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Interview: The Regrettes talk 'Further Joy' and freedom.

Interview: The Regrettes talk 'Further Joy' and freedom.

The Regrettes are moving in unison and bonded stronger than ever before. With the freedom of a third record, the group found themselves writing more freely and honestly as a collective; discovering that being removed from the noise of life is the elixir to authentic music. While releasing a record often gives ownership and interpretation of the music to the listener, the band themselves find that the album is as much their own as it is their fans - realising in the process of creation that the title ('Further Joy') is a constant reminder to themselves to stay in the moment and ward off temptation to look too far ahead.

Speaking from the midst of their North American tour in a little place called Eugene, Oregon, the band are getting to experience hearing songs from the new record sung back at them for the very first time. Brooke says: "The craziest thing is putting out a song and then two shows later having people sing them. I think that's so sick." Genessa continues: "It's been rewarding seeing that people are there too, and I am so thankful that the people are still there."

We chatted to The Regrettes via Zoom about all things loving each other, the pigeonholing of genre, and finding freedom...

COUP DE MAIN: Last time we talked, we discussed the fateful Joshua Tree trip that sparked a lot of inspiration and vulnerability from you guys as a group - do you think the album would sound the same and would have come together like it did, without that trip?
LYDIA NIGHT: No, definitely not. I think a lot of elements were already there, but that really helped us mesh everything together in a more cohesive way and as a band figure out what we wanted our identity to be with this album.
GENESSA GARIANO: I feel like it also helped us let go of any idea of what we could and couldn't do in music. Doing that trip, we really just had fun and realised that it was cool to do that. 
BROOKE DICKSON: Getting to explore a really inspiring place that is a bit removed from the noise of everyday life in LA and stuff gave us an opportunity to explore ourselves and get to know each other and just have fun. I think that did solidify in helping us create the magical world that we wanted to.
LYDIA: That is 'Further Joy'!

CDM: When discussing the album title, you've talked about how you were stuck in a loop of wanting to be better. Do you find yourselves looking more to the past, present, or the future nowadays?
LYDIA: Present. Because I feel like making this album has helped me so much. We can't be putting out an album about this experience and still letting ourselves fucking struggle every day. I mean, we of course do, in whatever ways - that stuff doesn't just go away. For me, at least, it's been a huge reminder of: "I'm doing that 'Further Joy' thing! Stop doing that thing. Stay right here."
GENESSA: It weirdly does help!
BROOKE: I heard this thing that said, "The future is made up of right nows," like right now is happening. And now right now is happening.
LYDIA: And memories too. All we have is right now. 

CDM: Do the music and experiences you talk about in songs always feel communal? Or does each song feel connected more to a singular person in the group?
GENESSA: It depends. I feel like a lot of it is based around Lydia's experience, and we interject, especially when we've written lyrics together and interject our personal experiences into that. When that is the case, I think you can't help but put yourself in it.
LYDIA: What has stayed the same is: I'm the narrator and I'm the lead singer, so it's always something I can relate to, but then a lot of the time it ends up being themes that we can all discuss and further develop the way we want to tell that story.
GENESSA: Exactly.

CDM: FKA Twigs once said: "I realised very early on in my career that no matter how much you succeed or how well people think that you've done, it means nothing if you don't have lovely people to share it with." Does this ring true for you guys?
LYDIA: Totally, oh my god, I think about that all the time. We've talked a lot about how success wouldn't feel the same and those goals that we have for the future wouldn't be as exciting, or when we we hit certain points or have certain accomplishments, it would not feel the same if it wasn't all of us going through that. It would not feel good if it was like, "Well, I'm really doing well in this thing and nobody else," because we care about each other so much and it's just so much more rewarding to have that.
GENESSA: Yeah, being around people you love does nothing but make you love more. So I feel like that's what we're doing, we're around it, and I feel like it just exponentially increases the more we connect.
BROOKE: If we all help each other succeed, then we all win. We're all in it together. Hopefully, just as former musicians have inspired us, what we do helps everybody in the future.

