Writer: Morgan Bates
This interview was conducted via phone on 6/9/16
Photo Credit: Brandon Wolford
For those of you unafraid of adventure and soul searching, tune in! You are about to love the roadmap that Layne Putnam has laid out for us on her upcoming EP “Black Hills”! Her dreams of making it big, take us on a voyage from her hometown in South Dakota to the big city of Los Angeles. This passionate journey is not for those that only swim in shallow waters. You must be prepared for the depths of emotion. As her deep and soulful lyrics play, you will cry and will feel the residue of past pain endured, along with a sense of empowerment, and the urge to get up and groove to all that is good.
Coming from a family of musicians, Layne has been playing any instrument she could get her hands on since she was very little. But, as she grew older she strapped on her guitar and stepped out from her father’s shadow by taking her dreams, goals and passion into her own hands. Seeking to connect with the people around her she takes her feelings and creates an alternative sound to open up that line of musical communication. With songs like “Good” “Boys Do” and “Somebody” not only does she show her individuality but, truly embraces the power of human connection and emotional triumph.
Gas up the car and come with me on this musically empowering, deeply emotional, and soulful road trip from the hills of South Dakota to the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles with Layne!
Morgan: Hi Layne! How are you?
Layne: Good Morgan! How are you?
Morgan: It’s hot & about 97 degrees but I’m good. Is it hot in LA?
Layne: No it’s perfect actually!
Morgan: Awesome! Let’s talk about your EP Black Hills! I absolutely Love it!
Layne: Thank you so much!
Morgan: When does it come out?
Layne: So we don’t have a date yet. Which is giving everyone including me anxiety. I don’t want to say anything solid yet but, soon. I mean everything we’re doing right now is aiming at that. I’m sure as soon as I know everyone else will.
Morgan: Good! I cannot wait! I actually got on Spotify and Soundcloud to check out some of your stuff and I saw that “Good” has over 800,00 listens! That’s fantastic!
Layne: Yeah! It’s been crazy! It’s really mind blowing and crazy to see that for sure.
Morgan: Definitely! Can you tell me a little bit about how you got started and decided that music is your passion and what you wanted to do?
Layne: I’ve always played music even since I was really little. It’s always been a part of my life hugely since I was a little, little kid. So I never really had to make the decision to do it. I always just what I did so it was never a question. “Should I do this?” No. My parents always knew. I graduated high school and they let me come out to LA. So its always just been my thing. I never had to decide one way or another. So I guess I got it easy in that sense.
Morgan: That’s awesome! Because a lot of people don’t know what they want to do with their lives so that’s kind of cool that you didn’t have to make the decision and just knew.
Layne: Yeah. I get confused when people are like. “I don’t know..” and I cant help but think How do you not know?!
Morgan: So you said you’re in Los Angeles now but, you’re originally from South Dakota. So when you made it out to LA to follow your dreams was there a huge culture shock? Was it overwhelming? How did you feel moving out there?
Layne: Well I’ve been out here once. I came out here each year for 2 years for about two weeks. So there wasn’t a giant culture shock. And my parents and I we traveled a lot and I was pretty exposed as a kid. So it wasn’t a giant culture shock. I think the hardest thing was having to move to a new city entirely and having to kind of restart. I knew one person out here so it was scary. It was overwhelming to see all of these people and not know anybody. And I didn’t go to school so it was kind of hard to meet people. But, being in the city wasn’t as much of a culture shock as much as it was “Dang I have to start over and make a bunch of new friends.”
Morgan :That couldn’t have been hard for you. You seem like a nice person and you wouldn’t have trouble making new friends!
Layne: Well, I’m glad you think that but, I’m a little shy sometimes so it takes me a minute. But it was good and it was fun. It was kind of cool because you kind of grow up in a town where you hang out with all of the kids you knew in kindergarten and coming out here I got to figure out who I actually wanted to hang out with which is good.
Morgan: Yeah! You get the freedom of choice and to be whoever you want to be.
Morgan: We talked about “Good” and how it’s gotten over 800,000 listens. How does it feel to know people are enjoying your music and relating to it and adding to their playlists and sharing it with their friends?
Layne: It’s totally surreal. It’s kind of a hard thing to grasp because you see it on screen but, its more like when people text me. Like yesterday, I heard that my song was played in Nashville. One of my friends lives in Nashville and they heard it in a store playing. And then I heard a couple of weeks ago that it was playing in an elevator in New York. So that’s kind of mind blowing. It’s hard to connect to a number but, when you have people you know texting you and being like I just heard your song in some random place. I can’t help but think “That’s Crazy!” Its cool though. It’s awesome!
Morgan: For someone who maybe hasn’t heard your music, how you describe the general vibe of your sound and what you’re trying to put out there?
Layne: I am a musician first and foremost. I grew up playing a bunch of different instruments. There’s a simplicity in beautiful things. I wanted to make you dance to it and groove to it but, at the same time I want people to be able to be sad and cry to it and use it as a source of emotional power. I think I lace a lot of hopefulness into music too. To me a lot of times my music is me regaining strength when I’ve been through an emotional situation. So I think that premise when you can be sad and you feel those emotions at the same time you can feel tough and empowered by feeling because emotion is so powerful.
Morgan: Absolutely! And when you think about it most people turn to music for emotional power or the emotional journey. People turn to music for all kinds of different things and emotions, like being happy or trying to get through a tough time. That’s actually something that I personally look for in music. I look for something relatable. And your lyrics are deep. I actually wrote some of my favorites down!
From Boys Do I love “I met the devil. Her name is patience.” I totally relate to that because I am incredibly impatient!
