Even over the phone, Lydia Night’s affability rings through her voice. She’s on a bus to Buffalo, New York, where she’s about to play a gig with her band, The Regrettes. Make no mistake: Night is a seasoned pro when it comes to music. She’s only eighteen, but her band have just released their second album, How Do You Love?
Their first album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! was a zesty introduction to the band’s now trademark fun, frank and feminist music. The Regrettes don’t conform to industry trends of smoky trap or reggaeton/dancehall fusions, either – this band made their bed on nostalgic riot grrrl sass. And that sass is palpable throughout How Do You Love? A narrative centred around “the rise and fall of a relationship, a realisation process and the questioning that goes into it, the back and forth of realising someone is treating you poorly and learning how to come out of that.”
Since the last album, The Regrettes “sonically messed around a lot more with different influences”. Night has previously cited acts like Beyonce, Cardi B and SZA as influences on her last album, and she tells Gigwise that, “a lot of power pop” informs her work. People like The Replacements or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or even rappers that she listens to who have influenced the riffs and rhythms on the album. But that quintessential strain of girl groups is still present in the sound of The Regrettes. As Night maintains, “that attitude… that’s a part of who I am”.
But who is Lydia Night? For one, she’s frank and honest. When we ask Lydia how do you love?, her response is “honesty”. She names vulnerability as one of the most important things that she considers during the songwriting process. And when we ask her about the hardest song to write, she names ‘Go Love You’. “That song was very hard because I was really angry, it came from a very angry place so during the writing process I was pissed off. But it also felt really liberating at the same time.”
This pays off in her external life too; you can tell that Night has no time for immaturity. When referring to her for tips on dealing with emotionally immature relationships, she quips, “Don’t be with that person anymore! It’s a huge no-go for me and a huge red flag, you know, it’s hard. I’m a young female, and I think it’s hard to find a guy who’s mature enough. I don’t know, it’s just difficult. I’ve known many childish boys before.”
It’s clear that Night knows she’s mature, too, “I mean, this sounds kind of bad, but I honestly never feel when I’m talking to someone that I’m not mature. I never really notice that, I think I’m a very mature person.” Some might roll their eyes at that quote, perhaps a sign of a popstar’s inflated sense of self. We argue that it’s a marker of her own self-awareness of her strengths, both in music and outside of it.
Most of the songs from How Do You Love? were written from around the same time of the first album, which she credits to being a "first love” experience. For the most part, the album’s narrative is pretty true to life, “it’s almost all my story. One time I wrote from the perspective of someone else, but overall it’s all from my personal story.” That’s not to say there aren’t moments of cheeky fantasy – In ‘Go Love You’, Lydia recounts calling her love interest’s mother and asking “where the fuck are you?”. When questioned on it, she laughs and says that this didn’t actually happen, but she wish it did.
Overall it’s a fascinating portrait of the Californian teenager, who seems to have wisdom and foresight beyond her years. Lydia Night is someone who is more than a Living Human Girl – she is someone whose mix of fearless attitude and emotional sensitivity combines to create an empowering and bold musical sound.
How Do You Love? is out now.