CDM: With the new album steering into a variety of different sounds and taking the listener on a sonic journey of sorts - how do you guys feel about the boxes and labels of genre? 
LYDIA: Oh, it can be so silly. We were talking about this two hours ago. We've definitely had to fight our way through a lot of pigeonholing the entirety of The Regrettes. I get it, like I do understand that genres are genres; I like to label things in my brain, it's really easy to categorise and do that, but as an artist it gets really old when you're so blatantly not pigeonholing yourself and everyone around you wants to and put you in a box. We've gotten confident enough to not give a shit about what that box is to other people. We know that we can do whatever the fuck we want, and we do now.
GENESSA: I think of it like when I'm making a playlist for myself, if it's just a general playlist, I'm not thinking about genre or anything. I'm just thinking about what I want to listen to. For so long, I feel like we were pigeonholed into this 'women in music' genre. When I'm making a playlist I'm never like: "This is missing some women in music!"
LYDIA: We've never ever been an all-girl band.
GENESSA: I think it's nice to kind of strip away from some of those.

CDM: What was running through your mind when you were writing the track 'Step 9'? 
LYDIA: That one is about dealing with some... I honestly don't know how to answer that because what was running through my mind was... what I can say about it is that it started where I was writing about someone else's family dynamic, and really quickly realised that it was about something I had experienced, but didn't realise that was what I was talking about until halfway through. So it's about a sort of messy family relationship that I've dealt with and how it's really hard when you have someone in your family who struggles with addiction, to trust that person, even if they're sober.

CDM: There's always a lot of talk around the pressures and nervousness of a sophomore album. What do you think are the feelings and emotions around a third album? 
LYDIA: I think freedom, honestly, we've found freedom in it. We're just like: "What do we have to prove?"
GENESSA: We have more to gain than to lose, if we are authentic. 
LYDIA: After putting out two albums, you just realise this is only about what's going to be the most fun for us to do for ourselves and what's going to feel the most authentic because that's the only way that this is a sustainable career for any artist. 

CDM: What would you say your most treasured memory as a band is?
LYDIA: Oh there's way too many.
BROOKE: Joshua Tree is a big one.
GENESSA: Yeah. I think that was a really special thing, but also just hanging out.
LYDIA: Our first show back for me in Santa Barbara. Or San Antonio, that was really amazing show.
GENESSA: That was a beautiful show. Anytime we're really excited and giddy and we hug. I feel anytime there's some extreme excitement... I don't know, most treasured? Goodness, they're all up there. 

CDM: I love the song 'Subtleties (Never Giving Up On You)' from the record, and the lyric "stuck in you forever it's so much harder than it seems" is so painfully and universally relatable. What was running through your mind when you were writing this track?
LYDIA: Just a lot of pain. A lot of self-hatred and trying to push through to the other side, and when writing a song like that, where the hook is "never giving up on you," it's really hard to believe it, even while I was writing it, so it was helpful too. It's like when you manifest something or you fake it 'til you make it, and that's how a lot of songwriting goes for me where I try and write from this 'where I want to be' perspective, and so that's definitely the approach I feel like I took on that song.

CDM: Do you find that you ever have to purposefully go out and experience something to write a song? Or do the ebbs and flows of life provide all the inspiration you need for songwriting? 
LYDIA: I used to think that I needed to experience life in certain ways, or whatever, to write. And then I think the pandemic honestly really changed that because it was quite the opposite. I had a better time writing than ever because there was so much lack of activity and lack of events going on. It really flipped the script in a different way. 
GENESSA: You get pushed into a new world without that.

CDM: Each song feels like it's own little storybook in a way, telling a different message and evoking a different feeling. Do you each have a favourite song from the record? 
GENESSA: Drew does!
DREW THOMSEN: 'Rosey' is my favourite!
LYDIA: My favourite right now is either 'Subtleties (Never Giving Up On You)' or 'Anxieties (Out of Time)'.
GENESSA: 'Barely On My Mind' is one that I really really love. I'm excited for people to hear that one. I think that has consistently jumped up to the top and gone down - that and 'Homesick'. I could name a few! 
LYDIA: Oh yeah 'Homesick' - ugh, so hard!
BROOKE: It changes every week, but I guess ones that have stayed up there have been like 'La Dee Da', 'Barely On My Mind', 'Rosey' - all of them.
LYDIA: We're really good at picking one thing!

