Turn on just about any pop or alternative radio station, and you’ll likely hear at least one of two things: a strong female vocalist, or some moody electronic music.
Layne Putnam brings both of those to the table when she teams up with drummer Alex Rosca to become the duo simply known as Layne, but the vocalist is working hard to distinguish herself from the scene full of Halsey and PVRIS clones. It’s hard enough to develop an online following when searching for the band primarily brings up information about and music from a deceased rock legend, so Putnam figures she’ll go about it the old-fashioned way. She’ll win people over with her signature brand of delightfully gloomy indie pop rock.
“I think it’s hard to put it in a genre, but if I had to pick a genre, I’d call it indie pop rock,” Putnam says. “It has very soft drums and long groovy guitar parts, but it also has heavy emotional synths and stuff.”
At this point, Layne is just the most recent venture in a lifelong musical career for the young Putnam. The South Dakota native has been working on records and putting out her own music since she was 14, so it just made sense for her to move to SoCal and pursue music on a grander scale. Once out here, it didn’t take long before she found someone to fill in the other half of her musical needs.
“I was making music since I was really really little, but the actual band didn’t come together until I moved here,” Putnam says. “I moved out here and decided I really wanted to start putting a band together. I ended up meeting Alex [Rosca] through a person who doesn’t matter now, and we just met and immediately knew it was going to work.”
Since the day they met, Rosca and Putnam have been working together virtually nonstop. They share the same taste in music, many of the same philosophies on life, and have even created a unique dystopian world as a physical and visual backdrop for their tracks. The upcoming EP, The Black Hills, will be their fans’ first glimpse into that world with the songs to accompany it.
“The EP is going to be a good introduction to our music,” Putnam says. “It’ll be a good way for people to kind of learn about us a little bit. I’m excited for it to come out, because we’ve only put two songs out so far. It’ll be a good opportunity for people to hear more of a body of work and get into who we are as a band. It’s one small step in a long ladder. We’ve got a lot more coming after this.”
While many bands struggle to get anyone to listen to the first few songs they create, Layne’s success began right from the start. The two songs they’ve released to this point – “Good” and “Somebody” – have landed them within the top 15 on Spotify’s Viral 50 chart both nationally and globally. With Putnam’s prowess on vocals, guitar, bass, synths, and everything other than drums, the duo creates a full sound on each song. Rather than attempting to re-create it digitally in a live atmosphere, Layne becomes a quartet for concerts.
“It’s not just the two of us on-stage – we play like a band,” Putnam says. “As far as recording goes, you can do anything with a computer. I’m writing a lot of the parts and playing a lot of the instruments on the record, and Alex focuses on the drum parts. You could make a full record by yourself from the computer, but we like to bounce ideas off of each other.”
Outside of music, Putnam sees art in everyday life – or at least in the buildings containing everyday life. As an avid fan of architecture and not satisfied with the variety of structures in California, the multi-instrumentalist is looking forward to traveling abroad to countries like Norway to check out her other passion.
“I think the thing I love about architecture is it’s similar to music in that you’re taking different materials and building an environment,” Putnam says. “I really like the strong lines and the art of it all. I have a very spacial brain, so I see architecture as a very artistic medium.”