All Photos Shot on Film By: Rita Plante
I had the opportunity to talk with Lydia, Genessa, Brooke and Drew of the punk rock and motown, turned indie pop band, The Regrettes, before their performance at Firefly Music Festival in September. We discussed their change in style with their new record, and their evolution as a band in general.
How’d you get your start, form your band and get going with performing?
Lydia: Our band formed in many steps and many layers. Genessa and I met a long time ago when we were just wee little lads at music school, became friends and then reconnected a few years after.
Genessa: A few years after we met, we stopped hanging out, just because life took us in different directions, but we came together and then we found these two beautiful people.
Lydia: Through just mutual friends and stuff. So it’s kinda insane, it took us a while to find each other but once we did it was super easy.
When you were forming, who were you most inspired by and what direction did you envision yourselves taking the band?
Lydia: When we first started I was super into the whole LA Burger Records scene. I loved Shannon and the Clams, who we’re about to play with which is so funny, The Frights and a lot of those bands. I also loved a lot of Riot Grrrl time period bands and I also really loved Motown. So it was really blending like surfy punk with Motown inspired stuff in the beginning.
Genessa: Also Bratmobile, Velvet Underground and like all that, I feel was the first record really.
Have you been excited for Bikini Kill coming back around?
Lydia: Yes! I saw them actually and they were SO good.
So your most recent album is moving away from that whole Riot Grrrl style, how have you evolved over the past few years to be more in your current style?
Lydia: I think we just found a lot of freedom in these past few years in terms of songwriting. We’ve always loved pop music, we just didn’t know what that meant for us as a band I think, so letting ourselves experiment and just find what felt the best is how we found it. It wasn’t us pushing it, it just kinda happened.
How has your live performance style changed over the years as your musical style has evolved?
Brooke: When I joined we were still just two guitars, a bass and drums, as we have new music now, that we’ve written all together, we have more instrumentation and synths that we didn’t have before, so we have a more well rounded live set, so it’s kinda fun to have more puzzle pieces to fit together.
Lydia: Yeah and I feel like everyone as performers has found themselves more in the past few years. Everyone on stage feels more comfortable.
Genessa: It’s also part of growing up, personally I hope that continues to happen. I’ve felt a lot, especially in the past year, just like growing up. You know,I think I didn’t realize how young I was back in the day. I was so not confident, and I hope that continues to grow.
Drew: I think you feel very grown when you’re 19 and 20, but I was a child.
Genessa: Now I’m 25 and I’m like, I’m baby.
When you’re at these live shows, what do you feel is the best way to connect with your fans? What would you say is the type of fans that come to your show and what do you see most in them?
Lydia: I see a lot of myself as a slightly younger person, or a lot of myself now, honestly, in our fans. A lot of people who come to our shows look like our friends and peers and I feel like that in a lot of ways, which is interesting, because it’s crazy when you see a bunch of people outside of a show that you would be at next week, or you would be in that same setting as, or you are in that same setting a week later for a band that you would want to go see, so it’s a funny thing. It’s always shocking seeing that many people show up to see us play. Any amount past a hundred people, I’m like wow this is really cool.
Genessa: Like how did you get here?
Lydia: Yeah exactly.
Have you found it easier to perform when you see yourself in everyone in the room?
Lydia: Yeah! I feel like I haven’t even thought of it that way, that’s a really good question. I think we used to have a lot of punk rock, older dudes at our shows and that honestly sucked.
Brooke: It felt like you had something to prove or whatever.
Lydia: A lot of them would just make us feel uncomfortable. And now we’ve moved away from that and know how to set our own boundaries better. It feels like a really safe space that we try to create for the people at our shows, and I think we get that back.
Brooke: And it feels very invigorating too, say you’ve been on tour for a while and you’re extra tired that day or something, it’s really cool seeing people that you might be friends with really getting something out of it and having fun.
Drew: Yeah it’s comforting.
Lydia: You can’t not be stoked.
Brooke: We all just build off of each other’s energy, partying and having fun together.
Would you say that your fan base has evolved with you guys?
Drew: Yeah for sure. There’s people now who will come up to us at shows and say “you were my favorite band in high school, and now I’m in college,” it’s so cool to see that, and now I’m like getting a drink before the show, it’s crazy.
What are you excited for coming up in the future?
Lydia: New music, we can’t say when but soon. Some songs that I am SO excited to be out in the world, we’ve been waiting a long time to come out. Oh my god I’m so excited. And we’re playing with My Chemical Romance in LA at the Forum, which is crazy.
Did you guys see them here the other day?
All: No we just got here today.
So in terms of marketing for your most recent album, you were really pushing to create a viral Tik Tok sound, what inspired that and how you felt when it took off?
Lydia: I feel like yeah we were pushing it, but also we were just having fun.
Genessa: Yeah, like why not try some new things? I think part of the push of it was just us having fun coming up with ideas.
Brooke: So many options are there now for fun things to do online and ways to connect that weren’t there a couple years ago, so it’s fun to just like give it a shot and see what happens.
Lydia: There was no pressure on it.
Genessa: Yeah I was just constantly like “what’s the most embarrassing thing I can think of,” and just post it to Tik Tok.
Lydia: Just sit and brainstorm. It’s so fun.
With social media evolving to be such a giant part of life, how has that effected your music and how you put things out?
Genessa: It’s always been for us.
Lydia: Especially with Tik Tok. At first it was scary to know “this is a radio hit song, and that’s what’s gonna make…blah blah blah” there was always kinda rules in place, especially with a major label of how to break a band, quote unquote, but with Tik Tok…
Drew: It’s just what people like.
Brooke: It’s so random.
Lydia: Yeah it’s so random, it’s intimidating at first, but it’s also really freeing because there’s no rules online and no formula to it, honestly.
Genessa: You can’t do the wrong thing.
Drew: Stuff like production value and time spent on an idea…
Lydia: And money.
Drew: …and stuff like that doesn’t matter anymore. Which at first can be scary, but it’s actually really sick because it’s genuine.
Lydia: Less control, less power but that what’s cool about it.
Brooke: It’s liberating.
Lydia: It is liberating and I think that’s what we’re finding is that, now with writing I find more than ever that excitement about it, rather than feeling like, “oh if we crack a code, it’ll work.” Well, it’s like we just get to make what we want and fuck the rest.
Is that something that you’re trying to do as you evolve as a band, to just focus more on what you want to be doing rather than what the fans expect?
All: Oh yeah absolutely.
Lydia: This record was us doing that, like full on.
Genessa: Moreso, more and more, we love the people that listen to our music, but we’re not doing anything to impress them, if they find themselves wandering away, that’s okay, that’s fine.
Brooke: It’s okay to grow apart.
Genessa: We still appreciate them, we just are going to continue to be true to ourselves.
That’s a great way to go about it. One last question, someone who has never heard your music and is new to your band, what do they need to know about you?
Lydia: First off, if you’re gonna come to a show, be cool, be a good person and be nice to people. We want to make all of our shows feel like a safe space where people can also let loose and have fun. If you’re gonna listen to our music, listen to our new album in full, and that gives you a very good scope of where we’re at right now. I still feel it’s the first time we put out an album I still feel so connected to, even though it’s been a while, like I still feel so proud of it and can still listen to it and put it on and not feel like ew, you know? I back it 100%.