Layne Putnam, the lead singer and guitarist of the indie pop-rock duo LAYNE, and her musical partner Alex Rosca created an entire world to live inside while making their new album, The Black Hills, which was released on Friday, Aug. 26. The world, called “The In Between,” while obviously fictional, is definitely represented the sound on the new album – dark, quasi-dystopian and existentially curious.
“I grew up in the woods, so I’m incredibly sensitive to environment,” said Putnam, who grew up in South Dakota. “And I think music fits in that as well. You use different materials to create an environment and so the idea was that I wanted to make a space where fans could go that they could listen to the music, look at the visuals or go to the show and feel like they are in this environment.
“For some reason it just popped into my head one day – it’s the in between. We’re in the in between. We’re in between feelings, we’re in between genres. Everybody can relate to the in between. I feel like they’re in between relationships, jobs or whatever it is and I thought that was a really cool way to encapsulate what this environment is.”
Putnam, the daughter of violinist Kenny Putnam, said that she wants to create a community for her fans using this concept of The In Between. LAYNE is bringing that world to the Washington, D.C. region tonight when the band plays at DC9.
She ventured into this world herself after creating the song “Somebody,” which has already surpassed one million plays on Spotify and landed on the U.S. Spotify Viral 50 and Global Viral 50 Spotify/Billboard charts. That song, created about two years ago, is higher tempo than most or all of her songs on The Black Hills and is a lighter than those songs as well.
“‘Somebody’ is a much quicker BPM,” Putnam said. “But it’s still the same color scheme. We have color schemes for every song. So it’s still in the same alignment color-wise, but that song was a much faster BPM. And then when we got to “Good” and the EP I was more influenced by that slow groove that just makes you lean. But the guitar parts are similar. I’ve always found those picky, groovy guitars, but the songs are mixed differently, too.”
Putnam has been representing her home state of South Dakota since at least “Somebody,” where she references The Black Hills, but went all in to represent for where she’s from on her new album. “We actually went up to my hometown in The Black Hills and we got a bunch of samples from this lake that I used to write songs at,” Putnam said. “And we got samples of the wind and the environment and we used them in the record. So I wanted to…pay tribute to where I’m from and it fits in that aesthetic. And we used so many sounds from that environment, so we thought it was fitting.”
On “Twuh,” Putnam uses sounds that she and Los Angeles-based engineer/producer Devon Corey, who is Putnam’s best friend, recorded at Lake Sheridan in South Dakota.
“The first thing that you hear is the water moving from the lake and then we recorded me walking on gravel,” Putnam said. “And then I was just coming up with drum ideas when we got back to the house and we were working in the studio and I started playing a drum beat on my hands and Devon was recording everything. So that was me thinking of a drum idea and it was messy and weird and we thought that was cool…so we ran with that.”
• For more information about LAYNE, visit laynemusic.us.