I’ve never been to Los Angeles, but when I listen to music by LANY, I imagine that it’s somehow exactly what it would sound like.
Comprised of three key members, LANY is fronted by Paul Klein, with Jake Goss on drums and Charles Priest on keys.
They’re one of the the greatest band dichotomies of the 2010 era: you’ve probably never heard a song of theirs on the radio, yet they’ve amassed 2.6 billion global streams.
Since debuting their self-titled album LANY in 2017, they’ve solidified themselves as dream-pop, synth-sheened mainstays, singing songs of love and break-ups.
And in a world where there is so much cynicism and skepticism particularly on the romance front, songs of hopeless romanticism are absolutely a breath of fresh air.
And that’s exactly what they do on their newest album, gg bb xx. Check out our interview with LANY frontman, Paul Klein below.
The pandemic has affected so many different people in so many different ways. How did that affect LANY’s creative process?
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I mean, I don’t know if we would have put out, or even made gg bb xx without the pandemic.
We finished Mama’s Boy and put it out. And we said we could either sit on the couch and wait for the world to open back up, or we could go make another album and also sit on the couch and wait for the world to open back up.
So we chose that and I’m so glad that we did. This new album’s my favourite one we’ve ever made, it’s so much fun and it’s really fun to listen to. So we just tried to make the most of a really, you know, unfortunate situation.
One of the biggest themes of the new album is freedom. Was that something that developed along the way as you were getting these songs together?
I think I was so committed to the vision of Mama’s Boy and it being such a departure from who we are and what we know normally do. But I wanted to really fully commit to it, even like the way I looked and dressed and it was important to do that.
I wanted to just go and do whatever I wanted to do and make and write whatever songs I wanted to write.
I just was like dude, if I’m going to turn around and make another album, it has to be fun. I’m not going to make it like I’m literally not going to be able to make it if it’s not fun. So that’s what we did and we had an absolute blast and the songs came together beautifully and now we’re about to go on tour in a couple of weeks I’m so glad we have these songs to tour.
What’s something you’re really looking forward to about touring?
It’s just my favourite thing to do. We love to play live. Everything works when we play live, you know, everything moves like it should, everything just goes up.
People are excited, the streams go up, everything goes up and it’s just a great way to go out and to celebrate music.
I think it was really interesting in the pandemic like you could write objectively the best song ever, and people be like, ‘Love it. It’s really good. I listened to it like six times, it’s like a really good good song.’ And that’s it, you know, music needs moments, it needs experience, it needs live experiences and without it, it’s doesn’t hit the same, so I’m just excited for it to finally hit like it’s supposed to.
LANY has a really cool aesthetic and you have really cool style yourself. What are some pieces or brands that you’re into wearing right now?
Well, I mean like there’s this vintage site called Grailed, it’s so sick and they have an app that’s really dangerous for your bank account. You can go on there and search basically anything and I just like searching very obscure vintage t-shirts or like hockey practice jerseys and stuff like that. So I live for that.
We’re into really crazy patterns and bright colours right now, like Jake is dressing better than I’ve ever seen so I’m just trying to compete with him. We love matching crazy socks with really crazy coloured shoes and then a cool jersey on top.
There’s a company called Rowing Blazers that actually really love it. They’re a bit preppy but because I paint my nails and have tattoos, it’s like a cool juxtaposition. I’m probably not their target demographic but I think that’s why it works and they’re cool. Yeah, I don’t know but I like vintage stuff. Yeah, no.
I haven’t been to a house party in literally forever. And I’m living vicariously through the new film clip for ‘ex i never had’. Was that fun to make and how did it all come together?
It’s crazy, we’ve never done a video like that where we’re just rocking out a house, but so many of the bands that we look up to, especially from like that kind of pop punk era had videos like that all the time.
We just filmed it literally like ten days ago and the COVID protocol obviously was a nightmare. Everyone had to get tested, it was just so crazy. But it was so much fun, we worked with a great director and I’m genuinely so pleased with how that turned out.
It’s probably my favourite video to date. I just love all the camera work, there’s so many shots crammed into that three and a half minutes that I think you could watch it like ten times and see something different every time.
Speaking of film clips, I remember the first time I ever saw the clip for ‘Super Far’ and being stunned at the striking visuals and the choreography. I feel like the ‘ex i never had’ video really stands out in a similar way.
That makes me happy that you feel that way, the ‘Super Far’ video is objectively pretty cool. I think we’ll be trying to keep that as the bar that we’ve set for ourselves, so to hear you say that ‘ex’ feels the same way is awesome.
Even like the ‘Thick And Thin’ video of me on the back of the car and the ‘Malibu Nights’ piano in the water. Clearly we love the visual element and I think when you really nail it, paired with the right song it just elevates everything. So we’ll always do our best to never half-ass that.
The way the choreography element fits into all of your visual work is so cool.
Yeah I want to do way more of it. I think there’s something so special about when a person whether they can dance or not really commits to dancing and trying – it’s actually a really beautiful thing and it’s very convincing and very believable.
You could be very bad at dancing but if you dance like you mean it, it works. And I think that’s there’s a certain element of bravery that it takes to dance and when people do it it’s never a bad idea.
It’s also a part of who I am on stage, I’m not the best dancer but I definitely dance the entire time I’m up there, and this whole album, you know apart from like ‘one minute left to live’, but even that is like, you can slow dance to that song.
The last song of gg bb xx, ‘one minute left to live’ is quite emotional. What was it like to write that song?
So I knew that that was the last day I had for the writing part of our album, we do have to stick to some sort of schedule. And I was like okay well here’s my last day to kind of just show up and write a song and see what comes out.
I was driving to the studio in Malibu and I was like, ‘Paul, you’ve covered an array of topics and emotions. What is the last thing that you would want to say on this album.’
I started thinking, ‘Man, this could be the last track of the album and, you know, if I had one minute left to live and somebody put a gun to my head I was like, ‘You got one minute left to live’, what would you say?’
And it was a fun song to write. We’re using chords in that song that we hardly ever use in LANY songs and it just has a real airiness but a real beautiful spirit to it.