Good Girls and Female Fanbases: In Conversation with LANY

The rise of LANY has been a somewhat explosive process. To date, the Californian trio have secured a hugely enviable, online-thriving fan following, released four EPs and various singles to acclaim from critics and listeners alike and toured with Troye Sivan, Halsey and Ellie Goulding to name but a few.

All this in a time frame of just under two and a half years. With debut record LANY set for a June release and a sell-out slot at London’s KOKO just conquered, it seems that 2017 is as much “the year of LANY” as they proudly state it is.

The morning after their KOKO triumph, we took Paul Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss to London’s Tate Modern to discuss their debut, the power of females and making the world’s most aesthetics-focused trio feel right at home in a gallery.

It feels as though the UK has taken you under our wing a little bit. Are you able to sense a different between the reaction from UK and US fans?

Paul: It’s not necessarily different, though our Heaven show from last year was the first time I’ve walked out on stage and feel like ‘yeah, we’re a band now.’ That show scared us so much, I remember my knees shaking. In terms of LANY shows, that one was super cool.

Your fan base are pretty wild online. How important do you consider social media?

P: I actually don’t think you could be a band without some sort of online presence – unless you just wanted to keep playing the same bar down the street.

Les: It’s how people communicate and how people find out anything, so it’d be impossible to not have it

Fan bases often act as a safe space for LGBT+ followings, especially with the collective of Troye Sivan fans transcending on you. LGBT+ teens seem to make up a large portion of LANY fans; is that something you’ve noticed?

P: We never started out the band with ‘ok, this is who we are trying to reach.’ Well, besides everybody. That’s how it’s been from the beginning. We make music for people, that’s our thing. Everything about LANY is about bringing people together and not tearing anybody apart. It doesn’t surprise me at all that these people feel safe. It’s great when fans bring the pride flag in to the shows – I think Denver was the first time that happened. I’m not oblivious to fact we have LGBT+ fans, I just see everyone as part of the LANY family. I just make sure I go out after every show and hug them all. I’ll meet each and every single one of the fans for as long as I can.

Is connecting with fans in person a priority for you then?

P: Of course – maybe more than I will ever realise. If you’re going to stand outside in the cold for two hours in order to meet us, that’s just…amazing. I love that. I try to get outside as soon as possible out of respect, though there are times where I’m folding up my disgusting clothes, taking a shower or sorting suitcases [laughs] but I do try.

Jake: We played a show in Birmingham and it poured down, yet there were still people outside waiting to meet us.

ILYSB is the only old track to make it onto the record. Tell us about the process of narrowing the track listing down to the final 16 and why the record is self-titled.

P: There was just no other option really, it had to be self-titled. 2017 is the year of LANY. I mean, 2018 is too [laughs] and every year from now on really. 2016 was all about trying to nail the name LANY into people’s heads – that’s why LANY is on the sleeve of our hoodie 11 times. As far as the songs, I think it shows how indicative we feel of the new material so that only ILYSB needed to be on it. I feel like the tracks are the best things we’ve done, lyrically and production-wise though we wanted the record to be digestible given its 57 minutes long in total so some we had to leave off.

Are there any noticeable differences between these new songs and your older material?

P: Not necessarily. This is our debut so it wouldn’t make sense for us to do a total departure. I actually don’t think it makes sense when anyone does that. “It’s our fourth album so we’re gonna do something different etc.” I mean, you can if you want but why? [laughs] I think it’s a nice progression and an improvement – totally our best stuff yet.

ILYSB has been a part of your lives for some time now. Has the song taken on any different meanings from its original at any point for yourselves?

P: We added a twist to the track when we released the video for it, just for a bit of fun. When we first wrote the song, it was super personal to me but now that everyone in the whole world knows it, I feel like it’s our song. And I’m not sick of it yet.

It seems your aesthetics and visuals are almost as important as the music when it comes to identifying LANY. Given we’re in a gallery, how much do visuals and art play a part in your lives outside of the band?

P: I just love looking at stuff, you know? Even outside today – you can’t beat London on a sunny day. Even if this is the only one of the year… It’s super important to me as I enjoy it so much.

L: It’s important given we all appreciate creativity in different mediums.

J: Even the fashion over here in the UK, that’s what interests me. Places like here and Scandinavia, especially Copenhagen.

P: Oh yeah! People seem so well dressed in London, that’s something very noticeable.

You’ve always been heralded by fans for your merchandise, the latest carrying the slogan “The Female Fanbase.” Run us through how that’s become a stand-out phrase for you.

P: I was just getting a lot of questions in interviews about ‘how do you feel having a primarily female fanbase?’ as if that was all that mattered for any reason. I never really understood the point of it as a question. When I think back on some of the most iconic bands in history, it’s the girls that were in on it first so that’s always been an incredible sign to us that we’re doing something right. I was looking through designs and I just thought, ‘I’d love to create a slogan that states it’s a female fanbase’ so I wouldn’t get asked that question again.

Looking back, are you able to pinpoint the “oh, we’re a proper band now” moment of LANY?

J: I’d say after finishing our first two songs. That’s when Paul came in after Les and I had a 12 second chat about whether or not to move to L.A to go for LANY. So we did that as we both believed how far we could go with the band.

P: Sounds a little cliché but it’s a lot of little moments that make me realise what LANY is now. Last night at KOKO was a little moment and my favourite show ever. That’s definitely a ‘wow, we’re in a band’ sort of moment. I’m probably not going to have to go work for a bank or a company like that and I’m gonna be able to eat and play music for the rest of my life, which is pretty sweet.

Good Girls is out now with LANY available to pre-order.

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