Recently I got to talk with the rising artist LAYNE before her set in Denver, who is a producer/singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist...aka a bad ass. Not only is she extremely talented but also a sweetheart who was easy to talk to and fun to be around. In her performance she engaged the audience with her dynamic stage presence and her ability to shred on the guitar and the mic, to ensure it was a night no one would forget. With her sound that to me is somewhere between Hayley Williams and Echosmith, what's not to like? After hearing her new EP, and especially the track "I Want More", I was instantly hooked, and now listening to LAYNE's music has become a daily routine.
Check out our interview below where we talk about how she got into music, her creative process, being a woman in the industry and more.
First off share with us how you got into music. How did growing up in the black hills of South Dakota influence your music?
I played instruments my whole life, partially because my dad and brother were also into music. There were always instruments around the house so I would just pick one up and start learning it. I started writing songs in the 3rd grade then in the 5th grade I wanted to do more. So I got into band and orchestra, and was in a punk band from 6-8th grade. Singing kind of came last. There was never a moment when I was all of a sudden like I want to be a musician, I just always was into music and so i pursued it.
As far as South Dakota, It influenced my music a lot. It is so much a part of the things I like and what I write and is very much a part of my aesthetic. My drummer and I actually bonded over our like for forests, because he’s from Portland. I grew up outside a lot, snow boarding with my friends, and spending time out in the middle of no where with my music on and I miss that a lot.
Whats the story behind the braid?
I started doing it a while ago and over time more and more people started recognizing me for it. So it’s just become a thing. Some days I hate my hair and I want to change it, but its a good thing to have something recognizable for the brand. I didn’t mean for it to happen and I don’t like change a lot so I would just keep braiding my hair and now I can't change it haha.
What made you want to move out to LA and how has that been so far?
I actually graduated high school early in South Dakota so I could go straight to LA, because it was something I always wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in music and so I graduated and bounced. I like LA for the scene but I don’t necessarily like living in LA. I mean I have great friends, a sick team, and lots of people there, but I want to live in a forest. If I was going to move anywhere though it would probably be Seattle or maybe Toronto or New York because I like big cities, but I do love nature and the outdoors.
So you recently toured with K. Flay. How was that and what did you come away with from that tour? Was that your first major road tour?
I was a fan of hers forever, I fucking love her. When I got the tour I was like “Alright Layne you gotta be on your A game”. But once we got to hang out I realized that she’s one of the coolest people ever. She kind of treats me like an older sister. It was overall a really fun experience, went really smooth and the crew was super awesome. It wasn’t my first road tour, I had done 1 or 2 before but they were smaller, and DIY style.
Your new EP “Wednesday” came out at the end of last month and has been doing really well, How was creating and recording this EP?
The EP all together was easier than normal. We made like 15-20 demos and ideas, then widdled it down to the best songs, which originally was 6, but then we decided on 4. The guy I make all my records with, Devin, is also my best friend, so we sat in the room and just made the whole record together. It was easy and fun. I feel like we finally set what we should sound like and where we should be going and that has taken a really long time to figure that out. So it was different that I was really excited to put this out, because in the past I have been more anxious about it.
The Fog seems to be the most popular track on the EP, sitting right over 1 million plays on Spotify. What is the meaning behind the track?
‘Omg’ was actually supposed to be the lead single we we’re pushing, but I kind of always knew the fog would stick out. Its about being in LA. Especially growing up in North Dakota and then moving to LA, you see the people that are purely just latter climbers. The people who will do whatever they need to do to be famous, and none of it is wholesome. There is no realness to them at all. They just climb the latter, they know how to do social media, they know the people to hang out with, you know what I mean? Its bullshit. Its also about the times where A&R’s or different people in the industry have told me shitty things like I need to wear tighter clothes or be sexier…what’s that supposed to do with anything? So overall its just about the shallowness that is going on in music. There is so much realness in music too...but there will always be that sliver of people.
When you sit down to write a song, what does your creative process look like? Where do you like to keep your writing?
I start with production, since I grew up playing a lot of instruments. I will throw on a drum loop in Pro Tools and then usually work on chords, unless i’m writing a sad song. Then I will just sit down with my guitar and play. Everything on my tracks minus the drums sometimes, I play. I will produce out an entire idea and then I will take it to Devin and then we will go through what I’ve done and clean it up. I am very into production, everything that happens goes through me. I would never walk away from a song and say do whatever you want. I am very hands-on with all of my music.
As far as lyrics go sometimes I write them in 30 minutes where i’m crying and writing. Those are usually the best ones too, the ones where I need to write. I don’t even realize what i’m saying but i'll listen to it and be like wow thats dope, I didn’t even realize I said that. But there are times when I produce the beat first and then I need the top line and thats usually harder to write. And I actually don’t write anything down. I will remember it or I will use voice notes.
Do you feel like being a female in a heavily male dominated music industry makes anything easier/harder for you?
It sometimes makes things easier surprisingly, but it can make things harder too because people don’t always respect you. Since I grew up playing instruments and in music i’ve been through a lot. For example when I am going to play a show and the sound guys see I play guitar they will think I am just a rhythm guitarist and so I will have to tell them, I will be playing the leads so they need to turn me up. Because they don’t usually expect the girl to be the lead. Also, when I talk in certain production lingo, you’ll have guys be like ohh she thinks she knows what she’s talking about and i'll just be like yeah I do. I have to battle that, but its fun sometimes. I get to be like just because you're a dude doesn’t make you smart.
Through your musical journey what has been the most exciting part? And what are your biggest career goals?
The team of people I have around me is the best part. Its so rad because a lot of the people at the level I’m at don’t have that kind of support. I have people that have spent all of their own money and given me all their time to do this. I have a fucking team, that is basically family and a lot of people envy that. As far as goals I want to be able to leave something that’s different. That bands some day will say I want to sound like Layne. Thats how you know you did something different. I just want to keep doing what i’m doing and grow more and increase my production and just keep going bigger. For my ideal live performance, it would still be a 4 piece band but I would change how the room is set up. I want you to walk into an environment, where there are lights all over the room, in the very back and sides, not just on stage.
Lastly since we’re a music blog we have to ask, what are your top 5 favorite records/artists right now?