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interview and giveaway: lydia

For American band Lydia, their music is renowned throughout the indie music community and for their legions of loyal fans. But they almost never got to releasing their latest album Paint it Golden, which came out in late 2011. After a falling out with another band member during 2010, Lydia embarked on what they thought would be their last tour under the Lydia brand.

‘The whole farewell thing, the US and Australian thing, it was, being honest, really because of one person,’ Lydia front man, Leighton Antelman says. ‘It was me and one other guy in the band, we couldn’t get along together. We just couldn’t make music together anymore. That’s the reason that I was going to leave the band and do a farewell tour and be done with Lydia.

‘About a week before we left on the farewell tour he decided to leave and just not go on the tour. We had to come and string some things together and then did the farewell tour. Towards the end of the farewell tour, [in] both US and Australia, me and Craig were the main members of the band, we realised we didn’t want to stop making music together.

‘We just said, this is ridiculous. We decided that it was kind of a shame to throw it all away all because of one person, who was already gone. A few months after the farewell tour we decided to make another album as Lydia, under the band name.’

For a band that had their heart set on having an indefinite hiatus, it was their legion of diehard fans that, according to Antelman, were the fundamental reason for Lydia continuing.

‘It’s the fans,’ he says. ‘They’re crazy. The whole begging us not to stop making music, day after day, city after city, it kind of wears on you, and you’re just like, maybe we shouldn’t stop making music.’

Something that Antelman is still coming to terms with is the tattoos that fans get on their behalf. ‘That’s a nice thing, over the past four or five or six years, the fans are extremely dedicated and they put themselves up,’ he says. ‘We have a whole album on the Lydia Facebook page of the tattoos that people have gotten.

‘I don’t understand it,’ he laughs. ‘It’s beyond me, but at least five or six, to ten people will come up to me, after every single show, in every single city and show me their tattoos that they got. Which is odd. It’s amazing.’

For their latest venture, Paint it Golden came with anticipation from their fans, but also those who were keeping an eye on Lydia’s “comeback” album. As for Leighton, he was happy with the reception.

‘I didn’t know what to expect,’ he says. ‘I had the songs for a while and I’ve been holding onto them for whatever reason to put them on any album, I just had to have a lot of songs on the back burner. I didn’t know what to expect.

‘It’s a bit of a comeback album so I didn’t know,’ he muses. ‘I knew it would be critiqued harder than whatever other album that we had because you’re coming back, it’s kind of like you have to prove something. I thought it was awesome, the reception to the new album. I thought it was really cool, everyone took to it really well, I thought it was amazing.’

As for 2012, according to Antelman, touring is very much on the cards: ‘We’ll be in Australia for all of January. We get back to LAX the first of February, we’ll have February off, and then March and April we’ll be touring the US and Canada,’ he says.

‘I have another band called the Cinema, and they might be doing a tour in the summer. 2012 is basically going to be just touring. Just going to be on the road all year. And then after 2012, or towards the end of 2012 I’ll kind of be hanging out and just writing and collecting ideas for the new record.

Lydia are touring Australian in early January, and even though they have toured the country before, for Leighton, there is one essential thing on his to do list.

‘I didn’t get to play with the kangaroos!’ he laughs. ‘I want to hang out with the kangaroos, I only got to see a kangaroo, I didn’t get to hang out with one, or a koala. Which is really cliché, but it’d be awesome.’

Lydia are touring Australia now. Check their Facebook event page for dates and venues.

To celebrate Lydia’s reformation, we have a copy of their latest album, Paint it Golden, and a double pass to any one of their Australian shows to give away! To enter, send an email to dunja@lipmag.com with your name, postal address, which show you’d like to attend, and why you love Lydia in 25 words or less!

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