LANY – Interview

Lany © Stefan Kohli

Foto-Credit © Stefan Kohli

Das US-Trio LANY erstürmt mit seinem aktuellen dritten Album Mama’s Boy weiter den Musikolymp. Sänger Paul Klein sprach mit uns im virtuellen Interview über Heimat, die Liebe zu Coldplay und warum sie die am meist verbesserte Band auf der Welt sind.

Congratulations on your new album Mama’s Boy. Did the pandemic had an influence on the topics of the album?
Yeah, Mama’s Boy is a more positive album. Malibu Nights is a record of nine sad songs about one thing and Mama’s Boy is 14 pretty wholesome and hope filled songs about 14 different things. That’s the main difference to before.

You stated that it is your best record yet. Why so?
When we made our first album I knew it wasn’t amazing, some songs weren’t that good. We were still so new and didn’t know what was missing. When we made Malibu Nights, I felt this was a complete album, nothing missing for me. The songwriting  and the sound had gotten so much better and when it came to Mama’s Boy, the same vulnerability I showed in Malibu Nights was even more so, yet not on one, but 14 different things. We also incorporated elements we never incorporated before, like an acoustic guitar for example or a kids choir or a cello. It’s a massive improvement and evolution for us.

Speaking of the title. What is a mama’s boy for you?
Well, everyone thinks of us as this west coast indie pop band which we are. But at the same time we are from the middle of nowhere. So it’s important to have a geographic identity as a band, for example U2 are from Ireland, The Beatles are from Liverpool, Oasis from Manchester. Nobody knows where LANY is from. Mama’s Boy is a very American phrase that is often associated with where we are from, mid-west/ south west. The second reason is that mama’s boys tend to be in touch with their feelings  and emotions which is an ability any artist needs to possess to a certain degree. So I think we do a very good job at that.


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This is quite the contrast to your band name which is a combination of the two biggest cities in the US.
The idea was always: You have L.A. and New York and we are right in the middle. This was really cool to reference that visually and aesthetically.

You sing about the contrast of L.A. and your hometown on Cowboy in LA. What is the main difference between these two regions?
They couldn’t be more opposite. I like the energy out here, most of the people are not from L.A. and these are my favorite people. There is an ambitious spirit here. But there are also people who are very self-centered and are not held accountable to their word. Back home, if you talk shit about somebody, the whole town will know about it and you won’t get away with this. I really like that. In the south you also respect your elders more because they are wiser. People in the south are also known for their good manners.

You are known for a your dreamy synthie pop, but now on this album you explore a greater volume of a sound and it feels more diverse. Did this musical evolution just came natural to you or did you intentionally want to change your style?
We decided in the very beginning that we would never want to make the same album twice because the best bands always find a way to evolve. We already had the ideas of the album in our head but didn’t know if we could execute them properly. I don’t think the album is that different from who we are and what we have done. We all changed a bit as persons but it’s definitely a LANY album. Only new instruments take now the lead role.

I think a unique characteristic of LANY is your style of writing love songs. Did this evolve as well, especially compared to your break-up album Malibu Nights?
I think I just dug a little deeper than on Malibu Nights. There are still many beautiful love songs like Anything 4 You, Nobody Else or Sharing You. I Still Talk to Jesus is very helpful to many people nowadays. These are songs that people are even more connected to than on Malibu Nights.


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The biggest surprise for me was when I first heard you! because it’s just so different to the previous records. It has kind of stadium moments like a U2 song or so. How did you come up with this idea of a song?
I’m so glad that you recognize that. In the last few years I’ve been obsessed of becoming the biggest band in the world. That’s so subjective, but I can tell you, that we are the most improved band on the planet. I don’t know anyone who has made a bigger jump in the last five years than us. If you listen to our first EP up against Mama’s Boy, that is not even the same band. We have worked so hard to get so much better in such a short period of time. So you are exactly right, you! has big guitars and big drums. That just comes from our love for Coldplay. I mean, what band can walk into any city on earth and sell out a stadium? They have this global massive feel. We wanted to channel their sound on you!. Yet, I wanted to leave out special characteristics in the sound because I wanted it to be about anyone and anything.

Lany Mamas Boy Cover

Yeah, I also love Coldplay a lot but they are often criticized of being only a big massive stadium band without any musical depth. So, either you love or you hate them. I think that LANY is still in between, not an indie band anymore but still not that big stadium band. Which direction do you want to go on your next album?
Well, I’ve never seen it from this perspective, I enjoy that question. From my point of view, we are still kind of a baby band with less than a million followers on Instagram, but already playing big venues. And I think we are getting a top five album in the US. So what this tells me is no matter how many fans we have, they are 100% it. That culture is never going away because we’ve been doing this for five years now and never been on a radio or had a song in the charts. If you found LANY, you decided you are going to be a fan. And for me the songwriting will never be about anything than writing great songs. I will never say, yeah I will just write some stadium bangers. We were building this one at the time from writing honest, vulnerable, good songs and putting on a good show. We are consistently good at what we do. I would never write to get bigger.

So how would you define success?
Well, you need a certain number of people to connect with your music to make this as a living. So eventually a song will go all the way. But the one metric that doesn’t lie is how many people come to your show. I want people to care and all of our fans do that. Now it’s just about adding to that number who care.

Are you ok with being still seen as mainly a synth pop band?
Everyone can label us how they want. I don’t really care about the genre. At the end of the day I just want to be listenable. I just want you to think, yeah that sounds good, and I can listen to that. There is a lot of noise out there, especially in 2020.

So do you already have plans for the next album?
Not yet, but I do think that we should do something different again. Now at this point we have dropped 3 very traditional band albums in 3 years, no features. Maybe we will drop the fourth album without any announcement or leave out any traditional instrument. I think this can be cool.