The Regrettes' Lydia Night on Festival Season, Helping a Trans Fan & Getting Lin-Manuel Miranda's Approval
Lydia Night admits she's exhausted, and rightfully so. Along with the rest of her band, The Regrettes, the pink-haired powerhouse is still riding the high of her first-ever Governors Ball performance while the riot grrrl ensemble simultaneously kicks off their headlining tour. The four-piece have seen a successful year so far, performing to packed crowds at Coachella and Bonnaroo while also looking forward to their forthcoming sets at Firefly and Lollapalooza.
The Regrettes -- also consisting of Genessa Gariano, Sage Chavis and Drew Thomsen -- rang in 2018 with the release of their second EP. Aptly titled Attention Seeker, the band's latest collection of garage-tinged jams is led by the gritty, tenacious single "Come Through" and comes chock-full of plenty of opportunities to jump, kick and clap along, as thoroughly exemplified by frontwoman Night onstage.
Aside from reigniting the punk scene in their hometown of Los Angeles, The Regrettes also prove age is only a number; Night is 17, although her talent and stage presence belie her youth. Below, she discusses with Billboard all the recent happenings in her budding -- yet immensely promising -- musical career.
You've been doing a ton of festivals between headlining shows. What are some pros and cons, in your opinion, to festival sets versus headlining concerts?
Well with festivals, it’s really nice, because you get to connect with people that may not know who you are at all, and that’s really exciting to have an opportunity to introduce new people to your music. With playing headline shows, you’re connecting with people who are there all for you, which is really special in its own way. They’re super different, but still both are super fun. Just so different.
The Regrettes just covered "Helpless" from Hamilton as part of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamildrop series. How did that come about?
Our producer Mike Elizondo is good friends with Alex [Lacamoire] who arranged Hamilton, and Lin. So he knows I’m a huge fan -- I’m a huge, huge fan of the soundtrack and the musical. So he was working with them on a different Hamildrop, and he presented the idea of having us do one, and everyone was super into it. So we did it. And I got to choose the song, and that one’s my favorite from the whole soundtrack.
So, you kind of have Lin-Manuel Miranda's blessing now. How does that feel?
It’s insane. I remember reading the email after he heard it for the first time and he loved it. I didn’t even think it was real.
Speaking of covers, you guys have done a lot of them. You have a recording of "Back in Your Head" by Tegan and Sara, and you covered Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" at your Brooklyn show. What made you want to cover those?
We’re all just really huge music lovers, so I’m constantly covering songs on my own in my bedroom. With “Back In Your Head” -- Tegan and Sara are on our label. Our label was like, "hey, is there any band that you’d want to put out side-by-side with?" And I was like, "oh, Tegan & Sara, 100 percent." That song was such a huge part of my middle school experience. And then with "Ballroom," it was something that I remember hearing it and thinking "oh my god, live, this would be so fun. Everyone would love it." I just love when I go see a band and there’s a song that they play and I know all the words to and I get to dance to, and it’s just a fun little thing.
What other covers do you perform, and what song do you want to try next?
We have a cover of "A Teenager in Love" [by Dion & The Belmonts] that’s on our EP. We’ll do that live sometimes. We’ve done "Psycho Killer" [Talking Heads], we’ve done some Ramones songs and some Misfits songs. If we’re really into a song, we’ll learn it and do it. I really want to cover "Try a Little Tenderness" [Otis Redding] because I feel like we could do a really crazy different version of it and I think that’s really cool.
You're so young, but you're such a natural onstage. Did you always have a performer personality growing up?
Yes, 100 percent. I have been making my parents sit through me putting on dinner shows and whatnot since I could move and walk. So yes, I was that kid. I was that really obnoxious kid who’s always like, ‘look at me, look at me, look at me!’ And it’s funny, because that was my whole childhood. And then I hit double digits, and I was around 10 -- I started doing open mics and then I got more self-conscious and would just sit with my guitar. It's really funny, because I’ll look at videos from then now, and I’m like, "oh my god, I was so scared." And then I just naturally kept pushing myself more and more, and constantly taking risks. Now I’m here.
Your EP Attention Seeker came out last February. Any developments on the next album? Looking forward, what else are you most excited for?
We’re definitely in the process currently. Around the beginning of next year is when I’m hoping for that. [I'm excited for] more touring and going to new places that we’ve never been. I really want to go to Asia and Australia and just literally everywhere, and just go to all these different places and meet people in these different cultures and communities.
In your career, what's been your proudest moment so far?
I think my proudest moment was the time where someone after a show came up to us and told us that “A Living Human Girl,” our song, helped them get through a sex change. And that was a moment that was really just so cool, and so inspiring. That was the fuel to the fire of "OK, we gotta keep doing this and have as many people hear this music as possible."