CDM: In 'Monday' you sing "run from the sun before it burns my brain" and in 'La Di Da' you say " a foggy day, takes me to a broken place" - what is it about the weather and the ups and downs of it, that affects you so much?
LYDIA: We were talking about this today too! For me personally, it actually has nothing to do with weather - I decide based on how I'm feeling if I'm gonna blame it on the weather or not. When I wake up and feel great and it's raining outside, I'm like, "Oh my god! This is the perfect day for cozying up on the couch and watching TV!" And then if I'm in a bad mood, I'll wake up and be like, "This is fucked up. I can't go outside. I blame that." I can't feel better if it's sunny out, I'm like, "It's too hot," or I'm like, "I'm so happy." I really think weather is where I pin a lot of my own mental health ups and downs, but I mean, unless it's fucking freezing or fucking hot; that is fair. Fuck that.

CDM: Is there a song from the record that you're most proud of? 
LYDIA: I would say for me, it's 'Subtleties (Never Giving Up On You)' right now. Just because it was a really hard song to write, and let alone release.
BROOKE: I guess just for me personally, certain things about 'Homesick'.
GENESSA: I think the one where we play.
BROOKE: 'That's What Makes Me Love You', just musically, I'm really proud of things that we did.
GENESSA: 'You're So Fucking Pretty' for me is definitely one that I personally feel like...
LYDIA: Yeah, we all wrote that together too.
GENESSA: I'm proud of all of us. I feel pride for all of us.

CDM: Do you find that when you look at relationships around you in your life, you feel closest and most open with those that you work with musically? Or is it the opposite? 
GENESSA: Definitely up there. They're the people I'm closest to in the world.
LYDIA: Honestly with each other. I think that's not because we make music together, that's just because we have an extremely close friendship outside of the band, but it gets pushed further because we're around each other all the time. I think even if we stopped all of a sudden making music, we would still be best friends.
GENESSA: I'd say these three are the three people who know me best. Both good and bad. 
BROOKE: I think with any close relationship, there are different unique things that you get to do that you really connect with the person about, so I think it is a really special connection getting to connect musically with you guys. But that's just one extra part of our relationship. 
LYDIA: And it's the thing that brought us together.
GENESSA: That's why we have these shared experiences - there's so many times where I want to talk about something and most of my experiences and my good memories are on tour, and we share those together, so we can talk about it. 
BROOKE: We probably have had the weirdest experiences together.

CDM: Writer Mari Andrew once said: "Falling in love with someone else is a little bit about falling for yourself." Do you feel as though this is true or untrue? 
BROOKE: I think all people that I love and I'm close with, they helped me see the things in myself that maybe I forgot were there or always wanted to be.
LYDIA: I think there's that element of it. I think that could mean so many different things, so it's hard.
GENESSA: Healthy love, I think.
LYDIA: Yes, you should feel most confident and you should be with someone who lifts you up and that you feel really good about yourself when you're around them. You should not be with someone who makes you feel anything less. So yeah, I do think so.
GENESSA: If your love is healthy it should do that. If it's not, you should throw it in the trash.
LYDIA: Yeah, exactly.

CDM: You've just finished up some shows across North America - what was it like getting to be on the road again and sing some of the newer tracks for people? 
LYDIA: Crazy, like so, so exciting.
GENESSA: The craziest thing is putting out a song and then two shows later having people sing them. I think that's so sick.
LYDIA: It feels like some of the other ones like 'Monday' have just been out for as long as the rest of our repertoire. It's crazy.
GENESSA: It's been rewarding seeing that people are there too, and I am so thankful that the people are still there.
LYDIA: Their faces are there in front of us. 
GENESSA: It's awesome. We're playing places we've never even played before. It's really, really cool to see that there are people coming out.

CDM: Was there a song that was your favourite to perform live? 
LYDIA: Right now? I think I've been loving playing 'That's What Makes Me Love You'.
DREW: Yeah, I was gonna say: I love that one. 
LYDIA: And 'You're So Fucking Pretty'.
GENESSA: That one is really beautiful, to see how people interact with Lydia during that song. That just makes me smile ear to ear.

CDM: What's next for you guys? 
THE REGRETTES [ALL]: Release the album and more touring!

The Regrettes' new album 'Further Joy' is out now - watch their video for 'Anxieties (Out Of Time)' below:

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