California-based trio LANY released a “soundtrack to the summer” with their new EP, “Kinda,” and have been extending the summery hits into autumn on their current tour. The band is composed of Paul Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss who met in Nashville, Tennessee, and have since been making music in Malibu, California, and on the road. The band name is a fusion of the abbreviations of Los Angeles and New York. The simple, sweet song titles of “Kinda”contain a lot more depth in the music than expected. The lyrics take you into a visual whirlwind as they create picturesque mental pictures of cities, relationships and landscapes, all things the band pulls inspiration from in songwriting. LANY also doesn’t shy away from the contemporary characteristics of our generation, making their music relatable and current. (I mean, really, they have a song called “Current Location.”)
Lead singer and guitarist Paul Klein and keyboardist Les Priest talked exclusively to The Triangle in the midst of their “Kinda” tour to discuss the new EP, touring and what it’s like to be a band in 2016.
The Triangle: How did you decide to drop your new EP, “Kinda,” unexpectedly this summer?
Paul Klein: We began writing for what will eventually be our debut record starting in around November of last year, we had just built up a collection of songs and in the beginning the label wanted to release a single at a time, so we did that with “Where the Hell Are My Friends” and they wanted us to release another single. At that point I realized I don’t want to just release another single. I feel like, maybe, everyone does that, or a single isn’t enough and I really wanted to take the opportunity to soundtrack people’s summers so we put together what we thought made the most sense, and songs that felt good together and put it into an EP called “Kinda.”
TT: How was the European leg of your tour? Is the crowd atmosphere different than in the U.S.?
PK: I think maybe a little bit. Over there, in Europe, you can tell that their EP was “Kinda.” Maybe they were newer fans or newer listeners, and that was their EP they kind of gravitated towards, and the fans over there were really intense, well, I guess we have intense fans here too but everyone was just really really hyped over there. I guess that would be the difference, that they maybe know “Kinda” a little bit better.
Les Priest: Yeah we played in Stockholm and people were just like pounding on the stage and chanting our names.
TT: Wow. How do you try to make one show different from the next when you’ve been on tour for so long?
PK: We haven’t been touring for that long because we’ve only been a band for two years and we played our first show in February of last year. We obviously have the setlist and that is what it is and our production is queued to that set list, but I don’t think you can go into a show and be like, “Okay we’re gonna make this one different.” To be honest with you I’ve never felt better about our set so I don’t ever wanna really do anything different. A lot of times it’s just going out there and when our energy meets the crowd’s energy really unique stuff happens and every night is really special. For instance, in Carrboro, North Carolina, which was the last show we played, I had never seen a crowd sing “Current Location” like they had sang that song, and when they sang it with us it was overwhelming and that was something that I was going into that night thinking, “Okay, ‘Current Location’ is gonna be different.” A lot of times it really depends on the crowd.
TT: The production of your show on this tour is very “LANY-esque,” how do pick the visuals for things like your cover art and backdrop on stage?
PK: I just kind of go through things and figure out what best fits the mood and the vibe of the song. When it comes to the album art, most of it we’ve taken on a disposable camera or film camera point and shoot and we do all that ourselves.
TT: How did you decide to incorporate modern aspects of our generation into your music? Like the sound of the volume going up in the beginning of “quit?” and the use of acronyms?
PK: I guess it came really naturally. I’ve always wanted to be a band that sounds like the year we’re making music in. I feel like so many pop acts and bands right now are emulating a previous generation or time period, like the eighties or the nineties, and I feel like we’re robbing ourselves of the opportunity to really define and mark what 2016 sounds like and what this generation sounds like, and if one way I can do it is lyrically, that’s what I’m gonna do.
TT: The “Yea Babe No Way” video seems almost nostalgic and I’ve heard a lot of people describe the video as “feeling how the song feels.” Where did your inspiration for this video come from?
PK: That was the second single that we had put out and we had done a sort of narrative music video. “Where The Hell Are My Friends” tells a story, and we’ve actually shot a music video for “ILYSB” which is really narrative as well. We wanted to go more in the direction of vibe and aesthetic. We’re a California band, we moved into a little house in Malibu and I feel like you can kind of hear where we live in our music and songs. We filmed it on the West Side of California and we did it on three different formats, like, a really nice expensive camera and then on a 16mm film camera, and on an iPhone through a VHS app. Meshing all three of those together, I feel like, works really nice and is also super symbolic of who we are as LANY. We do things digitally and we do things analogue. The cover for “Kinda” is a film photo in an analog sense and then our digital sense is through like, “GarageBand.” [They use this app to produce songs and archive their ideas for new music on tour.]
TT: How do you feel about the strong emotional investment you get from your fans, specifically young women who make up a large part of your fan base?
PK: I feel great about it. It always seems like the younger girls know what’s next and know what’s up, I mean think about when The Beatles came over, all the biggest bands in the world had really intense fan bases composed of young girls. It’s nice when people don’t have so much pretense about them, a lot of people love us just as much as those 17-year-old girls but for whatever reason don’t feel comfortable showing it, or like to express it in a different way. It’s definitely fun when people are having a good time and like, losing their minds to your music.
TT: How important do you think it is to electronically and physically interact with your fans?
PK: It’s super important. Our tickets are not expensive, they paid $18 to see us play, but I think it’s important in these early days. It’s an investment that I’m willing to make. In this stage of our career it’s important to meet as many people, thank people, and be involved in their lives.
TT: Where does most of the inspiration from your songs come from?
PK: Personal experience.
LANY’s Philly stop on the “Kinda” tour is Oct. 23 at the Theatre of the Living Arts. I asked Klein and Priest if they’re excited to play here in Philly and their response was, “Of course. It’s gonna be awesome.” See if the band lives up to their promise and check out this dreamy trio next Sunday.