Way back in February, I connected with the Arizona-based band Lydia to set up an interview before their April 5th New York show. I spent four and a half years of my life living in Tucson, AZ while I attended university and heard a lot about this band and saw them at least once, so when the interview request came through, I jumped on the opportunity to finally interact with them beyond seeing a show. A bunch of things happened in my personal life that made it impossible for me to get to the venue that night and I ended up having to email the interview questions, but the responses I got from the band were so honest and comprehensive that I think in retrospect they are better than what I would have been able to capture on a recorder before the show. Read on to learn more about Lydia and their new album below.
After checking out Paint it Golden on your Facebook and listening to songs from Devil, it’s clear that your music is a pretty even mix of pop and rock. Is genre important to you, or do you feel it is limiting?
To be honest I really just try and write what sounds good to my ear systems. Kind of simple as that. I’ve never wanted to “belong” to a genre of music. I think people that write that way are setting themselves up for disappointment. Not my cup of tea.
How long have you been playing together?
We have always had a sort of revolving line up and people we bring on the road to jam with us for a tour. But the band has been performing for probably 8 years.
How do you feel about the music scene in Arizona?
Don’t know much about it to be honest. I know a lot of great bands have come out of AZ. But with the current music scene I’m sort of out of the loop. We just play Arizona once or twice a year with whatever tour were doing.
Where is your favorite place to perform?
As in what cities? I really like Toronto, Boston, Austin. Just to name a few, but I really just like to play for the Lydia fans. We don’t really care where we are as long as they’re with us. Their like an army - amazing fans.
Are there bands you find you are constantly being compared to? If so, does that bother you or are you encouraged by it?
Not so much any more, when we first started there was always the ‘you guys are like if (this band) and (this band) had a kid!” Never bothered me though. Now a days not so much.
How did you come up with the name Lydia?
We were playing our first show and literally had to go on in like 20 min or something and the promoter says “You guys need to give me a damn name, you can’t go on without a name!”, so our guitar player at the time said to us how about Lydia? Everyone sort of looked around and said “alright, fair enough” and it stuck. People always expect a real dramatic or crazy story but it’s just not there for this one.
Was there a particular moment or artist that made you want to pursue music when you were growing up? Who were your early influences?
The early stuff of Bright Eyes and Eminem. Both their early albums I like still but not so much now days. I guess everyone grows away from certain things.
What are your other interests/passions?
I always love playing a full court game of basketball, I was raised in a heavy sports family and have played in pretty much any sport league you can think of growing up.
Do you have a favorite Lydia song to perform, or any one that means something special?
I think whenever we put out a record the new songs we play live become my “new” favorites to perform. But I’m not sure on an exact one song. I wrote/helped write them so I’m kind of biased. Illuminate songs are always crowd favorites.
Do you feel that the music industry treats male musicians differently than female musicians?
The music industry doesn’t for sure. The music industry deals in dollars and cents, simple as that. People in general though, I think do probably treat male and females different. But I sort of think that goes for life in general, ya know?
Who do you look up to as musicians?
I still really like Adam Duritz the singer of Counting Crows. He’s one of those guys you either love or hate but I’ve always really liked that band. As well as one of my good friends in a band called Brighten, I also really enjoy his song writing, they should definitely get more attention than they do.
How do you feel about the internet’s role in promoting your music? Do you feel that the sense of community you’ve created by putting your music online is tangible at your live performances? How important is social media for you?
I think the internet’s role in music is amazing. In essence it just levels the playing field for all those start up bands. If you write a great song 15 years ago there is little you can do to get it out to the world. Now it’s a click of a button, pretty incredible to me. I love that aspect of whoever writes the “best” song gets the attention they deserve. Not people in suits deciding what people should hear on the radio and buy.
What’s next for Lydia?
Well, we just put out a new record 3 weeks ago so this year is a whole lot of touring. Right now we’re just enjoying ourselves and the long hours it took to make Devil. After this who knows, we’re just thankful to all the love we’re getting out here on the road. We’ll most likely be in the UK and Australia this year for Devil album release. Cheers.