if we got on the radio. I think what we’ve always said is that we’ll never live and die by the radio.
CDM: Streaming is so huge and you guys do amazing in that. It’s proof that you don’t really need radio, ‘cuz you guys have managed to come to New Zealand off the back of the Internet alone.
PAUL: Thanks, yeah! We’re so stoked.
IF I HAD A DAY OFF IN NEW ZEALAND, I WOULD…
CDM: Did it feel cyclical using another of Jake’s Mom’s voicemails on the debut LANY album, following on from ‘OMG’?
PAUL: Well, we did it on purpose. We put it right before ‘ILYSB’ on purpose as well, it was a nod to the very beginning.
CDM: What does your Mom think about being featured on the album? I hope she gets some good royalties.
JAKE: She loves it. It’s funny. Our record came out when we were in Brussels, so I hadn’t talked to her in a few days until after it came out. When I finally talked to her she thought I hadn’t called her because ‘Parents’ was doing a really bad job for the band. She thought that she was in trouble because maybe people weren’t listening, and I was like, ‘No, it’s peoples favourite track.’ So that’s funny. She literally has a writing credit, which is awesome! She’s loving it.
CDM: Paul, in ‘The Breakup’, you sing “My momma always said, “Hey take it slow.” What’s the best piece of advice that your Mum has given you?
PAUL: Actually, my Mom told me one time that you fall in love on the phone. I thought that was... I think she’s right. What she means by that, is that you fall in love with somebody that you talk to a lot, and that’s who I want to end up with, you know? Somebody that I just love talking to and that I crave their company and that I just love being around and want to hear their thoughts on everything and talk to them about everything and be able to have that really deep connection.
CDM: Did she teach you a lot about love?
PAUL: No… I don’t think so. But she said a few things to me that are pretty good.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT PAUL IS…
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT JAKE IS…
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT LES IS…
CDM: Do you think love has changed a lot over the generations? Like, the way we express and consume love compared to generations beforehand?
PAUL: Yeah, I think people kind of shop for it now. I was thinking about how we have these dating apps and people literally shop for people so it’s changed the dynamic, someway, somehow. We kind of grew up in it so we don’t really know what it was like back then, but I hope not. Jake is married; Jake is happily married.
JAKE: Technology has been huge. Les was reading Phil Collins’ book and he was married and FaceTime was not a thing. He had to go to a payphone to talk to his wife, so it’s kind of a luxury to pick up my phone and see her face; it’s huge.
CDM: Do you think it’s harder to fall in love, or to stay in love?
PAUL: I think it’s harder to stay in love. Love is a choice.
LES: Oh yeah, that’s right.
CDM: “The more you love, the more it hurts,” you sing on ‘Hurts’, which is a really powerful line. Why do you think love can hurt humans so much?
PAUL: You start slowly getting more invested... you got more skin in the game, so in the beginning when you are still sort of thinking about liking somebody and you might even be guilty of overlooking the red flags because you’re just like, ‘Ah, I’m not really, you know…’ You get six and a half months later and you’re into it and you’re like, ‘Holy crap.’
LES: I don’t mean this to sound depressing, but no-one is going to hurt you worse than the people who are closest to you, because you hold them in such high regard and you expect things out of them. It’s just the way it is. It’s tough.
CDM: Do you think this fear of hurt, makes people afraid of love? Some people love being in love, and some people are terrified of it.
PAUL: Yeah definitely, I’ve been starting to notice it myself. I used to love being in love, and now I’m like, ‘Oh god, I want to be alone for the rest of my life!’ <laughs> Nah, I don’t wanna be like that, I’m not like that, I’m just saying, of course people have those thoughts.
CDM: ‘Hurts’ also contains a lyrical reference to ‘pink skies’ - what was it about that song that made you want to refer back to the 2016 song?
PAUL: I think it’s pretty clever. John Mayer doesn’t necessarily do it, but he inspires me so much in just how purposeful and thoughtful he is with his words. I thought it would be really cool to bring a full-circle moment and I’m really happy that our fans have kind of acknowledged that and recognised that. It’s fun to do that kind of stuff. I mean, you want to have fun with it. You want to create these moments for our listeners so they’re like, ‘Ahhh, yeah!’
CDM: Paul, you’ve said that for the writing of this album you had to pull from past emotional experiences - was it ever difficult to re-visit these experiences when trying to turn them into songs?
PAUL: I don’t know if I found it hard, I think I was kind of just like, 'This is what it is.' It wasn’t like counselling for me or anything, it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh this is good for me to revisit this and get this stuff out!’ It was more kind of just a challenge that I was willing to take on. I thought that there were important elements and stories that were in my past that I haven’t really discussed or covered yet lyrically and I thought it would be a good time to do it.
CDM: Les, you mix all of LANY’s music, and went to production-school. How collaborative is the LANY production process with Jake and Paul?
LES: Well, for one, Paul sends me the longest mix notes of anybody in the history of the world, but it’s a brilliant thing. He knows what he wants and that’s how we do things, it’s all give and take. Honestly, it’s the best process I have ever been a part of in making music.
CDM: Do you always explore new production elements?
LES: I don’t know that we purposefully explore that, but our techniques are not usually down the middle. The way we do things is pretty unorthodox.
CDM: When one of our writers interviewed you in London last year, you talked about how you’d written a little idea with Troye Sivan. Will that writing ever see the light of day?
PAUL: It hasn’t. He just came up to the apartment one day and we had a really good time with him, I think it kind of ended there, I don’t know why. We love him so much! I just saw him recently like a month ago at a little party and it was the first time I’d had seen him since we had been off tour with him. We love him!
CDM: Visuals seem so important to the LANY aesthetic. How does the visual process work for you? Do you do it alongside while making the music, or do you do it after you’ve made the music?
PAUL: I think it’s retrospective. I think for us, songs always come first. We’d be nothing without songs. It’s more once the songs are done we try to figure out how we can emphasise and almost even embellish what we have just made with our sound by visuals.
CDM: Do you guys have any new music videos on the way or anything?
PAUL: No, but we have been told that we need to start thinking about the concept for ‘Super Far’. We are going to be on the road in Asia until the first week of September, and then Les gets married. We’re going to figure it out, but I’d like to do something where all three of us are kind of maybe dancing with choreography - choreographed dancing, but in a cool way! I think it’d be amazing.
CDM: If LANY was an acronym (which is not Los Angeles, New York), what would each letter stand for?
JAKE: Love. Aesthetic. Nostalgic. Yawny?
LES: Yawny? <laughs>
PAUL: You could put youthful or young. What about, Yours?
LES: Yours? I like that.
LANY’s debut album ‘LANY’ is out now - click here to purchase.
Watch the ‘Good Girls’ music video below…