The Regrettes‘ Lydia Night has spoken to NME about new single ‘Monday’, their upcoming third album, striking up a friendship with Olivia Rodrigo and why she’s “over letting anyone ever be a dickhead without telling them”.
Having released two songs last year, the polished sway of ‘I Love Us’ and quarantine anthem ‘What Am I Gonna Do Today?’, the LA punks’ recent material marks a departure from the 50’s influenced riot girl sound that the band became known for when they emerged in 2015.
“It set up what we wanted to do going into this new album,” Night told NME. “Hopefully it gave people a little clue that they should have no idea what to expect next.”
Inspired by Charli XCX, Brockhampton, Gwen Stefani, The 1975, Kanye West and The Voidz, ‘Monday’ sees Night finally embracing her inner popstar.
“If you’d have said that a few years ago, I would have been insulted,” she said. “Now though, ‘Fuck yeah it’s a pop song.’ I’m stoked. It’s the first time we fully embraced what we were listening to instead of pulling from things we grew up loving.”
“I’ve always known I’d make pop music, but only when it became excusable –I thought maybe it would have been a solo thing or when I’d done enough to make myself cool. I love the punk scene and it helped me gain the confidence I have now but when we signed to Warner, I had so many people telling me not to let them change us. It’s a fair point considering how a lot of major labels treat their artists but it completely disregarded my own voice. I let that get in my head, for sure. For ages, I was worried about proving something to the 50-year-old dads at the back of the room. But here we are, finally growing up.”
She continued: “The biggest thing was making music that wasn’t fear-based. Instead of shying away from something that feels very different for us, we ran towards it.”
Night explained how their new album is finished, and ultimately “feels free”. “Sure, it’s the ‘poppiest’ and ‘danciest’ album we’ve ever made but it’s also the most experimental, the weirdest and the most vulnerable,” she said.
“Our first album [2017’s ‘Feel Your Feelings, Fool’] was about having fun in high school, and the surface-level relationships that came from that. The second [2019’s ‘How Do You Love?’] followed this storyline of a downfall of a relationship, but this album – it’s all about me.
“That makes things scarier than before, but I try not to think about it. The album reflects on the kind of work I’ve been doing in therapy over the past few years. It’s dark but you can definitely dance the pain and the tears away.”
First single ‘Monday’, a whip smart track about messy rooms and existential crises, “was inspired by misery, dread and all the fun emotions of the past couple of years,” said Night. “It was written at one of the peaks of my anxiety, which I was only diagnosed with recently. After years of feeling a certain way but not identifying with any sort of mental illness, this song was me finding the validation for what I was going through. It was super therapeutic.”
The song finishes with the line ‘Hey, I’m still alive‘, which Night believes best sums up the message of the track. “I hope people don’t connect with some of the lyrics but if they do, I want it to be a reminder that they’re good enough,” she said. “We don’t have to constantly be achieving things to be worthy. Sometimes, just being alive is enough. Getting up and making a coffee, that’s enough.”
She went on: “The past 18 months, I’ve had to unlearn what I consider to be productive while playing whack-a-mole with my mental health. I think communally, everyone is very traumatised from the past two years but that doesn’t invalidate anyone’s experiences just because everyone’s gone through it.”
Over the course of lockdown, Night wrote over 70 songs for the album – which said “really taught me how important it is to continue to push yourself.”
Countless times, she’d feel like the record was done but because they couldn’t record, she continued to work. “Naturally, that made this album really vulnerable,” she admitted. “Writing these songs started as a personal, therapeutic thing but the best part about that comes when you put it out. There are a lot of things on this record that a lot of people will struggle with and I hope these songs make them feel heard.”
After starring in Olivia Rodrigo’s concert film Sour Prom, Rodrigo returned the favour by appearing in the video for ‘Monday’. The pair became friends a year ago when Night reached out to the singer-songwriter on social media.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before but I saw she was following me and the band on Instagram,” said Night. “It was right around the time I wrote ‘Monday’ and I was very anxious. My boyfriend Dylan [Minnette who plays Clay Jensen in 13 Reasons Why and is also the vocalist in alt-rock band Wallows] had gone to film a movie and I was just at home losing my mind. So I reached out, and we became Facetime buddies.
“We started hanging out and now she’s one of my best friends. I’m obsessed with her. We give each other advice and she’s an incredible person to go to because she’s so smart.”
When asked about a possible collaboration, Night replied: “We’ll see. Working with Charli XCX would be the dream. That would blow my little head off. [The 1975’s] Matty Healy would be another good one, and I want to write more with Dylan because we never really write together. I feel like once our albums are done, we’ll do something together.”
In 2020, Night made headlines when she released a statement detailing a relationship with SWMRS drummer Joel Armstrong and sexual misconduct accusations. This included several instances of coercion into sexual activities at a pace she was not comfortable with and the enforcement of secrecy when it came to her family and friends.
“My goal here isn’t to ‘cancel’ anyone but to further the conversation of the intricacies of power abuse, grooming, and manipulation that not only exists in the music industry but in so many other industries,” Night wrote. “I recognise that my privilege as a white woman with a platform amplifies this statement.”
Armstrong’s response said: “While I don’t agree with some of the things she said about me, it’s important she be allowed to say them and that she be supported for speaking out.”
Does she think the industry is getting better at holding people accountable for their actions?
“Yes and I hope it continues,” she replied to NME. “There’s a lot still unsaid though. I hope people continue to be inspired by everyone who holds others accountable. I hope the scene keeps pushing that forward and not letting people get away with gross shit, because so many people do get away with gross shit.”
She added: “We need to validate stories around us, believe women and believe victims in general. It’s a gross and gnarly world in a lot of ways. I’m over letting anyone ever be a dickhead without telling them they’re a dickhead though.”
‘Monday’ by The Regrettes is out now.