The 2019 Grammys

LANY Discuss Their Debut Album and Wanting to 'Be The Biggest Band In The World'

Catie Laffoon

In early 2014, on a whim, LANY released their first set of songs online. Those tracks “Hot Lights”/”Walk Away” and “Made In Hollywood,” changed everything for the band. The small project between the trio spawned a top five album on the rock charts, a worldwide tour and sold-out shows around the globe in less than three years’ time.

“It was clear from the beginning that this was written in the stars for us,” lead vocalist Paul Klein tells Billboard before a sold-out show at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. “We put out those two songs and things kind of blew up in our face, and we were like, shit, we need more songs.”

Since then, LANY has released a trio of EPs: I Loved You, Make Out, and kinda, all paving the way for their debut self-titled full-length album on June 30. Those EPs, Klein says, were instrumental for the trajectory of the band. Rather than releasing an album right away, the idea was to go on tour for each EP, develop an audience, and create hype around a forthcoming album: “We wanted to give people time to fall in love with us and discover (our music),” he says.

Incredibly, it worked. LANY, which is an acronym for “Los Angeles New York,” have tied for the highest-charting debut studio album on the Top Rock Albums chart so far in 2017 with their self-titled effort -- which, along with Prophets of Rage’s debut self-titled set, debuted at No. 4 on the Top Rock Albums chart this year (on the charts dated July 22 and Oct. 7, respectively). Prophets of Rage, though, consists of Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hil -- all music veterans in their own right.

“I wanted that album to prove that we deserved a seat at the musical and cultural and artistic table,” Klein explains. “At the beginning we were just making the most of what we had, and then the trajectory and the path became kind of clear.”

Since the album’s release in June, LANY -- which is made up of Klein, who also plays keyboard and guitar, Jake Goss on drums, and Les Priest on keys, guitar and backup vocals -- have been moving nonstop. By the end of this year, the band will have performed over 135 shows in more than 28 countries. The music video for LANY’s lead single “Super Far,” a synth-fueled alt-pop ballad, has launched to over 2 million global YouTube views since its release on Sept. 12. The single also hit No. 24 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart (standing at No. 28 this week).

So, how did this all happen to a band barely three years old? “I think we have that audience online, because we have good songs,” Klein says, adding that social media has been crucial for spreading the word about LANY and sharing their songs.

“I’ve always taken the approach that [posts on social media] need to feel like they’re coming from us,” Klein says. “So I write the captions, pick the photos and post everything from my phone. It’s an important part of what we do.” The band boasts over 100,000 followers on Twitter, and over 200,000 on both Instagram and Facebook.

Klein says their social following has also been crucial to the group, since their songs haven’t quite connected on radio yet. “I’ve always said that we’ll never live or die by radio,” he says. “It’s so interesting to know that we’re walking into these rooms and we’re selling out the same rooms that somebody with a million followers on the internet has.”

Looking ahead, aside from a quick break in the studio over January and February, the group has tour dates lined up around the world until fall 2018, when Klein says they’ll begin recording their sophomore album. But their busy tour hasn’t stopped them from releasing new tracks. On Tuesday, Oct. 10, LANY released a Spotify Sessions recording of “Super Far” and a cover of Harry Styles’ No. 4 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Sign of the Times.”

Despite all that the group has accomplished in three years, Klein says they’re still working towards bigger and better things. “I feel satisfied and I feel good about where we’re headed, but [we] want to be the biggest band in the world, so until we’re there, it’s going to be hard to say, ‘Hey, we’re doing great!’ you know?” he says. “We’re just going to work our asses off and play every single show and try to do those little things right.”