LANY has a massively viral song, a new album, and the indie pop triad is still riding the high from touring with John Mayer. All thanks to the lead singer’s mom and a guy named Chester.
Named after two infamously musical cities, LANY can also chalk up their success to over a decade of playing music, relatable lyrics and endlessly catchy tunes. Paul Klein befriended Les Priest and Jake Goss in Nashville three years ago, and stayed in touch after a move to Los Angeles. The singer/songwriter thing just wasn’t playing out like he wanted, so Klein took a quick trip back to Nashville to write a few songs with his buddies. And that was that: “We put them on the internet and it’s kind of flown from there.”
Prior to hopefully uploading to SoundCloud and Spotify, Klein spent the majority of his life learning and playing classical piano. He started studying jazz when he was thirteen – but not because he loved it. “It was more of a chore, really,” he remembers. “Music was all about trying to get a scholarship to school. My mom is just one of the toughest – probably the toughest – women in the world. She’d say, ‘if you don’t practice piano you’re not gonna eat tonight.” Besides his strict mother, the singer may owe a nod to the first girl in high school he wrote a song about. That crush triggered a love for music and songwriting outside of classical & jazz.
Priest and Goss grew up with totally different musical backgrounds, but admirable ones nonetheless. Priest grew up listening to 80’s radio with his dad - hence their groovy, synth-pop sound - and went to school for audio production. “And Jake,” Klein raves, “Jake’s probably one of the best drummers in the world.” Years of lessons from Chester (you guessed it), a staple on stage with Phil Collins and Genesis, paid off and Goss went on learn more at Belmont University. “I picked two pretty good guys to be in a band with,” Klein says with admiration.
While the band is structurally pop, LANY hails indie in that, Klein explains, “You can tell we’re making our music and not some commercial radio producer or songwriter. It’s just very organic. Everything you hear on a LANY song was written by us, played by us and recorded by us. Produced by us, mixed by us. It’s just a real band.”
A real band that recently came off tour with John Mayer, who happens to be Klein’s absolute inspiration and favorite artist. He was quick to tell us that it was easily the best seven nights of his life. And further: “People say don’t meet your heroes, but if your hero is John Mayer, you should meet him.” On the flipside, the guitar god was pretty impressed by his openers. Klein gushes, “For him to just know that I exist and be a fan, and call our songs infectious, and think we’re dynamite performers and players; that stuff will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
On the flipside, the guitar god was pretty impressed by his openers. Klein gushes, “For him to just know that I exist and be a fan and call our songs infectious, and think we’re dynamite performers and players; that stuff will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Klein takes pride in the band’s authentic lyrics. “It’s not too hard to decipher what I’m talking about,” he explains. “I feel like a lot of people hide behind ambiguity and attach meaning to a song after they write it. Whereas, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and I’m being so vulnerable and transparent and honest. There’s a lot of heartbreak that’s been discussed, a lot of disappointment, a lot of pain. It sounds kind of depressing, but it feels hopeful. If you listen to LANY’s songs they’re all kind of sad, but they don’t feel sad. It doesn’t have a heaviness to it. I think that’s just where our souls shine through the music.”
If that’s the story behind their viral acronymic hit 'ILYSB', then fans are eating it up. At first, the electro-indie love ballad just seemed like another LANY jam to its creators. Until, Klein reminisces, “We went a couple rounds of mixes and tweaks and I remember settling on a mix for ILYSB and thinking: Holy Shit. This might be really, really big. I was so proud of it. I just remember being in the Chipotle parking lot on La Brea and Melrose in Hollywood on the phone with Jake and Les and we were like, should we just put the song up now? We did it at like 10pm and I remember the reaction being so immediate. It was crazy. And it hasn’t really stopped since.”
What’s next for the trio behind these dreamy melodies? Klein is finally playing his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma this Summer while they're currently on tour in Europe. LANY’s first full length, self-titled album just dropped last month and they’ve already made it on NOW 60 and just reached #1 on the real-time Billboard Emerging Artists chart with their latest single 'Yea, Babe, No Way' – how could life possibly get any better? Klein lets us in on his mantra: “I have two goals with this band, never go backwards and never run out of ideas. And if I can just do that for the rest of my life, well, that would be the best thing that could happen.”
Photography by Catie Laffoon
Written by Jenni Dunn
Styling by Tara Nichols
Grooming by Jason Medina