Words by Tommy Johnson
Los Angeles-based The Paranoyds have comprised a stellar argument in regards to the naming of their band. Let’s start with the diminishing level of privacy courtesy of data breaches in large corporations over the past couple of years. Then there’s the report that recently published stories regarding Amazon recording conversations via Alexa devices. There’s the unfortunate turmoil raging between the alt-right and alt-left which been intensifying more and more each day. We must not forget the crippling mentality for many to produce a presentation of themselves that will engage attraction on the various social media vehicles.
Unafraid of being unique and independent, the band got in full swing performing in DIY shows throughout the city and now have become one of the more sought after acts to catch. On September 13, The Paranoyds will be releasing their long-anticipated debut Carnage Bargain via Suicide Squeeze. Through the album with songs like the fuzzed-out guitar drive “Girlfriend Degree” classic horror flick soundtrack imprint on “Face First,” The Paranoyds veer away from being untrue to themselves.
OffShelf: There is a heavy dosage of punk and grunge within the band’s sound. What is it about these genres that spoke to all of you growing up?
Lexi Funston: We all independently found that style of music and discovered bands within that genre during our early teenage years. This is probably one of the first things we bonded over in the early days! What’s there not to love? The rawness, the emotion-putting your feelings out there and having the music match it. It’s quite cathartic.
OS: Residing in Los Angeles, there’s a lot of people who are out trying to fit into a certain mood. As a group that has devoted themselves to be authentic, is there a struggle at times to remain so?
LF: It’s cool that everyone is out here trying to do their thing – they should make sure they’re doing what they want because they want to. That’s what we’ve always done. We imagine it would be exhausting being inauthentic.
OS: How long did the writing and recording process for Carnage Bargain?
LF: We’ve been playing most of the songs from Carnage Bargain live for a few years now. For some of the newer ones, like “Girlfriend Degree” or “Carnage Bargain” either Staz or Lexi will come to rehearsal with a melody or lick or an idea for a song. And then the rest of the band will hash it out. It’s pretty organic, and everyone is super involved in all the parts.
OS: You mainly got the band starting due to being at DIY shows around town. What would you say is the state of the DIY scene in Los Angeles?
Laila Hashemi: The talent around here is so incredible. The music/DIY scene here is a huge collective and a really tight-knit community. We really wouldn’t have been able to get our start without this. Bands are constantly helping and supporting each other, and we feel so lucky to be a part of this scene.
OS: Staz and Laila – your friendship’s beginnings trace back to the days of Myspace. Had did you two end crossing paths?
LH: Staz and I used to pass each other in the halls in 9th grade, and she stopped me one day and commented on a shirt I made, and I told her I could make her one as well. We didn’t really know each other beyond this interaction, but then we found each other on Myspace and it sort of blossomed from there!
OS: Given how the music industry is today, many bands look to social media to get noticed. How frustrating does to become for the group to go about getting attention outside the vortex?
LH: It is a bit tough because followers have become currency in any business really, and we’d like to base our worth off of more than that. It’s cool that bands have a platform where they can promote and express themselves, but it’s a shame that it’s become so commodified.
OS: As a collective, do you feel that it’s crucial to spotlight the fears and anxiety within your lyrics?
Staz Lindes: Absolutely. Music is a reflection of time and culture, and there’s a lot of shit going on right now that has us feeling sick. It’s important to talk about these issues, and be able to express our fears and anxieties in a cathartic way.
OS: Opening for acts such as Albert Hammond Jr., Sunflower Bean, Tacocat, and BRONCHO, to name a few, what would you say was the biggest takeaway from those experiences?
SL: Learning how to live with three other people in a tiny mobile apartment is a trip. You learn so much about yourself and the things you need to work on. The best part is for sure, the adventure of meeting cool kids across America. We drive for 8 hours, sometimes 10, and then have to play. That’s a long way to drive to play for 30 minutes… but it’s worth it!!! There’s nothing like making new friends in new places! All those bands we opened for have the dopest fans too. We’ve been really lucky.
OS: Where do you see the band headed, sonically, for future recordings?
SL: We’d like to try even less recording-wise. Using a really shitty microphone through a blown-out amp for vocals. But we also want to start experimenting with guest musicians with fun instruments!