Lydia Night has only just left the chaos of the Coachella desert behind. The Regrettes’ first weekend performing at the festival was “super fun”, but it feels like every other week the band are someplace unexplored, doing something new, exciting and potentially terrifying.
Their first time on live TV, performing the joyous ‘Hey Now’ on Conan, was the most scared Lydia has ever been. “I was so nervous, I was flipping the shit,” she laughs.
But things quickly change. They performed ‘Red Light’ and ‘Come Through’ on Jimmy Kimmel recently, and it was way easier.
Since the release of The Regrettes’ debut album ‘Feel Your Feelings, Fool!’ at the opening of last year, things have constantly been changing for the group.
“We’ve grown a lot personally as musicians, and performers and also, our fanbase is growing a lot which is incredible and bizarre to see,” but they’ve taken every twist, step and shout in their stride.
People connecting to what they’ve got to say isn’t that surprising for them, “because I feel like we write songs that are extremely personal and real, so it just makes sense to me.”
When they first started out, there were a couple of conversations about dreams, and about what this band could become, “[but] more than anything, it’s just happened naturally,” Lydia explains.
Enjoying the ride, now “we come up with things constantly.” Less a list of things to achieve or and more a collection of good times, The Regrettes are more than happy to go their own way.
Their debut album sees the band toy with what’s expected. Frontperson Lydia is seventeen, the rest of the band aren’t much older, and across ‘Feel Your Feelings, Fool!’ they prove those expectations wrong. It wasn’t intentional, though.
“We do that on our own just by being good at what we do; we prove people wrong through that. I don’t think we need to try really. People underestimate you because of your age or your gender, and I think it’s stupid. Once they see us play or listen to us, most of the time, they understand that we deserve the spot we have just as much as anyone else.”
That debut album is defiant, but The Regrettes aren’t afraid to feel their feelings.
“I’ve just noticed how people are so scared to be vulnerable and really admit how they’re truly feeling and I have felt that way in the past too. I was just sick of it. I feel like a lot of our songs were extremely personal and I’m a super personal writer, I felt like it made a lot of sense to make that the whole message of it.”
The band are already on the move; earlier this year they released their ‘Attention Seeker’ EP.
“I myself am definitely an attention seeker,” laughs Lydia, “and I think a lot of people are. It can turn into a super unhealthy thing, and I’ve been discovering a lot of that recently and learning a lot about that. The two songs [‘Red Light’ and ‘Come Through’] show two very different sides of a relationship. I felt like the title tied into that because in relationships, people just constantly want attention and when they get it, they’re over it.”
Alongside new tracks, the EP reworks ‘Hey Now’ and ‘Human Living Girl’ as well as a cover of ‘Teenager In Love’.
“I’ve been doing that cover since I was really, really little. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs, it’s super timeless, and I thought it would be fun for us to do it.”
Album two is already in the works, but they have no idea what shape, direction or colour it will take. The excitement about the unknown crackles in her voice.
“When I was younger, when I was really little, I went to see The Donnas in concert. It was an all-female band, and I thought it was the most badass thing ever, and I want to do that,” starts Lydia.
More recently, she draws inspiration from everyday life, she says. “Just what I’m going through and the things I see around me.”
She wants people to get “a sense of more self-love, or acceptance” from their music. “If they listen to a song that talks a lot about emotions they’re going through, you probably feel a lot less alone in it, and it’s a lot easier to love yourself in that way. That’s what I’ve learned anyway.”
“‘Living Human Girl’ is our most important song, just ‘cos I think it’s a song everyone should hear, especially young women or women in general,” Lydia continues.
“I don’t write music just for women. That song is geared towards that because it was written for myself, to get myself out of a weird, insecure place and I definitely do think a lot of our fans are young women because they can relate, but I think everyone can relate to our music.”
The Regrettes are spending most of this summer on the road. From The Great Escape to Reading & Leeds, they’re keeping themselves super busy. Getting onstage in a strange place and playing their songs, which are direct, vulnerable and personal, to a bunch of strangers sounds like one of those things that should terrify the band.
“I’m used to it, so I don’t really care anymore,” shrugs Lydia. “I honestly don’t even think about it anymore, because we’ve just been touring and playing these songs for so long. It’s easy; it’s not scary anymore.
“It’s just happened gradually. It’s never been too scary for me in this band, but I’ve got a lot more confident with it.”
The band love the unknown.
“With festivals, most of the time most people don’t know who we are, and there’s a lot of new people discovering us. That’s my favourite part. I just want people to have an incredible night of letting go and not worrying about what other people are thinking around them, dance and make friends and just have a very fun experience.”
That idea of having fun is crucial to what The Regrettes do. It’s driven their story so far and is how they’re going to change the world around them. Alongside bands like SWMRS, they’re leading a generation of artists who aren’t waiting for permission to speak their mind, or be told what they can or can’t do.
“We’re in a time where it’s needed,” Lydia asserts. “With our president and things that are coming up in politics and social situations, people are a lot more aware now. It’s a lot easier for young people to stand up, stand their ground and be open with their opinions. I feel very lucky to be a part of that.”
There’s an understandable anger in The Regrettes’ music, but they use that energy to create something fun, welcoming and encouraging. They’re determined to have a good time, despite the bullshit.
“I think turning that into a good time, using that energy and turning it into something positive is really important,” Lydia concludes.
Taken from the June issue of Upset, out now. The Regrettes tour the UK from 19th May.