There’s something about experiencing a city through the eyes of other people. As a Los Angeles resident for the last 4 years, I’ve gotten into my routine; found my usual spots and mainly stick to those, only really exploring outside of them via friends visiting from out of town or when I’m being forced to be ~adventurous~.
When I met up with LA based band Sir Sly, they had me meet them somewhere I had never been to before: Grand Central Market.
“It has a great feel to it,” member Hayden Coplen explains.
“It’s an easy place to meet,” adds lead singer Landon Jacobs. Jacobs mentions that downtown LA is an area he, Coplen, and other member Jason Suwito frequent, particularly Grand Central Market. The last time they were here, they were meeting their manager for breakfast. “It’s a nice place to go on a Saturday morning and grab breakfast after a night out.”
Sir Sly are a breeze to get along with. We walk through the market, stopping to get some water and talking about their favorite places to eat. When we sat, the chemistry between the three of them is endless. They riff with each other and seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company and learning new things about each other and what the city of Los Angeles means to them as people and as performers.
Jacobs, Coplen, and Suwito all hail from Orange County where they met (Jacobs and Suwito still currently live there, Coplen resides in west LA). Once Coplen moved to LA during college, they would all hang out in the city — feeling like they were living the dream, or at least on the verge of it. “Growing up in the suburbs, going into the city — it was crazy to see so many people around and so many different people,” says Jacobs.
“It’s so dumb, I lived an hour away but I remember going to college…that one hour drive…I instantly felt way better,” Coplen explains.
The expectations the trio had about this idealize city were met though. The creativity and depictions of it fueled them into developing what would ultimately be Sir Sly.
“If you want to come here and make music and make art, there’s a lot of outlets for that,” says Coplen. “That’s what I wanted out of LA growing up. I wanted this idea of this place where you could thrive as an artist and I feel like that’s true.”
Jacobs agrees. “It’s everything you want it to be. Except a place to see celebrities.” (He’s right, you never ever see celebrities. Trust me.)
The second place that the band took me on our tour of downtown LA was across the street: the newly reopened Angel’s Flight. The iconic train that takes you on an incline rail to a vantage point of the city. While it has been around since 1901, the attraction shut down in 2001 following a fatal accident. After a few short-lived reopenings in 2010 and 2013 — as well as brief appearance in 2016’s La La Land — Angel’s Flight officially reopened to the public just a couple of months before my meeting with Sir Sly. And it was particularly special for Coplen.
“My grandpa was obsessed with trains — of all varieties,” he explains. “So he would take me on Angel’s Flight. It was something we would do together. Angel’s Flight is a very fond memory, more than any spot in LA.”
Angel’s Flight, admittedly, was terrifying. Because of the huge incline and only a couple of months into the reopening, there were some technical difficulties. However, it was great to experience Coplen relive his childhood. And of course the view at the top once we reached our destination.
“Ryan Gosling saved jazz and Angel’s Flight,” Coplen jokes as we climb out of the train. It was an incredible sight to see on a Saturday morning: a side of LA I had never seen before with the guys who knew it best.