LANY’s Paul Klein on Making Music Outside of Heartbreak
“…how do I [become] completely transparent and open and honest about something outside of heartbreak?”
Following an incredibly emotional album release from LANY in 2018, the third album from the Los Angeles-based trio is an international return to the band’s roots. It’s a sweeping tribute to frontman Paul Klein’s home and heritage, Oklahoma, and is “symbolic of being an American kid” today. Alongside bandmates Jake Goss and Les Priest, mama’s boy signals a new beginning for the band.
We caught up with Paul in an exclusive press interview, while he shared his thoughts on the diversity of the new album, creating outside of heartbreak and what he misses most about performing live.
“I think Malibu Nights was an amazing album for us. I kind of took a chance being incredibly vulnerable, transparent and honest about that season of my life. That was really well-received, and that’s great, but it was very singular in the sense that it was just…nine songs about being broken up with. Mama’s boy [includes] 14 songs about 14 completely different things, which I’m really excited about,” shares Paul.
With LANY’s second album becoming a result of a very public break-up, Paul considered a new album as a challenge to go beyond creating something outside of heartbreak. He explains, “I knew that the challenge for me was how do I [become] completely transparent and open and honest about something outside of heartbreak? To be honest, writing a heartbreak album is the easiest thing to do because you have so many emotions and so many questions and so many thoughts—and you spit them all out. I’m incredibly proud of mama’s boy and I feel confident that there’s at least one song in the album for everybody in the world.”
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happy bday to me because i’m in the best band in the world with the best fans in the world. thank u mom for giving me life and pushing me to be all that i can be. working a full-time job, bending over backwards to make ends meet, and putting my “bottom” (u hate when i swear) on that piano bench an hour a day every single day… u r the unsung hero of whatever success i have achieved in my life so far, and i hope from the bottom of my heart that i make u proud and that all the sacrifices u have made feel exceedingly worthwhile. thank u dad for ur gentleness and consistency. u have never let me down… not once!! and the inevitable truth that i won’t have u forever haunts me every second i’m not riding a motorcycle next to u. okay i’m crying i’m done. “mama’s boy” the album by us out this year
It’s been a while since we’ve been to a live show, and it might be a while until we get to do that again. So we asked Paul, with a little hopeful thinking, which song off of the new album is he most excited to perform live? He shares excitedly, “I think you! is potentially a new kind of set closer; indoor, it’s so grandiose and epic and in my head. It probably goes [with] ILYSB and then we close with you!. It just feels like that firework-kind-of-grand moment. I also think good guys will slap live. I just feel like the chords [are] gonna hit, and I can just hear everybody singing the bridge. And then the third one would be heart won’t let me, which is probably one of the strongest songs on the album, and that one will be very fun to play.”
We sure believe that certain albums are perfect for certain situations, with some perfect for listening to during a long drive, some that are great for playing in the shower. With mama’s boy, Paul imagines his fans listening to it anywhere and at any time. He reveals, “I just wrote a newsletter. Sometimes, I write newsletters to our fans right before a release. The last paragraph is like: Turn the music up and roll the windows down. Savor the moments of life, the orange glow of the sun before we head into winter. Lay on the floor of your bedroom or find your favorite spot in the couch. I don’t really think mama’s boy can be pigeonholed to a certain setting or a certain activity. I really think it’s something you can turn on anywhere at any time.”
According to Paul, releasing an album during this distressing period feels bizarre. He’s looking forward to the day when they can see how these songs translate live and how much they mean to people. He shares, “If we can be an artist on somebody’s playlist, to the soundtrack of their lives, then that’s all I want, that’d be great.”
While we wait for the day to come, you can find us in our makeshift work desks and bed at home, playing all 14 songs from mama’s boy on repeat.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver