LANY’s Paul Klein is passionately explaining to me the importance of the current tour the three-piece are on at the moment in North America, sharing that, “To walk into a room and see people absolutely going through it, and finding a lot of hope and life in the songs, you can’t ask for more than that really.”
It’s this passion that LANY bring to every aspect of their music - which their fans reciprocate with an undeniable intensity.
Ahead of the band’s upcoming Australian and New Zealand tour, we spoke with Paul about what to expect from their current live show, as well as not charging for meet and greets, and more…
We’re all going through shit, we all feel certain things, our lives aren’t perfect, but if perfection was the pre-requisite to happiness then we’d all be totally fucked.
COUP DE MAIN: Last time we spoke, ‘Malibu Nights’ wasn’t even out yet! It’s been so long. How have you been since then?
LANY - PAUL KLEIN: So good! Everything has been amazing. We’re just in the thick of a world tour, and nobody wants it to end, nobody wants to go home, we’re all just having the time of our lives.
CDM: In that last interview you were saying how proud you were of the nine songs, and that you were so excited to make it perfect and give it to your fans. What’s the experience been like with the live ‘Malibu Nights’ shows so far?
PAUL: It’s just so rewarding to walk into a room and see people sing back with such fervour and intensity. I think the best thing about this whole thing is that nobody’s thinking about my life, or my story when they listen to these songs or sing these songs, or they come to our show - it’s very much them seeing themselves in the song. Heartbreak, and disappointment, and loss, and confusion, it’s something that every human being on planet earth can relate to. To walk into a room and see people absolutely going through it, and finding a lot of hope and life in the songs, you can’t ask for more than that really.
CDM: Are you excited to bring this new tour to Australia and New Zealand? Your NZ show is already sold out!
PAUL: Yeah, it’s so amazing! Something is going on down there. We’ve had to add a second night in Sydney, we’re playing Adelaide for the first time; that’s sold out, and we’re coming back to Melbourne, we’re playing Brisbane and Perth for the first time I think, we’re really going for it. Everything is just moving so perfectly and we are super excited. The boys and I love it down there, so we can’t wait to come back.
CDM: How do you go about putting together the set-list for tour, now that you have so much more music to pull from?
PAUL: It’s actually so challenging, and obviously you just can’t please everybody - everybody would have a different set-list and different preferences. There is just this perfect ebb and flow to the show right now, which was really challenging to get dialled in. We put out ‘Malibu Nights’ in October last year then we went on tour right away - some people kind of forget that. We went and played seven shows in Europe, and did seven or eight in the United States, so there’s a couple of cities that we are coming back to like LA, New York, and we did London again, but some of those cities we aren’t coming back to. During that time specifically in Europe we had a completely different set-list - it was fine, but it wasn’t perfect, we were just playing all these new songs for the first time and really kind of getting a feel for it. I feel like we really have it dialled now - there might be a time where we add a different song here or there, but I think our setlist is damn near perfect at this point.
CDM: You tweeted about your live shows recently: “You can be sad but for the next 2 hours we’re gonna be happy.” Is it important for you to make your shows feel like a space where people can lose themselves to their emotions? Almost as a form of escapism.
PAUL: Yeah! It came out of my mouth in Orlando, it wasn’t pre-meditated. I am super, super aware of every second - I don’t let a single second slip away from me during shows. You can lose a crowd, even in the span of ten seconds if you aren’t careful, so I hold onto every second so carefully. I just started noticing, like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so happy to be on-stage. I’m so happy to be here.’ Then I start thinking, ‘I think these people are so happy too,’ and I just want them to be happy. I want them to be here in this room with us and just feel so fucking happy. So, it just came out of my brain and it’s just become this thing that I meditate on and I think about and I reflect on. Every night I step out on-stage and think, ‘What do I want to do? I just want to make you happy. I just want us all to be happy.’ We’re all going through shit, we all feel certain things, our lives aren’t perfect, but if perfection was the pre-requisite to happiness then we’d all be totally fucked.
CDM: It’s kind of an impossible dream.
PAUL: Yeah. <laughs> But if we can come together in our broken-ness and just be like, ‘Dude, we are so happy to be here together,’ it’s a really beautiful thing.
CDM: Is there a particular LANY song that you most enjoy performing live at the moment?
