Premiere: The Paranoyds Spawn “Hungry Sam”
Fronted by it-model and bassist Staz Lindes, the DIY quartet taps into their Myspace-bred roots.
It’s a tale as old as 2007: Two L.A. scene kids, complete strangers but for their thriving Myspace friendship, definitely recognize each other at school but do not talk. Such was the case for Staz Lindes and Laila Hashemi, whose mutual stare-downs would thaw into an IRL friendship, eventually blossoming as two-fourths of quartet The Paranoyds. Fast-forwarding through Lindes’s rise as an It-girl model and Hedi girl, The Paranoyds have become one of L.A.’s most established DIY bands, co-fronted by Lindes and guitarist/singer Lexi Funston, with Hashemi on keys and David Ruiz on drums. But after years of garage-based jamming and self-managed indie success, the foursome recently signed with the label Suicide Squeeze—a development that hasn’t diminished any of the band’s high school-spun charm.
Ahead of the new single “Hungry Sam,” a commentary on the minutiae of modern IRL social life, we caught up with the band, talking current inspirations, ranging from the warping effects of reality TV to Jerry Springer memes.
V What precipitated you guys signing with Suicide Squeeze?
Lexi Funston Well we have been totally DIY this whole time—self-managed and putting everything out on our own. So it’s a pretty big step, and with it comes our new single, “Hungry Sam.” We are going to have a music video with it. I guess it’s nice to kind of just have support [of a label]. Like having a daddy. [All laugh]
V Did they seek you out? How did you get together with your label daddy?
Staz Lindes They approached us, which was cool. They we’re kind of just like hey we like everything that you are doing. We just want to kind of back it and help you distribute it more globally, more nationwide or whatever. Kind of offer that support and extra push that we are not fully able to do on our own.
V How has your relationship [as a band] evolved over the years?
David Ruiz We all know what each other smell like.
Laila Hashemi I feel like we definitely have a language that we can only understand with each other. We kind of speak our own language at this point.
LF What’s been really great is that we were friends before the band, like for years. Especially Laila and I—we go back as far back as pre-school. And we have been friends with David now for like five years. This band thing is something that we all wanted to do. [That history] just kind of deescalates maybe any potential pitfalls that bands run into.
V Did you guys grow up on the West Side? I associate you with that part of L.A…
LF Yeah the girls grew up West Side, Santa Monica… “West Side!” [laughs]
LH Yeah I met Staz in 9th grade. We would see each other in the hall and not talk to each other. We both were, like, scene kids, so we were like, “Oh there’s one other scene kid. I should probably talk to her.” So we started talking on Myspace.
SL We kind of had like a little Myspace relationship going on. I’d call it a Myspace courtship.
LH Damn Staz, you were getting around on Myspace…
SL You don’t even know dude… That’s how I have all the friends that I have now. That’s how I know my brother. [All laugh]
V Were you all independently into or making music throughout high school? How did you decide to share your music in real life?
SL It definitely took so long. For me, I never thought I was going to be able to perform publicly because I had such anxiety and stage fright. I was just like, I’ll never do that, even though I was putting out extremely vulnerable music on Myspace. The idea of being in front of a crowd was like really scary.
V So how did you go from that to touring with Sunflower Bean and being photographed by Hedi Slimane, etc.?
SL When I was living in New York, around 2014, there was not really a big music scene. But one of my friends was like you have to see Sunflower Bean. And I thought they were like the greatest band. I was just a fangirl. Eventually they moved to LA and we [The Paranoyds] had formed by then, so we started playing with them.
[By around 2016] I was done with New York. I was like fuck I want to move back to LA and play shows with my [own] band. I drove across america literally like that same week. And [Hedi came by] the first show we played in Venice, so that was cool.
V Cool. So tell me about the new single, “Hungry Sam.”
LF It’s about [that feeling] of saying too much, and you are like, oh god, why did I say that? And I think it’s a cool song because it shows off everyone’s instrumentation. Laila has a cool, Jamaican-cruise-ship solo at the end. Everybody is doing their thing. I think it’s a good representation of who we are and our musicianship.
V Tell us about the album art and video. It looks like both take place on a kind of TV set.
LF We all [have thoughts] about reality TV and how it affects our day to day. The music video [kind of depicts] a dystopian reality TV cooking show—like what might happen if you blindly follow those shows. So I cook something that makes everybody sick but people are just blindly following it.
SL Our generation was kind of the guinea pig for early reality TV; we had Jerry Springer, The Simple Life, and all of the VH1 stuff. We were like, oh this is so funny, and that’s why we see those Jerry Springer memes [on Tumblr] now. But now fast forward 10 years later, and the fucking president is a reality TV star and the Kardashians are in power. Now it’s like actual life. It’s such an distorted time for what’s real and what’s not. So “Hungry Sam” is maybe commentary on that.
See tour dates for The Paranoyds here.