LANY Talk Touring, Debut Album + Working With Ryan Tedder
Not all bands need a radio hit to make it big — pop trio LANY have proven as much with successful EPs like 2015's I Loved You and singles like "WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS." In June, after three years, they finally released their self-titled debut album, and we had a chance to catch up with lead singer Paul Klein and chat about how LANY have grown as a band, what it's like to see fans respond to new projects and what makes him feel successful.
How's the tour going?
It's been really nice. It's cool to have an album out finally and then go on tour. It's never happened to us before. It's just always been an EP. So I feel like the story and the emotion of the album is really tangible during the course of the night. So [the show] feels kind of weighty and purposeful.
Going from only releasing singles and EPs to now putting out a full-length album, how does that feel?
We just crossed over the three-year mark as a band, and it feels good. Anytime you start out as a band, you always dream of making an album. But I think with the climate of music, from 2014 to 2017, it didn't make any sense to come out with 12 songs. I mean, this all for us was, I don't want to say an accident, but it's definitely been way too good to be true. We made two songs. We put them on the internet to zero followers and zero fans. And fast forward three years, and we're doing 50,000 tickets across America. It's been amazing. Every step of the way has been very strategic and thought out. Everything we do has a ton of purpose.
The first time I ever saw LANY live was in Melbourne earlier this year, and the fans were not only singing along but also getting a little emotional watching you guys live. How does it feel to see that kind of fan reaction?
I think our fans are really special and really cool. I've been posting a videos of our shows recently. You can hear how loud they are. I don't get go to shows anymore. I'm usually playing shows so I don't get to see other bands or artists. But some people from venues would say, "I've never heard a crowd know every single word to every single song. I'm super thankful. I'm a little insatiable and wonder why crowds aren't as big. And I'm always going to be wanting more and try to be bigger and better. But it's really amazing to hop on some flight 15 hours over the Pacific and land in a place you've been to maybe once or twice and play and sell out rooms like [in] Sydney and Melbourne, that's special.
Moving onto the record, you worked with Ryan Tedder on "Super Far"? How did that come about?
At the end of the 2015, we were playing a private show at the Soho House in New York. Around that time, Sam Smith had posted the artwork from our I Loved You EP, and I remember that night he posted, "I'm a fan" or "I"m obsessed with these boys" or something. Then my phone started blowing up. I hadn't seen it, but my friends saw the post and asked if I saw it. So it was a really cool moment.
Then we went to New York, and somebody came towards me and said, "Sam Smith is upstairs. You should go say hi." I went to him and said, "You don't know who I am, but I'm in LANY. You posted about us." He jumped out of his chair and gave me the biggest hug. He said, "I love you guys so much." Then I looked down and saw Ryan Tedder, and I know how Ryan Tedder is because he's from my hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He's like a legend. So I was like, "Hey man, I know who you are because I'm from Tulsa as well. And I've looked to you for a long time. I think you're amazing." And he was like, "Oh my god...," and we realized we both went to the same college. He and Sam both came to our show.
Then [Ryan] emailed our guy and said that he wanted to work together, but it wasn't until a year and a half later till I got around to it. And we don't do co-writes that much. And I didn't want to walk into a studio with him [and] needing a song, if that makes sense. I didn't want any of that pressure. I wanted to make our album and go in and have fun. And that's just what happened. So we finally got in a room, and we just worked on melody. He was respectful and my process and wanting to write the words. So we went through chord progression, and then he left. I put my words to the song, and then I went to Nashville where Jake [Clifford Goss] and I worked on it with our Dell computer like how we make everything else.
So now that you took that step to collaborate with Ryan, even though you don't normally do that, is that something you want to do more in the future, maybe for the next album?
Definitely. For this next album, I want to get into the room with everybody and just feel it out. I want to work with producers; work with vocal production. I want to work with songwriters. I have a lot to learn and a lot to gain. When you work with people who are absolute professionals and geniuses at what they do and we've established who LANY is, then Album Two, I think, it's time to show this other side and a journey that builds. I think that's where I want to go into the future.
What's your definition of success? And do you think you've achieved it at this point?
I think we are successful in that we get to do this for a living. We have a very legitimate fan base that was not built on the radio or going viral on the internet. We have a fan base that will be with us literally for the rest of our lives, whether we get a song on the radio or not, they will be with us. And I think that is the most important thing you can do with a band. You build that family and grow with it for the rest of your lives. And we haven't had to compromise who are to reach the heights we've reached. We are not a big band. It will not be enough until we're the biggest band in the world. But we played to 1,700 people in Nashville, and it's been sold out for weeks. And that's important, and that's impressive. And that's really cool, and that shows you we really have a fan base.
I always said this that the goal with this band is to never go backwards and never run out of ideas. I think my biggest fear is one day waking up and having no ideas. So my goal is to just wake up and have an idea of what I want to do and try, and I think it would be a great place and exist for the rest of my life.
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