Story / Catherine Santino
The Regrettes are having a ball. When they take the stage in Louisville, Kentucky, the energy in the room shifts. Colors seemed brighter, and it wasn’t just because of frontwoman Lydia Night’s fire engine red jumpsuit and turquoise eyeliner. As they play what would be their next single, “I Dare You”, the LA-based foursome (Night, guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Brooke Dickson, and drummer Dew Thomsen) exude childlike energy that’s simply infectious. Night and the others jump around on stage, smiling as the pluck their guitars or relish in a cheeky lyric.
When I sit down with them after the performance, I quickly realize that this wasn’t a persona. Though they had just flown in that day and were leaving for the airport shortly after, they graciously shared their thoughts with me in anticipation of their sophomore album, How Do You Love? , which is released on August 9.
Tell me about the new single “I Dare You” that you played for us.
LYDIA NIGHT: It’s a very unlike us; just a classic love song. Which I think is cool. I think what I love about is I’ve given up, personally, on the anti-cheesiness. I feel like it’s kind of just accepting the feelings I was feeling at that time and just being like ‘You know what, I am gonna write a song about exactly how I’m feeling and I’m gonna be stoked about it.’ So the song’s kind of about giving into that. So it’s really exciting. I love having a happy song to play.
You guys definitely have a super positive energy. A lot of musicians take themselves really seriously and it’s clear you guys are having a lot of fun, which is great to see.
LN: We definitely have never taken ourselves too seriously. We really care about what we do and I think that shows but we also have fun playing, so why not show it? It’s not like we’re trying to hide that we’re having the best time.
GENESSA GARIANO: It’s not like we sat down and were like ‘We are going to appear happy” [laughs]. We definitely are happy.
LN: We’re just genuine. We try to be as genuine as possible.
GG: We’re a bunch of bad liars.
I love your song “Pumpkin” that you released earlier this year. There’s a lot of pop culture references in that song, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Notebook. Do you get a lot of inspiration from pop culture?
LN: Yeah. I feel like it’s another example of being very true to who we are. Those are movies that I love so that’s where my brain first went. That’s just what I was thinking at the time. So I think that’s just stuff that’s true to the time period and the lives that we’re living.
Do you think that the way that love is portrayed in pop culture has affected how we function in real life relationships?
LN: Definitely. There’s no way it hasn’t. Expectations are a huge thing. It’s dangerous with certain people. I I feel like porn is one of the scariest thing about being a teenage girl. I feel like not enough people talk about how dangerous it is. I’m not saying, like, ‘porn is horrible!’ but I’m just saying that as a teenage girl, I remember thinking about what guys expect in high school. Because they’ve never touched a girl, they just watch porn and they’re like ‘Oh this is what losing my virginity is gonna be like.’ That’s the extreme version of that. But that happens also in also slighter ways with TV and rom coms.
And it doesn’t help that there’s now this added layer of technology.
GG: It’s so tricky with Instagram and all of the social platforms. I think that’s a whole other thing.
Brooke Dickson: I will say though, I’ve seen a lot more inclusive, representative stuff on social media. And I think it’s just what you choose to follow and internalize.
LN: It’s all about the resources. Everything is now out there which is great for a lot of educational purposes but also damaging for others. It just makes it harder to view things.
You guys are about to embark on a summer-long tour. Is touring exhausting for you?
LN: Yes, but in a great way.
GG: We’re exhausted until we get home and then we’re like ‘wait.’
LN: It’s tiring. It would be crazy to sit here and be like ‘It’s all fun and games’ but…
Drew Thomsen: It takes a certain mindset.
LN: Yeah, it’s all about having a positive mindset going into it and being open to things going really wrong.
GG: And having each other.
DT: Yeah, that’s the main thing.
LN: It’s a huge sacrifice like not being home for months on end. You have to have relationships that are strong as fuck. But that’s also a cool thing. Like we get to weed out the people that don’t matter to us.
Where did the name ‘The Regrettes’ come from?
LN: Weirdly, it was awhile ago before we actually started. I was in another two-piece band and I was trying to think of a new band name and we were just sitting in the car on the way to get frozen yogurt or something. I was trying to think of things that were opposites and sounded cool to me. Like Black Rainbow or stupid shit like that. Then I thought of The Regrettes and I was like ‘Oh. That’s a really cool word and something that I haven’t heard.’ And then I thought it would be cool to spell it with the e-t-t-e-s to give it more of this feminine, 60s girl-group thing that I love so much and wanted represented in our melodies and harmonies. But also when you search our name, we’re the only thing that comes up.
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