From Incognito to Insatiable with LANY

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Photos / Jena Cumbo

Story /  Erica Hawkins

Styling / Jessette 

It all started with a couple of tracks uploaded to SoundCloud in incognito mode from a room somewhere in Nashville. First, a track called “Hot Lights,” then another titled “Walk Away,” and just like that, Paul Jason Klein, Leslie Priest, and Jake Gross introduced echoing, synth-laden pop-rock punch spiked with R&B sound into the world. “We just put two songs on SoundCloud, and it kind of just blew up in our face a little bit. In that first week we were getting emails from record labels like, ‘Who are you, where are you, what are you, what other songs do you have? At that time we didn’t have any other songs, and then we got together wrote a few more songs to start and it just continued to take shape.”
Now based in Los Angeles, LANY, (pronounced “lay-nee” — an acronym for Los Angeles New York), is on tour promoting their eponymous debut, released this past July, three years after they first shared their music. According to lead vocalist Paul Jason Klein, the gap between introduction and an eventual album was intentional, creating a proof of concept before their first LP. “We waited a little while, we wanted there to be a demand. We wanted people to ask us to play a show not ask people to come to a show, you know what I mean? And we just started really touring quite extensively. In 2016 we played 117 shows, this year we’re going to play 135 and everything that we’ve done musically has just kind of put us right back out on the road. Now with the album, we’re hitting it pretty hard.” Even with the demand for their shows, they don’t seem to be resting on their laurels, so how do they find a life/work balance while hitting the pavement so hard? We don’t really have that balance to be honest with you… Just show after show after show.”
That dedication to the road has paid off in chart-topping success within just three years, something that takes most bands decades to achieve. “We don’t have a song on the radio, and to be doing this much with this little is just a testament to 1) The honesty of our songs and 2) Our touring schedule. We’re walking into massive rooms all over the world and playing to a lot of people. We’re a band that plays live and tours, and gets back in front of people night after night.”


Their other winning strategy? Direct connection with their fanbase thanks to a better command of social media than their rock counterparts. Not only do they use social channels to talk to fans, they even collaborated with Snapchat to create their own lens for their single, “Good Girls”. “I think it just gives you an edge, you know everything right now is about the fanbase. It’s about the power and the influence you have with your fanbase. It seems to be the thing that people measure everything by now. The more vocal you are with your fanbase, the more vocal the fanbase seems to be. Obviously, you can’t sit on the internet all day and hold a chatroom on Twitter, but it is important to not neglect that that is a real part of being a band in 2018.”
They’ve used their direct-to-fan connections not so much as a feedback loop to inform their music, but as a way to circumvent middlemen. “I think the best thing about the internet is the ability to get your stuff to people … immediately. We’ve been able to travel all over the world and play sold-out shows because of the internet, and that’s really powerful.” Taking a three year trip around the nucleus of the music industry and landing No. 32 on Billboard 200 charts next to people you once just aspired to be like can be daunting, but when I asked if they ever felt out of place, they didn’t seem intimidated. “Obviously we’re so humbled, and we’re so grateful. There are a few people that we’re playing alongside that when we first started out we were looking up to. But, I think all three of us are pretty insatiable when it comes to how busy we want to be. We want to go to the top and we want to do everything we can to get there, so, until we’re there, it’s always going to be what more can we do and what can we do to be even better.”





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