Interview with LAYNE | By Jameson Ketchum | Photos by Brandon Wolford
The ability to learn from your environment is a powerful one. Being able to craft a headspace for creative output can be a welcome escape from the grind of facing a blank page. For South Dakota’s Layne Putnam, one half of the powerhouse act LAYNE, the drive to occupy a landscape in order to produce the powerful pop tunes we hear in Black Hills EP, is one that supersedes location. LAYNE moved to LA to pursue what was already built through influences such as Paramore and Death Cab For Cutie. The result is a beautiful amalgamation of dreamy pop vibes and airy vocals, rivaling any of their mainstream peers. Working alongside drummer Alexander Rosca, LAYNE is currently busy creating their next batch of gems which will no doubt catapult them into the limelight they so deserve.
You began your musical career in South Dakota, not necessarily a place known for this type of artistry, can you tell us about your early influences and in particular, what influenced the sound you find yourself creating today?
Growing up in South Dakota shaped who I am as a person in so many ways. I grew up in the trees with an immense appreciation for nature and my environment. I was exposed to a lot of music from a young age. As I got to middle school I was listening to bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Blink 182, and Paramore. I started playing in bands in 6th grade and realized that a huge part of my song writing was production and being involved in every part. I’d always played drums and bass so along with my guitar parts I started using logic to build out the song as a whole. And I think the LAYNE sound started to take shape.
Beginning an act in LA, how do you stand out in such a large competitive scene? What strategies have you used?
I don’t think I actively try to be different because I think innately no one is the same. I put a lot of thought and effort into the visual aspect of the band. We definitely have an aesthetic. I don’t think it’s as much about standing out as it is about creating a new space, where kids who previously couldn’t find a place, feel like they fit in.
Talk to us about the “in between” and how you came up with this headspace for songwriting?
The concept for the whole project called the in-between is a location I made up in my head where the aesthetic and music sits. Picture a modern city in a rainy forest in the northwest. We’re all in-between something, between life and death just like were in-between pop and rock and we want our fans to have a place to go whether its listening to the music, watching the videos or looking at the visuals where they feel like they belong. “Meet us in the in-between” is part of that movement that’s why we use the lines. | | to represent the in-between.
The new EP Black Hills is beautiful. Where do you feel you drew inspiration from when putting this EP together? What do you feel the message is?
Thank you! This EP was written over the course of a year so it pulls from a lot of different headspaces and emotions. But I think overall I’m talking about finding power and confidence in your emotion. What we are trying to do as a project is not easy and it comes with a lot of patience and frustration and longing. So I feel a lot of intense emotion, but at the end of the day that’s what makes us all human. So I like to find power in the fact that we can feel. Good or bad it is life and we only have it for so long.
LAYNE recently signed onto work with the same management team that’s worked with huge names like Blink 182 and Steve Aoki. How does it feel to have such credible teams get behind your music? Does it feel as though LAYNE is on the fast track to overnight success? How do you manage expectations when so much goodness is happening so quickly?
I am so incredibly grateful for the team I’ve got around me. Most of the people I work with are the same people I hang out with and know better than anyone and that makes for a really powerful team. I think I’ve learned to not have much expectation. Everything that happens is a small step in a very long latter. I try to focus on what I can control and work as hard as I can on that. To the outside world the project may seem like it’s moving quickly but to me it feels like my lifetime. I’ve really had to learn patience. It’s been a long road to get to where we are now and I know we’ve still got A LOT of driving to do. But I’ve got a team of people that really understand the project and have invested their time and emotion and committed to it fully, which is amazing.
Black Hills is such a solid collection of songs, when can we expect more?
I’m already starting to track the next EP following Black Hills in August so there will be a lot more music coming in the following months.
Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?