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INTERVIEW: The Paranoyds Are Alright

A few friends in high school getting together to jam. That’s the usual, inauspicious beginning for most bands throughout the world. A few get lucky and find some fame.  Most others break-up, fade or move into something else. For the Paranoyds, an LA-based band,  it’s been more like “none of the above” and “whatever comes next they will take it in stride.” For the time being they find themselves fortunate to be on tour with DIIV and seeing what the rest of the US looks like from the top of a stage. I spoke to the Paranoyds, who are Lexi: guitars/vocs, Staz: guitars/vocs, Layla: keys and David: drums before they ripped into a rocking 40-minute set at the Loving Touch.

MCB – How did the Paranoyds start?
Lexi – The three of us (Lexi, Staz and Layla) have been playing together since high school. Then we graduated college a couple years ago and got more serious. We had five or six drummers before we found the perfect fit with David last December, right?
David – Well, I met Lexi around a year ago, but I started playing with the band in late March in San Francisco.
Lexi – After David joined it’s like a new chapter.
MCB – When you got together in high school  were you already playing instruments?
Staz – Layla played keyboards,  Lexi and I both played acoustic guitars a lot. Then Lexi moved to electric guitar. So I moved to bass but we switch around a lot.
MCB – I like the infusion of keyboards in your sound. It reminds me of an early 2000’s band, Jonathan Fire Eater.
Layla – Thanks, that’s nice to hear. I’ll have to look that band up.
Lexi – Everything sounds better with more keyboard!

Layla and Lexi of The Paranoyds
MCB – What bands were you listening to in high school that influenced you?
Lexi – The Violent Femmes! We were covering them. It was one we all liked.
Staz – We grew up in LA so we were surrounded by a music scene that included all of our high school friends. Everybody was in a band since grade 8. I was a supporter of all these bands thinking “someday I’m going to do that.” And Lexi was messing around covering No Doubt and Violent Femmes.  We also love Ty Seagull and then there’s Nirvana and Bikini Kill.
MCB – Have you been to the Detroit area before?
Lexi – I have. I actually went to the University of Michigan for college. I graduated 2 years ago and was like “I’m probably never coming back to Michigan. What reason would I have?” And here I am 2 years later so it’s kind of weird for me.
Staz – I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been wanting to come to Detroit for years. There’s so much good music from here.
David – I heard you can buy a house for like $30 here so I want to buy a house.
David, Lexi and Staz The Paranoyds
MCB – There’s a large crowd coming tonight, how has the tour been going?
Staz – We’ve been so blessed with this tour. Every show is great. DIIV has real dedicated fans and have been real good to us. They also have a lot of girl fans that come to the shows and really like to see girls up on stage playing music.
Lexi – Which is really important to us. Especially in areas where there isn’t a big music scene. We were in Kentucky last night and everyone was just so nice there.
MCB – The past few years I’ve seen so many bands with female members and all female bands. I’m beginning to think maybe we shouldn’t separate the male/female band thing anymore…
Staz – We talk about that a lot. We go to shows where there are like 3 girls bands in a row and they all sound like Mazzy Star. It’s nice to have a lot of girl bands but we want something more exciting for us. A lot of our music is in our live performance. We just put out our first recordings like 3 weeks ago and we just want to have fun up there.
MCB – You’re still pretty underground, but  from what I’ve read that seems a little intentional…
Lexi – We’re kind of like a family and I get a bit scared of the internet.
David – On the internet it’s like you have to have a lot of money or something to be taken seriously.
Staz – It’s been nice to have real face to face interactions, where people come up to you and like our shows. If you want to hear our songs you can record us on your phone and listen to it later, we don’t mind it. We have a lot of friends in the music scene so I don’t think we have to put ourselves out there to prove anything.
The Paranoyds
MCB – Is doing a tour like this as fun as you thought it would be?
Lexi – It’s been a slumber party!
Layla – Yes, so much fun.
David – We’re eating every day, we have a place to sleep. It’s been good.
Staz – We’re going to the Motown Museum tomorrow! So we’re having some downtime to do fun stuff. We’re going everywhere we always wanted to go with our best friends, playing great places  and getting paid something. This is honestly one of the best times I’ve had.
MCB – If there’s a movie that says something about your band what is it?
Staz – I love “The Fabulous Stains”. I saw that and these girls just had to get out of town and create their own lives. I can identify with that.
Layla – I’d say “A Hard Days Night”, something fun like that.
Lexi – “Spiceworld!”

-Interview and pics by Mikel OD of Digital Racket