LeAnder, an American alternative rock band from Nashville, is performing at First Friday, where they will be celebrating their newest EP release. We had the opportunity to talk to the band’s bass play, Logan Rhea, to get all the inside information on their music, passions, and what drives them as a band.
MW: In 2015, LeAnder went on a house tour that included College Station. What is the band’s connection to College Station and why was it chosen to be the Texas town for that tour?
LR: Right, so our lead singer, Scott Anderle’s parents live out in College Station.They just moved there and his dad is finishing up his degree, so he is actually going to Texas A&M to get his degree. Scott’s dad met a guy named Sam who is involved in Young Life and knows a lot of people. Through him we were able to get the connection to do a house show that was basically like a benefit concert. It was with Young Life and it was a house show with waffles where we were able to raise money, and all the money people paid for waffles went to funding to send people to Young Life, specifically I believe it was for young single moms. So that is our main connection to College Station, and also I know that Scott’s fiance has family that lives in Bryan I think, so that is another connection we have to College Station.
MW: That sounds like a great fundraising concert and a great reason to play in College Station. LeAnder’s website identifies you as an American alternative rock band. How did the band develop its sound and were there any bands that had a significant influence on that?
LR: Yeah, definitely, so we have a lot of different influences. Pop influences, rock influences, alternative influences. Our drummer, he is influenced mostly by Paramore, John Mayer, Trio, and Twenty-One Pilots. I am more influenced by Switchfoot, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Amberlin. And then the lead singer, Scott, he is more influenced by Needtobreathe, Relient K, and some of those type of bands. We pretty much just all came together and that’s how we formed our sound. We have songs that are singer/songwriter type songs, our songs range from rock to Christian, almost CCM influenced, and then we have some songs that are more alternative. Whenever I pitch it to people, I always say it is like a combination of Needtobreathe meets 30 Seconds to Mars. We are definitely really influenced by a nostalgic early 2000s rock with some of the pop indie rock bands, like Colony House–they are a huge influence on all of us.
MW: Those are all great influences, and after listening to the EPs, I was able to recognize all of those bands’ influences in LeAnder’s unique sound. So, your first EP released in 2016. What success was found through that EP and how would you say it impacted the growth of the band?
LR: Well, we got featured on a Movie Pilot blog. That Ep is called ‘Invictus’ and it has three songs on it, all very different songs. There is a pop song, a rock song, and a singer/songwriter type song. Anyways, we had a music video that went along with “Steakhouse,” the pop song, and that is what was featured on Movie Pilot, which is a huge blog. One of the reasons we were featured is because Scott came up with this amazing idea for a story with the music video. That song is basically a retelling of the prodigal son story through a modern day twist featuring Darth Vader as the father figure and Luke Skywalker as the older brother and the younger brother as Batman because he lost his parents. So it is really a song that features the prodigal son story of acceptance, adoption, grace, and people coming back into your life. It is a song of second chances because Scott had gone through some stuff in his life where he had been shown grace even though he didn’t deserve it and he was given second chances, so it parallels the prodigal son with Scott’s personal life and some events that happened.
MW: Very cool. So “The Tension” just dropped this month. How did that new release differ from “Invictus,” and on the other hand, how do you think the band maintained its sound from the first EP to the second?
LR: ‘Invictus’ was us stepping out and basically saying, “Hey, we think we are supposed to do this and this is our first step at becoming a band.” Scott had really written all the songs and we just kinda played them on the record. “The Tension” was more of the band’s first official album where we all really contributed to songwriting. The first EP was more of Scott’s solo project featuring us stepping out as a band, but Phase 2 LeAnder featuring “The Tension” was a more mature sound. We have five songs instead of three, we have a wider dynamic, and an edgier modern rock sound that definitely defines us more as a band than Scott’s solo project. This one was more of a collective effort, we were featured on a lot more blogs and what we are really excited about is our music video. With this EP we were taking the step from starting to sustaining, and then our next project is going to be building momentum and carrying the momentum. Also, as far as lyrically, this has a lot more depth in the second EP, so that is why the album is called “The Tension.” Almost all of these songs are very inspired by real life events that the band has been going through. “The Change” was written out of the hardship of losing jobs and losing relationships that we went through, how sometimes there is beauty in the chaos and the surrender is where you find true peace of letting go. The first EP was done by a bunch of grad students and this new project was all mixed, mastered, and produced as a totally self-made project by our drummer Andrew Hall. There is a lot to say about this new record, we are really stoked. We have had these songs for a while, and one we are most excited about that is sort of the anthem of the band is “Feel My Bones.” This songs says life is too short to do what you don’t believe in so despite the chaos right now continue the course, go for your dreams and do what you believe in.
MW: One thing I noticed when listening to the tracks was that there were such genuine messages in the lyrics. What are the passions of the band and what does LeAnder want fans and listeners to know about you as a band as well as individuals?
LR: We are very passionate about using music as an outlet to explore deeper life questions such as faith, doubt, hope, dreams, things like that. We want to use our music as a platform to inspire others. Specifically we love creatives and dreamers, because Nashville is the land of dreamers, but also we want to invest in the younger generation. We all had musicians and artists above us who invested in our dreams so we try and do that on and off stage at our shows. This is to positively impact people by being authentic with our messages, as well as through our actions and interactions. The band has come up with a mission statement that is “We’re on a journey and an adventure of discovering what it means to be fully alive,” so we really want to invite our audience to join us on this wild adventure of what it means to be fully alive. The more we challenge that question and use songs to relay that message, we are able to see people impacted by it where they have hope again and a positive purpose for living. I don’t think we are only meant to survive in this life, I think we are supposed to thrive.
MW: LeAnder will be performing at the Grand Stafford for First Friday along with The New Offenders, The Mammoths, and Honest Men. What can those attending expect from LeAnder at this show?
LR: We work hard to make the performance entertaining and high energy. They can expect a lot of crowd involvement, a few anthems that involve different intros and outros, and they can expect at least one cover that will rock your socks off: an Elvis Presley cover of “Can’t Stop Falling in Love.” They can expect to have the most fun they are going to ever have on that Friday. This will be right in the heat of our first tour and our first time playing a real venue in Bryan, so we are stoked for this show.
The Grand Stafford offers live music free on First Friday and the doors will open at 7pm. LeAnder as well as the other bands will be rocking out all night and hope you head out to see what they are all about and witness “The Tension” live.