Teenage music lifer Lydia Night feels her feelings in Los Angeles quartet
Even at barely older than legal driving age, Regrettes singer, guitarist and songwriter Lydia Night is already a music lifer.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Night made her first onstage appearance at age 2, singing Ramones covers at the Shim Sham Club, a now-defunct French Quarter dive then owned by her father. At 7 years old, she started her first band, LILA (Little Independent Loving Artists), which specialized in here-and-gone, 60-second pop-punk blasts. A few years later, Night launched a similarly skeletal two-piece that remained active until the Regrettes started taking shape in Los Angeles in late 2015.
“I have this letter from my younger self, I think from kindergarten, where we were writing about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I literally wrote, ‘I want to be the singer and guitar player of a rock band,' and that's what I'm doing,” said Night, who started playing guitar at age 6, inspired by a Donnas concert she attended. “Being on a stage was something I was obsessed with. I was obsessed with performing for my family and friends. There are so many videos of me at my aunt and uncle's house where I'm making everyone sit and watch me put on whatever show.”
Night channels this confidence into the four-piece's exhilarating 2017 debut, Feel Your Feelings Fool! (Warner Bros.), an infectious burst of youthful punk that incorporates elements of everything from fuzzy surf rock to 1960s girl groups such as the Shangri-Las. Recorded live to tape at Can Am Recording Studio in Tarzana, California, the album is raw and urgent, shaped by Night's fearless confessions, which find the singer grappling with expectations placed on women by society (“Ladylike”), the day-to-day realities of teenage life (“A Living Human Girl”) and learning to stand on one's own outside of a relationship (“How It Should Be”).
“Lots and lots of girls/They walk around this world,” she sings on the latter. “They're looking for a boy/That will help them find joy.”
“I think some families still raise daughters with this idea they have to rely on getting married and finding a husband to support them and whatnot, which is not the case,” said Night, who joins her bandmates in concert at the Basement on Tuesday, June 27. “I was lucky to grow up being taught I can do anything on my own.”
For Night, songwriting has always existed as both therapy and a means of finding strength on those occasions her reserves ran dry. “I think when I wrote [‘I'm still gonna be here even after your best shot' on ‘A Living Human Girl'] it was more of a fake, temporary strength I was feeling because I was super insecure at that time and I was trying to make myself feel better,” she said. “I think songwriting is always something I've turned to in order to help myself through situations, so it's crazy to me now that other people are using our music to get through shit. It's very surreal.”