Los Angeles four-piece, The Paranoyds, release debut LP today, Carnage Bargain, out via Suicide Squeeze.
The Paranoyds’ humble beginnings can be traced back to a friendship forged between Staz Lindes (bass/vocals) and Laila Hashemi (keys/vocals) over Myspace in their early teens. Bonding over a shared interest in local music, the two started making music in person, adding Laila’s childhood friend Lexi Funston into the fold with the addition of drummer David Ruiz in 2015.
With the release of their debut LP, the band will be touring this fall with Bleached and White Reaper. We caught up with Staz and Lexi before they headed out on tour, where we discussed the almost year-long process of recording this record, why analog is so great, and how being a “cute” rock band isn’t really that cute.
Catch them on tour, stream their record below, and read up on what The Paranoyds have to say:
Culture COLLiDE: You recorded to an 8-track on a previous EP. Was there a similar process on this record?
The Paranoyds: We always record live, but we just add vocals and add any tweaks to instruments and overdubs and stuff like that. It’s kind of gnarly because you could be almost at the end of a song, and if you mess up, you’ll have to start over again. Sometimes you can punch in but it is definitely a tougher process but it makes it more authentic. We put so much energy into our live shows that we want to transfer that into our recording.
It’s definitely a surprise when bands sound completely different from their recorded catalog. Is that why you prefer analog?
I’ve always respected and I will always respect how they used to record before the digital age and why those records last for decades. I think there’s a whole life that comes with analog recording. It’s a physical thing, it’s physically moving and you can watch it move, you can physically hold it in your hands. Whereas with digital, it’s hollow and it just goes behind a screen and we have no idea what’s happening and then it’s just done. I think we all respect the old school style of recording.
What were the best parts of making this record?
We recorded with Mark Rains in Echo Park and he’s recorded a bunch of our friend’s bands. It was just a really, really great experience working with him. He’s some kind of wizard — he’s really good at what he does. Lexi and I both have full-time jobs so we were really only able to record on the weekends. We spent nine months working on this thing together and it was really cool to be able to have that kind of relationship with the person who was recording us.
Were there any unexpected challenges when writing or recording this record?
It was always when we would have to record when it was the most beautiful day outside. I remember we started last summer and that was whatever, but once it was getting cold, there were some really nice days and I remember we would just have to go in the cave and record, so that was kind of annoying. But it’s also our favorite thing to do, to be together and create something. But the challenges were definitely the schedules, to be honest. It was hard to get it done faster.
As this being your debut album, do you have any first-time nerves to release this record?
I think with any release, there’s a bit of apprehension and nerves with that, but I’m super proud of it and I’m really excited for it to come out and for people to finally hear it. It also means that we can start properly touring internationally, because before we were like “Ah, well what’s the point of losing out on money over Europe and whatever.” Now we have a proper reason to do it so that’s something that we’re really looking forward to. But I mean yeah, it could not do well but then we have to try again. It’s all just a process of fun and experimenting and if people like it then that’s super crazy and hopefully, they do.
So you’ve never toured internationally before?
No, we haven’t.
I feel like the first international tour for bands, when they see fans singing their lyrics all over the world, really implements how much your music has spread.
Yea that would be really crazy and so cool.
There’s so much music coming out right now. Was there something you did when making this record that made you want to stand out?
I think between Lexi and I, we have pretty big egos of like “Ah, well if they can do it, why can’t we do it?” and we’ve both been going to shows for so long. It was all of our first proper band besides our drummer David. Me and Lexi would be emailing each other like “Why don’t we cover this song? Or combine it with this new song we wrote?” It’s such a male-dominated thing, and there are all these lulls in the scene and I feel like female bands can get misrepresented for awhile. Total respect to anyone who gets out there and does it but we didn’t want to be a romantic, cute band. We wanted to have solos and complicated bass lines and having the blessing of having an amazing keyboardist like Laila. Just being different and knowing that we can make something different that no one has, and maybe if they have heard it, the female interpretation of it hasn’t been done yet.
What did you mean by misrepresented?
I mean at the time in L.A., yea. We’ve obviously have had such amazing, strong, powerful female musicians, but sometimes we see recognition being built on obviously like pop-stars or whatever, and there are some female bands where their music is just bad and I don’t even think they’re writing it. They’re just being exploited sexually and put on a pedestal and it’s weird. I don’t know, it’s like we wanted to be more of a masculine representation of what female musicians can do and just have fun. We just want it to be completely about fun and not have some weird guy behind us controlling it all, except for our drummer *laughs.*
And being a woman in the music industry, it’s nice to be able to represent, but it’s also nice to not even have the topic of it being brought up.
Yea totally. I worked at a non-profit called Women and Film and that was a topic of conversation all the time, like should this even be a conversation? It shouldn’t even be something that’s dividing us but it’s going to take time for it to become something that it’s not.
Catch The Paranoyds on tour and stream their new record below:
09/05/19 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah *
09/06/19 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House *
09/07/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
09/09/19 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda *
09/10/19 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
09/11/19 – Houston, TX @ Satellite Bar *
09/13/19 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
09/14/19 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Hell Stage) *
09/15/19 – Raleigh, NC @ Motorco *
09/17/19 – Washington, D.C. @ U Hall *
09/19/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere *
09/20/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Philamoca *
09/21/19 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
09/23/19 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe *
09/24/19 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement *
09/25/19 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
09/28/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street *
09/29/19 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
09/30/19 – St. Louis, MO, Firebird *
10/03/19 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird #
10/04/19 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews #
10/05/19 – St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Grill #
10/07/10 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge #
11/01/19 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
11/02/19 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
11/03/19 – Reno, NV @ The Holland Project
11/05/19 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
11/06/19 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
* = supporting Bleached
# = supporting White Reaper