ARTIST PROFILE: Lydia

LydiaWhen I first started writing about music, I promised myself I would never be biased. But, I had never never written about a band called Lydia. For me, Lydia is that band. That band I would quickly and confidently use to answer the age-old question: “If you had listen to one band for the rest of your life, who would it be?”

The Arizona-based indie-rock project took the stage in the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and though their set consisted of only seven songs, Lydia’s raw, engaging passion captivated the crowd from beginning to end.

“You guys look marvelous tonight,” frontman Leighton Antleman said with a charming smile spread across his face as he took the stage and greeted the audience. “We’re a band called Lydia, and we’re here to play you guys some music whether you fucking like it or not.”

And as the crowd burst into a roar of cheers and applause, Lydia opened with a track called “The Exit” from their new album Devil released March 19, 2013.

While the band’s set seemed to focus primarily on promoting their latest release, loyal fans know a proper Lydia show would not be complete without the whimsical, enchanting sounds from arguably their most praised album, Illuminate (2008). So, naturally, when Leighton sat down at the piano and the familiar, eerie beginning chords of “This is Twice Now” echoed throughout the room, nearly everyone recognized the song and sang along.

Only one song, “Best Nights,” was played from their 2011 release Paint it Golden before Lydia moved back into two more tracks from Devil.

As what could be called a perfect ending, the band chose “Hospital,” another track from Illuminate, for the finale.

Overall, the show proved Lydia is moving forward. While I personally enjoy many of the band’s older songs, it was promising to hear new, fresh music and watch them enjoy performing their new creation.

If you haven’t heard Lydia or seen one of their shows, well… what are you waiting for?

 

Last week, Audiofemme had a little chat with Lydia about their music and evolution as a band. Here’s what they had to say.

AF: The band has gone through quite a few lineup changes and different sounds over the years; do you think Lydia is still evolving sonically or pinning down a specific style at this point?

LYDIA I would hope we’re not pinning down a specific style. I really enjoy when people say that our style on every album is different. I would really hope we’re not just making the same albums over and over again.

AF: Leighton, I’ve told people this time and time again, but you sing profane words so beautifully. Where does your emotion come from?

LYDIA: I’m not sure. Guess I just try and do my thing and hope it turns out well.

AF: I know you’ve said before that there aren’t exactly “thought out” meanings behind Lydia songs, but the lyrics are so intricate. Do you just have a fetish for beautiful language?

LYDIA: I try and leave song meanings and stories up to the listener as best I can. I get the song to the point where I want it, and then let the listener take it from there. I really enjoy when someone tells me a certain song sounds like it was written about their life. That to me just means they took my story and subconsciously manipulated it in their head to fit what’s going on in their life. I love it.

AF: I’m a big fan of running themes and think they’re quite magical, actually. “Haley” (though with different spelling variations) has been a running theme since This December. Can you give us any insight into the inspiration for this?

LYDIA: I think it’s the simple fact that I, as well, enjoy running themes. So when I had the idea to put Hailey in the second album, Illuminate, again it took me on a long term story with her. I never know if I’m going to put her in current albums as we are working on them, but she somehow always finds a way in.

AF: Mindy White was an integral part of Lydia early on. It’s no secret that the music industry can be — across a wide spectrum — challenging, if not downright impenetrable for women. What can you tell us about this issue, having worked with a female band member?  Further, do you have any advice for women in the industry?

LYDIA: I mean, I don’t personally think it’s a lot harder for females than males to make a name for themselves in music. Unfortunately, I think looks can factor in for females more than males, but if you are making great music I feel you will make a name for yourself regardless.

AF: Any plans of integrating another female member?

LYDIA: I try and not ever rule anything out, but at the moment there is absolutely no plans for that. I see it as a part of the long story. That was just what was going on with Lydia during that portion of the “story”. It’s always changing and evolving.

AF: Indie bands have been and certainly still are on the rise these days. How is the DIY mindset with Lydia? Will you guys always work without labels from here on?

LYDIA: I can’t really see us on a label again. You can do SO much stuff on your own these days. I don’t really want to have someone tell me what I can and can’t do. They also own some of Lydia’s music that we wrote. I feel like that’s a bit  unfair to the artist that spent so much time and effort on it. But again, nothing is 100%.

AF: You’ve had a pretty loyal following throughout the years, label or not. However, do you find that the DIY takeover and subsequent democratization of the music industry has made it more difficult for a band to actually “make” it? How do you rate your success?

LYDIA: It probably has made it harder if you are just starting a band or getting into music. Bands have seen other DIY acts get really big and think, “I can do that”. Before, I think bands didn’t know you could do all of these things on your own and it was overwhelming for them. I don’t really try and rate our success. All I ever wanted from a young age was to be able to play music for a living. I love what I am allowed to do by our amazing fans.

AF: You just released Devil Deluxe. How does it differ from other Lydia albums in the past and what comes next?

LYDIA: From what I hear, Devil is happier than previous releases? I don’t like to go into writing trying for a certain sound, so I think that’s maybe the most consistent thing about the Lydia records. We really try and not go into writing with a preconceived  view of what the record should be.

AF: If you could tell your fans one thing, what would it be?

LYDIA: You’re the only one that can keep you from being happy. I learned it the hard way.

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