LANY’s new album, “gg bb xx” has made new waves in the music industry. With fresh new beats, and soulful music that resonates with the feelings of a regular person, it would probably make everyone wonder at the work and effort behind this remarkable album that touches everyone’s hearts.
This album indeed differs from their previous albums, namely, “Mama’s Boy” and “Malibu Nights”. We’ve recently had the opportunity to interview LANY’s lead singer – Paul Klein – on the new album, the songs in it, his possible collaborations with mega-stars and the thought process of releasing two albums with such a short period of time between the both of them!
How did this album came about?
In October 2020, we were faced with a decision that we could either sit on a couch and wait for the world to open up or make another album and sit on the couch and hope for the world to be back up. So, we chose to do the latter and I think putting (together) two albums in less than a year is no easy task. I wanted to make sure that we had fun and really enjoyed ourselves. I started writing for the album on 18th December 2020. It started to take shape and we worked with Andrew Goldstein and we actually had a blast. You could actually hear the fun we had in our songs!
How much do you miss performing for your fans in Southeast Asia?
We miss it so much that it actually makes me sick to think about it. We basically exist to play for our fans and it sucks to not be able to do so. We miss you guys and we’ll try to do everything that we can to have concerts and meet all of you.
What were some of the influences and themes that made you decide how this album as a whole, would sound?
With “Mama’s Boy”, it’s a complete departure from what people are used to hearing from us and that was on purpose. The theme of “Mama’s Boy” revolves around dating someone and wanting to take it to the next step when things are going well, by bringing the person to your family and to meet your friends. We’re basically showing them a side of us that no one has ever seen and that was indeed necessary. I knew that I wanted “gg bb xx” to be the next album after “Mama’s Boy” — for the song to be the opposite of “Mama’s Boy”. There’s a lot of acoustic elements and we really wanted to make a pop album but in a way that LANY would do it. We’re not a bedroom pop band anymore, instead, we’d like to grow out of that constraint.
We heard that you chose to design all the merchandise by yourself. Is this something that you still do?
Definitely. I was doing it today at rehearsals, it just never stops! In fact, tomorrow morning I’m working with Rachel R, our creative director. She’s coming over to my place at 10am, and I’ll be making more merchandise. I think the visual element of this band is a huge part of it. I think our songs are very visual too and we would want to make art and merchandise that goes along with it. I would never let anyone design our merchandise since it’s our band and I have too much of fun doing it. It’s actually going to be like this forever.
What was your inspiration behind the song, “Up To Me”?
Often times I have pages of song titles typed up on my phone but on this particular day, I did not have an idea on the title. On the days that I don’t have an idea, I ask questions and I talk with the people in the same room as me. I wrote this song with David Hodges, one of the best songwriters in the entire world. He was in the band, Renaissance and he was the primary songwriter for that band and he got kicked out of his band the day the album got released. When I asked him whether he has written a song about this or not, he told me that at the time he (was hurting) and he truly wished that it was up to me (in reference to David) as it wasn’t my decision. Hence, the birth of the song titled, “Up To Me” as we’ve decided to write about that in a relationship context. A very typical relatable concept, in fact! It’s seems to be fun to put myself in someone else’s shoes, just like David’s and write songs about it to avoid being repetitive.
What message do you hope this album brings to everyone who listens to it?
I think that no matter what an album sounds like, or what topics that we cover, my goal is to make the lives of people 1% better. I feel like my purpose on this planet is to write songs, make music and give people that music and that’s why I do it. We really hope our listeners would love it and makes people feel good and not alone in the midst of facing challenges in their life. I would love to write a song for the highest of highs and lowest of lows and that’s all I care about.
How is this album different from your past projects?
The formula is completely different. Most of these songs I wrote were with people I’ve never written songs with before for instance, John Ryan — who wrote the hit song, “Story of Our Lives” for One Direction! You can’t expect a different outcome if the formula is the same.
The band is about to embark on a tour, how excited are you for this and how confident are you that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?
I wish I would say that I’m more confident but I’m not. We’re about to announce that we’re about to cancel a sold-out show which really sucks because the country that it’s in, they got new regulations and guidelines. We’re not sure if we’re going to be able to play in Canada too. My fingers are crossed but like I said, we’ve been in rehearsal for weeks to get ourselves prepared. We’re looking forward to carrying on with our tour but if we can’t go, it would be out of our control.
What’s one song you love performing, stripped in the album and why?
We have a morning from 8:00am to 12:00pm where I sing stripped version of the songs for “Roll Over Baby”, “Stupid Feelings”, “Never Mind Let’s Break Up” and “Ex I Never Had”. I think “Never Mind Let’s Break Up” and “Ex I Never Had” was something really fun to do. I can’t wait to release the remaining videos.
