LANY’s self-titled debut album came out in 2017. In October of 2018, they released their sophomore album, Malibu Nights. LANY is well on their way to becoming the biggest band in the world. Just a month ago, the trio unveiled visuals for “okay,” which is the collaboration they did with GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter, Julia Michaels. The video has already racked up over 4.7 million views on YouTube. Their music has been streamed over 1.8 billion times, and they continue to sell out venues around the world.
Paul Klein (piano, guitar), Les Priest (keyboards, guitar), and Jake Goss (drums) are currently in the midst of a 100 date world tour. The band is now getting ready to wrap up the North American leg. June 25, they’ll be at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA, June 27 they play the Greek Theatre in L.A., and on Friday, June 28, they’ll close things out at the Shrine (tickets here).
“I don't know why you do it if not for the music,” Klein tells AXS over the phone during their stop in Seattle. “I’m in it for the music. I’m not in it for anything else.”
AXS: You’ve got to love it with your whole heart to do this.
Paul Klein: Absolutely.
AXS: So, your band name is an acronym for L.A. and New York. For you, personally, what do you love most about each city?
PK: New York is like the greatest city on the planet. Every time I go, the energy is just undeniable. I think L.A., obviously the weather, it kind of goes without saying. I lived in Malibu for three years. I don't think I took the ocean for granted, but I definitely didn't realize how much I needed it. So, I’m trying to move back to the water.
AXS: While we’re on the topic of Malibu and beaches, let’s talk about “okay.” How did your collaboration with Julia Michaels happen?
PK: It was January of 2018. I was writing songs for Malibu Nights. I came into 2018 very open-minded. I really wanted to try working with other songwriters, take some chances, and see what would happen. She was one of the writers that was on my list and was willing to go in a room with me. We spent two days together, just her and me. The first day, we wrote a song called “okay.” On the second day, we wrote another song. It was a really beautiful experience. It was a really bad time in my life. I had a lot to discuss and get off my chest, which is kind of the perfect scenario for writing songs - being pretty sad. But, we had a great time. I knew the song was excellent. I loved the song, but I knew that she had to sing on it as well. Her voice with mine just - it really made that song work. It was important to me, and to us that we put out a second album with no features; just to let people know that this is who we are, and this is what we do. But, once the album came out, I was like, that’d be cool to release that song, and have a feature. So that's our first ever collab-feature anything.
AXS: So, does that mean we can expect more collaborations?
PK: I think. I have such an interesting take on it. I mean, it's rare that people don't collab now. I think when it first started, it was really fun - like wow, I would never put those two together, and that's really cool. But, now it's kind of just noisy, and I feel like people are losing their artistic identity. Now [people have] got like 10 songs with 10 other artists. That's why I was so careful. I was hesitant about putting out something like that. But, I think when you're selective, and you do it with people that you really respect, and you really love, and you're not doing it to mooch off somebody else's fan base, then it's a beautiful, honest expression. But, there are a few artists that I would love to work with and see what would happen.
AXS: Since you’re on tour, let’s talk about your live shows. How would you describe what a LANY show feels like?
PK: We've worked really hard to be good live. I remember, before we ever played our first show, we spent 20 days in basically a glorified concrete box just playing and rehearsing. I would set up GoPros around the room. I wanted to get all the angles right. So, right now we're more than halfway through our 100-day world tour. I don't know that many bands that play 100 shows a year, but we do. We played 135 in 2017. We’ve played a lot of shows, and we spent a lot of time up there. We're always getting better, and we're always trying to improve. Every night we go out, we try to one-up ourselves. I think the songs really come to life; maybe take on a new life, live. It just becomes this really beautiful body of work for like an hour and 20 minutes. We pick the set list perfectly where it peaks and valleys at the right moment. At the end, it's just this massive crescendo.
AXS: So, you’re almost done with this stretch of the tour. What are you going to do next?
PK: We get like 10 days to sleep, breathe, and do our laundry. Then we fly to Australia and Asia. We’ll be over there, I think for almost a month. And, we end in Honolulu on August 17. Then I'm going to go to Nashville in September, and I'm going to write our third album.
AXS: Wow. So, where are you pulling your inspiration from for this one; or do you even know yet?
PK: I'm always thinking and always writing. I have a running list of concepts and one-liners; stuff like that. But, I'm going to Nashville because I'm just really big on songs. There are so many songs out there that aren’t good songs. There’s just so much noise, and nobody's saying anything. Lyrically, it's so important to me - and this fan base. We built this whole thing actually off of words if you really break it down. Like, if you go to LANY show, everyone knows every single word; that’s just part of the culture. It’s because the songs mean something. So there’s a short list of five people in Nashville that I am just super into writing with. It will be very heavy concept-centric songs; like every song is going be packed with a ton of like lyrical muscle, if that makes sense.
Tickets to see LANY at the Shrine, in Los Angeles, on June 28, are available here at AXS. You can stay up-to-date with them via social media. In fact, Klein says that he is the one who actually runs the band’s socials. “I write all the captions, I favorite all tweets, I see everything,” he tells AXS.