LAYNE is an indie pop/rock collective made up of Layne Putnam and Alexander Rosca. The group has made a name for themselves with their single “Good” and has received significant airplay on many outlets such as MTV. Vocalist and guitarist Layne Putnam recently spoke with us and discussed LA living, The 1975 and the current state of the music industry.
CC: What made you want to pursue music in Los Angeles and how did you feel in the moment of moving from South Dakota to LA?
For me, it was kind of an evolution. This was my opportunity to take my music to the next level. It was a chance to move to area where the music was happening. I had a friend who was, and still is, living here in LA and I was able to move in and start working. I did feel anxious moving out to LA, but I felt more ready and excited more than anything else. I am very happy to be living here now.
CC: How was the transition in terms of living day-to-day in Los Angeles? Was it a smooth transition or did it take some time to find your rhythm?
The transition was pretty easy for the most part. It definitely helped a lot that I was able to move in with a friend. The hard part was making friends out here. Other than my roommate, I didn’t know anyone out here and it was somewhat hard at first to make friends. It’s not like I was attending school out here where I could meet others, but once I started meeting people here in LA, it became much easier. It definitely feels like I am at home now.
CC: What is your favorite part about living in LA. What is your least favorite?
The music scene is my favorite part about living here by far. Every week there is a show going on, or something else is happening. There are always cool events going on and you learn more about the area and what’s going on each day from meeting people here. It is also a much younger population than it is back where I am from. I am not a big fan of the heat here. I much prefer when it is cold and rainy, but other than the weather, I like everything out here.
CC: In your own words, what does your band mean to you and what message do you want to deliver to your fans?
The band to me is a collective group of people that have worked with me over the past three years and have helped bring this idea to life. This band is my identity and my life. What this band means to me is happiness and passion; the feeling of togetherness.
We all have felt alone or in the dark at some point, but there is power in that emotion. Our emotions are what make us human. The ability to feel is such a powerful gift. This is what I want to convey through the music; that you are never alone and that there is power in our emotions.
CC: Your single entitled “Good” has rack up more than 860,000 plays on Spotify and is rising to surpass 1 million. How does it feel to have something you created be shared so much through the Internet?
It’s insane when you put it into words like that. It’s hard to fathom that the song has reach so many people. I can see the number on the screen when I’m on Spotify but it’s crazy to think so many people have heard the song. I have an awesome team with me that made this happen and I’m thankful for all of them.
CC: The lyrics for both your current singles are pretty poetic to say the least, and it also seems as if they derived from experiences in your own life. How did you go about writing the lyrics for “Good” and “Somebody.”
The lyrics for both those songs came quick for me. I don’t try to sit down and overthink it. I either say or sing phonetically what is on my mind and develop it out from there. Sometimes a song can be from something I have been through or sometimes I pick a metaphor for an entire song. This allows me to take simple ideas and express them into something beautiful.
The lyrics for the song “Somebody” is about me proving to other people I can do this band and be successful. I wrote this when I was feeling sad and it was my way of saying that I can make it. This [music] is what I have been doing my whole life.
“Good” is about having people understand my “insanity” so to speak. It’s about “feeling the darkness” with people that understood what that means and what I have been through. It normally takes me 30 minutes to complete an idea when I get the rhythm. I do struggle with writing songs every so often. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I’ve written more than 100 songs over the past few years and out of those we have tracked 20 songs. If I can’t find the right words or if it doesn’t flow, I’ll either set that idea aside or scratch it completely.
CC: What are your top three songs right now that you would recommend to someone looking for new music to listen to?
That’s definitely a hard question to answer. We have a Spotify playlist where we put what we have been listening to, so that would be a good place to start. For me personally, From Indian Lakes is the first band that comes to mind. I really enjoyed their last record. James Blake is another artist I have been enjoying recently. He is really innovative in the way that he writes, meaning he doesn’t stick to a “formula” so to speak to write his music. The latest The 1975 has been my favorite album to come out this year, so definitely The 1975 as well.
CC: What are your current goals for your band?
My current short term goals are to start touring and put an EP out. My long-term goals are to continue making records over the years to come and to start building a family through our music. Family is a huge aspect to me. I also want to play more local shows. It would be cool one day to tour in support of either The 1975, PVRIS or Melanie Martinez.
CC: If there was one thing you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
To me, it seems like the “people in suits”, as well as some musicians out there, pick a “formula” or genre and focus solely on that to invest money in. I understand why they do it, but I also think they should broaden their horizons and also incorporate new artists that may not exactly fit this mold. That is one thing I would change.
There is also this fixation on “numbers” and “names.” Again, I get it that if someone has a lot of Instagram/Twitter followers, people are going to gravitate to them, but I’ve met a lot of people that don’t fit this mold. Sometimes I meet people that have thousands of followers but they have horrible personalities and aren’t the greatest writers. Other times I meet people that barely have an “internet presence” and they are the most down to earth and coolest people I have ever met. The same goes for “famous names.” If a “name” is well known, people are going to gravitate towards that, and I think people should stop putting so much attention onto names and numbers.
CC: Do you have any last thoughts or anything you want to tell your fans?
I just want to take a moment to thank anyone who has gave our music a listen as it means so much to me. If you want to know what our band is up to, you can visit our website and follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@laynesworld_). We also have a show coming up in LA on June 23 at the Bootleg Theater and we would love to have all our LA fans at this show.
Post and interview by Matt Saunders (Twitter/Instagram @shots_by_matt)
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