Layne: For sure! 100%! Well I’ve had the EP sitting around for a minute so that song is about the EP and having to learn to be patient and waiting for the right time. It’s so funny that you said that because that has been a huge theme of mine this last year having to learn patience while battling with the anxiety of not always wanting to wait when having to wait.
Morgan: I totally get that! My friends joke with me about my impatience. Even when it comes to driving! Especially since I am always running late!
Layne: Me too. That’s the thing. I’m always thinking of the next thing. That’s cool though! I’m so glad you like that. That’s awesome!
Morgan: Of course!! And also, you’re line from “Good” “I love you think my hell’s so heavenly.” It’s so true! Because most people have baggage & I could relate to it because it’s like saying I’m so glad that you can accept me & think my crazy is awesome!
Layne: Yeah totally! I think that I am attracted to, not always romantically but just in general that my friends and everyone around me that sit in that same darkness & heaviness and I think that it’s really cool when people can relate in that and be missing a couple of bolts and being a little crazy, or overly emotional or whatever. I think that’s really awesome! I’m so glad you like these it’s awesome.
Morgan: The way your music is described is The 1975 meets Pvris meets Halsey & I instantly knew I had to check out your music! Of course I loved it and shared it with some friends so you’ve already got some fans in Jacksonville!
Layne: That’s so cool. We actually played in Jacksonville about a year ago at a food truck festival for the school. It was so much fun! There were so many people there. It was actually one of the most fun shows we’ve played.
Morgan: What’s the vibe or energy like at one of your shows? What type of venues are you playing out in LA? I saw you have something coming up on the 23rd!
Layne: Yeah we’re playing the Bootleg on the 23rd. There are so many cool venues in LA but, we’ve been playing smaller rooms which is really cool because you can feel people in the room. But, the show we put on is a rock show! We play in a four piece band. If we were to compare the type of rock show we put on we would compare it to a The 1975 show. Its very high energy, and intense but, we have a lot of fun and we dance around a lot. We’re sweating by the end of it. Its definitely a fun show! I like the intesnse sound too to leave you with a little anxiety for the next song. Its fun and And the shows are growing too. I cant wait to expand on the show its all very exciting!
Morgan: I know we said that we are impatient for the EP to come out! But, when creating and making this EP. Was there a lot of pressure to make it great?
Layne: I got very lucky with my family! They are very sweet and have always let me go and do my own thing so I didn’t feel any pressure from people around me necessarily. This EP was made over the course of a year. We did like 15-16 songs but there are some that have been a collection of songs over a long period of time. But, really I think there is more pressure from me than anybody. I think the struggle is that I made the song and then I have it for a year and nobody hears it and then by the end of that year I feel like I’ve evolved so much. That’s the hardest part about the whole thing. But making the EP I have to remember to take things one step at a time especially when were working on music. I try not to go into it with the goal of this has to be good because I feel like I can’t write a song if all I want is for it to be good. So surprisingly I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I think the pressure just comes from knowing what’s right for the album. Because I become emotionally attached to a song and it may not be the best fit. Or I don’t necessarily like a song that could be the single. It’s been a really fun process.
Morgan: I bet! I mean I am no good at singing but, I know how much I enjoy music! So I can only imagine how much fun you as an artist have bringing your music to life. That has to be extremely rewarding!
Layne: Yeah! It’s super fun! It never turns out exactly the way you envision it. Its always when you get it on paper and then take to making the track its always interesting to hear the evolution between what it is in my head and what it actually turns out to be.
Morgan: Was there any specific inspiration to the music for this EP was there a certain life event or a specific person that inspired you?
Layne: Yeah I think all of them come from some aspect of something going on in my life. And they were all written at different times in my life so they’re all different stories and time periods. I think we all emotionally cycle through things. A lot of times I’ll be fumbling over what I’ve written and I’ll begin to start saying something and then I end up writing the full song and then I realize I was saying that! A lot of times my songs tell me what I am feeling before I even fully realize it. I generally just start singing and whatever feels right, I go from there.
Morgan: How would define success in the music industry?
Layne: I think everyone would define success differently but, for me I think the end goal is connecting with people. Danny my manager always jokes with me because I always get excited when he tells me we’re going on tour. But connecting with people for sure because that’s what music is. It’s the ultimate connection you can feel totally connected to someone you’ve never even met. I think for me success is going to be that moment of “Wow this is crazy” is when I have 1000 people singing my songs back to me. To me that is the ultimate dream. Playing shows especially, it’s the human connection that I think makes success. Though it would be amazing to have like 1000 people or 10,000,000. I think the level of understanding and the feeling like I am understood is what I feel like would make me feel like I am succeeding. Of course I dream of doing huge things! But, I playing a show and seeing a bunch of new faces and feeling like family that’s a big thing.
Morgan: Have you been on a lot of tours?
Layne: We’ve only been on one so far and it was a long time ago. But, we’ve been playing a lot of shows here in LA. But, we’re getting ready to do some tours and right on the cusp of hopefully about to spend the next 2/3 years just on the road. We’re right around the corner!
Morgan: Awesome! Any fun stories or memorable moments from either being on tour before or shows you’ve been playing recently?
Layne: There are always crazy things happening! This isn’t really a fun story but, the first tour we were on I broke my arm. Which was not fun because I play guitar so that was definitely a story for the books and definitely set us back a little bit. But, every show is fun! Something weird or crazy always ends up happening. But I think me breaking my arm was the craziest thing that’s happened because I was just messing around and I fell. Clumsiness is both a blessing and a curse.
Morgan: I totally feel you! I am crazy clumsy myself!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today! I am looking forward to the EP coming out and hopefully seeing you in Jacksonville soon!
L: Definitely! We’ll be there! Nice to meet you!
To find out more about Lanye and the band check out their website and social media!