Reading & Leeds can make or break a band. Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, Foals and more have used the Bank Holiday piss-up as chances to climb up the rung and cement their legacies. Razorlight, The Darkness and, er, Daphne & Celeste? They didn’t get on too well afterwards…
But for every headliner or returning legend, there’s those that are just starting out and have to open the stages across the venue. Not all of them make it, but we reckon The Regrettes have got a pretty good shot at it.
The LA punks have this year’s honour of getting the hungover masses moving and grooving with their opening slot on the main stage. And you should go. They’re achingly cool, have a live show that’ll made your head go all dizzy and are doing this all at the age 17. Puts us all to shame, to be honest.
Last month, the band’s lead singer Lydia Night gave us the lowdown on being in a band from 15, the upcoming gig, and not waging wars with misogynistic keyboard warriors.
The Regrettes met at School Of Rock in L.A., which is basically our Brit School, but for Hollywood kids. Competitive place, then?
Honestly it was kind of competitive because kids are naturally competitive. But not everyone was, and I didn’t really care. It teaches you how to support other artists and try and avoid that. It really forces you to learn how to communicate.
Since then you’ve been playing shows in LA and beyond for years. Have people underestimated you because of your age?
100%. Every article and interview we did – it would be what everyone focuses on. I’ve been doing this since I was 15, so yeah: ‘15-year-old in a band’. It’s just like, ‘Pick something else to talk about’. I honestly just think it’s lazy too. Also in venues and shit we have to deal with this. Sound guys always assume I don’t know how to work my amp; I’ve been playing for 10 years. Like, ‘Please step away, this is ridiculous’. So, yeah we’ve had to prove ourselves. On top of that I’m a chick. So it’s like they have double reason to doubt me.
Is that from industry people?
I mean, just the way people talk to you is different. But we are surrounded by some of the most badass people in the music industry and we love it. They don’t let people get too close, they’re shady. But I can sense people that are full of shit so fast.
How about from people online?
Yeah, but not fans of us. It’s funny because I kind of love it. All of the hate we get on the internet I automatically know is based on bullshit. On our music videos, almost every negative comment is literally like: ‘It’s just a bunch of chicks, get back in the kitchen.’ So many things you didn’t think people would still say. We’re kind of in our little bubble of liberal feminists. When you see that you’re like, ‘Why would I internalise that?’ The only comments you internalise are things you partially believe. Comments like that I’m like, ‘OK, please keep talking, you sound like the biggest idiot.’
And now you’re kicking off Reading & Leeds this summer. That’s cool!
I know – it’s the biggest festival here, pretty much. It’s a huge thing and it’s been on my bucket list. It’s kind of daunting, I don’t know why. But it’s fucking cool.
Last year there was an incident where you were attacked on stage. How did you deal with that in the aftermath?
When I’m on stage, I’ve always trained myself to think as little as possible and to be real and in-the-moment. A lot of bands plan out what they’re going to say, and they plan out their set – we don’t do that. Why don’t you just listen to a record if you want a script? When you’re totally in the zone and someone literally fucking pushes you it’s like, ‘Oh my god why, what is happening?’
Taking a break from the stage never actually came into my mind, which I think a lot of people were surprised by. I think it was more, ‘Do I need to take more precautions, like, security-wise?’ and ‘Do I need to think more when I’m on stage?’. We had a month’s break after that, which was really nice. You can’t plan for something like that.
I’m not going to try and hush my mouth to please these arseholes – Lydia Night
You released your album quite a while ago now – do you still feel fond of it?
I still feel fond of it. I don’t go and listen to it, I never did. I always thought about when we’d be touring and I was like, ‘Ah shit, we’re gonna get so sick of these songs.’ Weirdly, we haven’t, because it’s not about the songs anymore – it’s about us having fun. It’s almost more fun because we really aren’t thinking about it.
‘A Living Human Girl’ is a bit of a highlight. Why did you feel compelled to write this song?
Honestly, just starting high school everything changed for me when it came to body image and self-love. I’d grown up in such a sheltered community and I never cared about any of that. I’m a very social person so I made friends really quickly and all my friends were great, but all of these girls had been dealing since middle school with all of these issues that I had never had. So to be thrown into sitting with someone eating and they’re like, ‘Oh, look at the calories.’ I didn’t know what a calorie meant, I had no idea, I didn’t give a shit. All of a sudden it was like, ‘If they care, then I have to care.’ It was really bad and I struggled with it a lot.
That song, for me, was when I was kind of at a breaking point and I was like, ‘Hold on, I make music, I need to help myself, I need to write a song I can have for myself.’ It’s like faking it until you make it, and now I’m so confident. It’s really cool to stand there and sing those lyrics and believe it.
You’ve been outspoken against Trump on social media. Are your comments a shit show now?
Yeah, which is weird because I don’t know how they found our Instagram. Like, it’s funny I posted a sign and I think it said something like, ‘People have more rights when it comes to getting a gun than women do with the clothes they wear’. We got so much hate.
We’ve got a couple of people asking, ‘Do you think if you speak out, you’re going to lose fans?’ and I was like, ‘I hope so’. I hope none of our fans are like that. We want our shows to always feel like a safe space and a loving space, and those people aren’t loving or safe, so I don’t want them there. I’m not going to try and hush my mouth to please these arseholes.
The Regrettes’ debut album ‘Feel Your Feelings Fool!’ is out now