PAUL: Good question. Let me think. ‘Taking Me Back’ is so fun to play. It wasn’t a single off the album by any means, I think every song stands on its own, but people mean it when they sing that song. It’s been really cool to watch that song blow up within the fanbase.
CDM: The drums in that song are amazing.
PAUL: Yeah, the drums are amazing. Jake [Goss] absolutely slayed those drums. I’ll never forget when he came into the studio and was like, “I think I have an idea.” I was like, “Dear god, this is so perfect.”
CDM: The line in ‘Run’ when you say you have, “A phone full of no-one real,” is really poetic. Do you think that forming real-life relationships and friendships is harder in this world we live in today, where so much connection is formed via the Internet?
PAUL: Thank you! 100%. It’s interesting, because I’ve always kept my circle pretty tight, and I still do - I’ve got my family, but even over the last four or five months, my world has opened up a lot where I’ve gotten to meet more people and even branch out a little bit and make more friendships and connections, and am just taking some chances. Most of the time it’s amazing people who wind up being exactly who they are or better than who they are in real life than their social profile online, but you definitely do come across some people and you’re like, ‘Wow, I was really hoping for more.' You know what I mean? <laughs> So it is a fascinating time we live in where somebody can seem super awesome on the internet, and just be the worst hang ever in real life, which is so sad. But it is where we are as a society, and it’s important to still take chances on people. That’s another thing that I’m learning, is don’t become jaded, stay open.
CDM: How have your studio sessions with Lauv gone? We love Ari!
PAUL: Yeah! It’s crazy, I’m living in a house right now that’s just up the street from his studio. I had no idea, but when I moved in, it’s literally on the same street. I could roll a ball down the hill, it’s a super steep hill, but I drove to it, it’s so embarrassing. <laughs> I got his number a while ago and I said, "Yo, I think your studio is at the bottom of my street!" And he was like, "No way," and I was like, "Can I come over and say ‘What’s up?" So then I went over and we literally just hung out for two hours, but didn’t touch any [music]. We hung out at the studio, went and got a coffee together, then I think a week later we wrote a song. So we wrote one; it’s wicked. We’ll see what happens with it.
CDM: For your North American tour you refused to charge for meet & greets, and instead had a way to randomly draw people to hang out at soundcheck, which is really admirable - especially as touring can be so costly, and lots of artists will use paid M&Gs as a way to recoup costs. Why are you so particularly passionate about not monetising your relationship with fans?
PAUL: It was just never an option. From the very beginning, so many people had suggested it to us, because there’s a lot of meet and greet companies that could make a lot of money off us doing meet and greets. We’re just like, "Dude, no." I just don’t think it’s cool. I think it’s the least cool thing in the world, charging money for that shit. So for a while we were like, "No, we’re never doing meet and greets." When we first started, I could walk outside and meet the thirty people that waited outside the door. But it became not sustainable, I’d be out there for an hour and a half in the freezing cold, then I’d wake up the next day sick - so as much as I wanted to do it and loved doing it, it wasn’t possible. Now that we’re in bigger rooms it was important to keep the people as close as possible. So [our manager] Rupert was like, "Let’s do this and not charge for it, I think it’d be a really cool thing for the culture." I was like, "That sounds fire, let’s do a soundcheck. Maybe I can just talk to them." So they come to soundcheck, I literally explain the whole set-up process, I walk them through our production, our LED lights, who does what, how we run things. I enjoy it, I get to just talk to them, and ask them if they have any questions, play a couple of songs for them. It’s actually my favourite part of the day now. I look forward to it every day.
CDM: It’s so cool to see that two-way relationship with you looking after your fans so well.
PAUL: We’ve been wanting to do this forever. You look at people like Dave Matthews, it’s funny, nobody really talks about him but he has one of the most insane, loyal fanbases in the world, because he prioritises people. That’s it, we would be nothing without people, so you’ve got to take care of your people.
LANY are touring Australia and New Zealand next month on the following dates - click here for tickets.
July 13 - Brisbane - SOLD OUT
July 14 - Sydney - SOLD OUT
July 15 - Sydney
July 17 - Auckland - SOLD OUT
July 19 - Melbourne
July 20 - Adelaide - SOLD OUT
July 21 - Perth