Above: Lydia Night of The Regrettes performing at The Low Beat in Albany, 2017. Photo: Kiki Vassilakis
When The Regrettes last rolled through the Capital Region in 2017, the band of teenagers were already topping the Billboard charts with feminist anthems and White House critiques. Lead singer Lydia night stood at the pulpit, singing about heartbreak and self-discovery.
In our interview that year, she mentioned her frustrations with being compared to other women in the music scene, being labeled as a “girl band” and the suspicion that the band was being highlighted for being young and non-male in the punk rock scene over the significance of their music. She gushed about touring Europe for the first time and being inspired by new sights and experiences.
Since then, the band has lost and gained new members, played stadium tours and major festival circuits, taken on Kavanaugh and more. They’ve come into their own. Through it all, Night and the band have stayed rooted in their vulnerability and willingness to explore issues that bear down on the human experience—be that politics, human rights or the deepest of them all, our most intimate relationships to one another.
Their new album How Do You Love?, the fittingly named follow-up to 2017’s Feel Your Feelings Fool!, is available Aug. 9. The band is currently touring on the record, heading to The Hollow in Albany Aug. 1. The Collaborative caught up with Night to talk about the band’s shifting sound and heavy touring schedule and Night’s coming of age in the high intensity lifestyle of the popular music industry.
The Collaborative: The singles from the upcoming album How Do You Love? seem to have more of a pop feel than your previous work. I’ve also noticed the band is being recognized more as a power pop band now than your early punk connections. Is that something you have been working towards?
Lydia Night: This definitely has more of a poppier feel than we’ve ever done but there are also a lot of songs on it that don’t feel poppy to me. It’s sort of a mixed bag going on. I’m really excited about all of them.
Photo courtesy of Warner Records
CO: The band dynamic has changed quite a bit since you’ve started, from the founding members now it’s just you and Genessa [Gariano]. How does that work when it comes to forming creative ideas like your music videos, promo, stage presence, songwriting and such? Do you find yourself having to take the lead in the change or do you all try to stick with full band decisions?
LN: I take a lead on certain things but everything is as collaborative as possible. We geek out over talking about merch and new ideas. It all comes from us. We definitely use each other all the time to bounce off ideas.
CO: In so much of The Regrettes work, it feels like you’re writing about yourself but also trying to make this connection with an audience in a way that benefits both of you. I don’t want to call it a trend because it would be nice if more people were writing with such an awareness of what’s going on in the world, but The Regrettes have always been good about speaking up about issues and owning your identity. Is that something you always wanted to share with people?
LN: I think that was my writing style, or tone, from the beginning and then I leaned into it more later on. I started realizing—because when you first start writing music you’re not assuming anybody is listening yet—later on as people started listening, that it was the coolest thing ever. It’s this natural thing because my writing style is super vulnerable and I think, relatable.
CO: You’ve been doing some heavy touring, along with festival runs, lately and even had to take a break for vocal rest recently. That’s a lot to handle and you in particular have been really involved in the music industry since you were pretty young. What draws you to this lifestyle and keeps you committed to the madness of it?
LN: It’s a little bit of everything, that’s why it’s very difficult and definitely a commitment doing what we do. I choose to be in it as much as possible, it’s definitely a choice and yeah, it’s hard but I’ve been doing it for so long that now it’s just what I do. I don’t even question it. There are moments where I’m like, “Oh my god, I’m fucking exhausted,” and then I just forget about it because when you’re on tour you’re just in go mode. That’s what you’re there to do and there’s a reason you’re doing it–because you love it. You forget that your body will eventually just be like, “You need to cool off.” It’s hard to remember how to take care of yourself but we’ve been getting a lot better at it and learn with time.
CO: Are there new or different things The Regrettes have accomplished this year that you didn’t expect you would’ve been able to do when starting out? The Twenty One Pilots headlining gig was pretty big and when you all were last in Albany, you played a pretty intimate show at The Low Beat.
LN: Yeah, when we went on tour with Twenty One Pilots we played a bunch of arenas, which is something I didn’t see us doing. That was crazy and a whirlwind. I try to play every show to the fullest but it’s so different having to work with a different sized stage. That naturally changes the performance.
CO: Do you find, with all of this going on—and with your writing style being so in tune with standing up for yourself against toxic relationships, authority, patriarchy—you often have to advocate for yourself working in this industry and being hyper aware of these issues?
LN: Yeah. It’s so hard when you have so many people telling you what is the right thing to do–and who have been doing it for a long, long time. But there are certain things you know in your gut aren’t the right choice. Trusting yourself and knowing that saying no is OK and making sure the people around you know that you saying no is OK and should be respected takes a long time to learn but it’s so important. Just listen. It’s not even about them agreeing with you. It’s about respecting.
CO: Do you have any advice for new artists who are coming up in an age where you have to do so much self promotion, in terms of time management and boundaries?
LN: When you’re starting out, you don’t have much to lose. So don’t be scared to start conversations with people. I know that going up to people at a show or making friends with other bands can feel like a weird, “being pushy” kind of experience but it’s so important to make those connections. It’s about putting yourself out there and trusting and being confident that you are worth someone’s conversation and worth paying attention to.