“gg bb xx” comes less than a year after “Mama’s Boy’. Will you see LANY being more productive in recording new songs since the pandemic started?
Yes, it was the only thing that we could really do and most of time, we put out an album and put out 130 shows around the world. We didn’t have that luxury and privilege anymore and we’re just trying to make the most of the pandemic and it’s probably what everyone is doing right now too.
What is one of the highlights of the year for LANY so far?
Last weekend, we put out an album and played in LA at Troubadour. It was actually cool to be back to the location where the roots of the band started. It was encouraging to see that people still cared about us and still wanted to be there after a year and a half. The support of the people made me emotional and I went back to my car to cry because I felt encouraged by them.
For your latest album, “gg bb xx”, what has inspired you the most for your latest discography?
I don’t think it was anything too different from our previous albums. Lyrically, I’m obsessed with listening to people and their conversations and being hyperaware of what’s happening around me and understanding the social dynamics. I’m looking for new ways to describe and explain universal feelings and relatable topics.
When making the track list for “gg bb xx’, did you mean for it to flow like a story?
No I didn’t. In “Malibu Nights”, that was so unapologetically a breakup album and it’s a concept album. With this album, I didn’t want to make it into a concept album. Basically, we didn’t want to write about the same things. I wanted to skip around. I thought it was really fun to make the album equivalent to the last 3 to 5 years of my journal. The ebbs and flows of the human emotion within a long duration is quite drastic and crazy and huge.
Are there any artists you’d kill to have a collaboration with?
Totally! I’d love to write a song with Ed Sheeran. This is a new idea but I’d really like to have a collaboration with The Chainsmokers. I believe this collaboration would be humongous and I’ve met those guys a couple of times and they are the sweetest guys ever. It would be really fun to have a pop song with massive melodies!
Given that it’s only been a year since the last album, what was the recording process like for “gg bb xx”?
We were incredibly efficient. I did not do anything except work on this album for the last 9 or 10 months. It’s everything I’ve lived and breathed. I went on vacation (for) 5 days with my family and even then, I worked the entire time. It was awful to be honest. I never know when I could get one, but I could really use a day off.
Were there any interesting processes that stood out from making the album?
This is something I never talked about but I mixed the entire album by myself with Andrew Goldstein almost 100% of the time. Usually, a mix engineer does it, but this time, I tried it. It sounds exactly like how I’d expect it to sound like. It was all done on a laptop and I’m super proud of the outcome.
What is the story behind the music video of “Ex I Never Had”?
Punk bands have indeed been rocking out in their living room and we’ve wanted to try that in our music video. There’s so many shots in it and you could watch it for around 20 times and see some sort of difference in it each time. I love it!
“gg bb xx” consists of 12 brand new LANY songs which are more mature and bigger. How many songs did you actually write before deciding on the final 12 before this album?
I don’t know how many exactly. There will be 5 new ones on the deluxe, though. There’s probably around 10 songs that I wrote that I just can’t remember. Not every song is good. And some of them are on our album too. But we’re getting better at making decisions and trimming the fat of our album to make it better and putting in the correct songs.
What do you think would be a good theme song for your life?
Perhaps, “I’m So Tired” by Lauv.
We heard you’re going on tour with Keshi, how did that come about? Can we expect any future collaborations with Keshi?
I discovered his music on my Discover Weekly on Spotify. I was lying on a chair under the sun in my manager’s house and his song, “Too Soon” popped up. It was such a good song and I listened to it on repeat. I posted it on my social media and he thanked me for it. Fast forward, a few months later, he asked whether we could write a song together and we did it. He’s indeed a great friend to me and I thought he would be a great person to support us on tour.
If LANY could perform with a classic band, who would that be?
Perhaps, Coldplay and Phil Collins. I’d probably gawk at Chris Martin if we were to work together! I’ve never met him and I doubt if I ever will. I actually look up to him. He makes the piano looks way cooler than it actually is. He’s a god to me.
In the song writing process, do you tend to make listeners happy by pouring out your feelings?
I want my listeners to have the exact same feeling I had when I was writing this song.
You mentioned that LANY’s music video is very visual. If “gg bb xx” were a colour or seen in a movie, what would it be pictured as?
I’ve never seen an album that looks just the same way how music feels. I mean, the motion and the blur coming off the back of the head, the mix of the colours like the warm pinks and oranges masked with the cool temperature of the purple, the blues and the greens. I think that would have to be what it is.
LANY’s “gg bb xx” is currently available on all digital music platforms and streaming services.