I had the the chance to sit down with The Regrettes at Warner Brothers Records recently.
I was extra excited to talk to The Regrettes for a few reasons: 1) Their music is f*cking awesome. Punk-pop meets 50's-60's melodies with lyrics that are relatable and super fun.
2) They're way younger than me, and I was fascinated to learn just how much cooler than me they all were. I was not disappointed.
Lead singer Lydia is 15. When I was 15, I was mostly concerned with matching my braces to my semi-formal dress.
Here are some of the things I took away from my convo with Lydia, Genessa, Sage, and Max, as well as reasons why you should 1000% already be listening to them already.
I was curious what inspired your sound, that 50s-60s feel?
Lydia: I've always listened to that kind of music. It was always relevant to me even though it's not technically relevant I guess, but it also never get old.
Hearing your lyrics on top of that retro sound, I felt like it makes the message in the songs kind of timeless if that makes sense?
Lydia: Thank you!
It was a very deep thought that I had.
You guys bring up themes of sexism and racism in the video for "Hey Now." Does this speak to the fact that we haven't come very far since that time?
Genessa: It's showing that the battle hasn't ended, that the racism and sexism is happening in sneakier ways almost. It's kind of under the rug a bit.
Can you talk about what inspired your song "Living Human Girl?"
Lydia: I wrote it right after the end of freshman year. Everything was really getting to me. It's about all the boxes you're put into, especially as a teenager. I was very confused because I came from a school where my entire grade was 30 people.
And then I went to a "real school". Everyone was in a clique. Everyone was at this turning point, everything's starting to get weird and scary... I was surrounded by people who were feeling horrible about themselves and feeling so insecure and it made me feel more insecure. I realized I needed to get out of this headspace of thinking, "I'm not good enough in my own skin."
All the different groups and cliques and labeling, it kind of doesn't stop after high school...
Sage: Yeah, I'm 19, and it's still happening.
Lydia: Labeling happens with emotions too, especially with women, I feel. There's a section of the song that goes, "Sometimes I'm pretty, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I'm lazy, sometimes I'm not." A lot of times people want to categorize or label women because it's easier to throw someone in a box.
Genessa: You're a bitch or you're not a bitch. You're weak or you're not weak.
Lydia: But when you're a man you're categorized like, "Oh he's a powerful man."
Sage: But if a man shows emotion than THAT'S fucked up. We all categorize ourselves in terrible ways.
Max: I go to an all-boys school, so I see a lot of that kind of stuff. If you're not on a certain sport, then you're a nerd or you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. There are people who are very against showing emotions, because people would be like "he's weak" or gay.
I wrote it right after the end of freshman year. Everything was really getting to me. It's about all the boxes you're put into, especially as a teenager. I was very confused because I came from a school where my entire grade was 30 people.
Does being gay still have a negative connotation in high school?
Lydia: You have no idea.
Max: I feel like contrary to with the ladies: guys aren't supposed to let out our emotions, which is making it worse. And then they're putting it on other people and then it becomes this melting pot of shit.
Sage: I don't think any gender has a better. It's something that needs to change.
Speaking to that, what do you guys think that artists can do?
Lydia: We've been given a platform that many people never get. So i think it's important when you've been given a gift like this. You have to use it. And if you use your voice which is a little bit louder because of this platform, then others will feel comfortable speaking out.
Genessa: And not shying away from standing up or asking questions.
Lydia: It's good to have an opinion. It's also okay to not know how you feel! I used to get scared because I didn't know what people were talking about and I wanted to debate or discuss, but I didn't know how I felt...so it's important for us to be able to answer people's questions.
Genessa: To inform and empower people.
I think there's people speaking out of ignorance a lot of the time.
Lydia: Like with the word feminism.
Genessa: Because of the ways it's thought of, it's associated with all of these negative things. There's this book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. It's a really important book in my opinion, it's about how we're all bad feminists, we're gonna mess up, but we're gonna learn together because that's how you move forward.
Lydia: If you believe in equal rights for the sexes, you are a feminist. That's just the definition of the word.
And part of being able to accept that definition, is accepting that some people don't want to identify as that.
Genessa: When someone is uncomfortable with identifying as a feminist it is frustrating because it's like, don't worry about other peoples definition of feminism, create your own! The reason the term is important to me is because, if we unite under one thing, good things can happen.[Feature Image Courtesy American Pancake]