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Interview: Lydia

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Lydia has been a staple of the indie rock scene now for almost a decade, but not without their fair share of ups and downs and all the lineup changes that came with it. We talked to Leighton about their new album Devil, released earlier this year, asking him about their new sound and their current tour with their friends from Cartel.

Questions by Kevin Ma.

The progression in Lydia’s sound from Paint it Golden to Devil is pretty clear, was this a deliberate act to reach out to newer fans or more of a natural change? Devil definitely sounds the happiest of your records to date.

We definitely didn’t set out to make a “certain kind of album.” I think it just ended up sounding more upbeat naturally. We also went with a new producer to make Devil, so that probably contributed to the slightly different sound as well.

The balance between keeping the old Lydia sound that fans love and opting for a more poppier sound is quite well done in Devil depite it seeming risky to attempt, how did you achieve this balance?

I really think it’s terrible to play it safe while writing. It’s one thing that I truly hate, when an artist puts out a record without taking any risks. There is really something to be said about stepping out of your comfort zone. Some amazing things can come from it.

Moments of ‘beauty’ have always been a part of what makes Lydia’s music so endearing to fans. Your past records didn’t have a problem in achieving these emotional, layered moments as they were sad in nature. Devil, being almost the opposite, still manages to achieve these moments. Was this the result of many conscientious decisions on your end or did it sort of magically happen during the recording process?

Honestly we were just trying to make the best songs we could. I feel like it would be a mistake to go into any creative project with a strong agenda. The guys and myself were very lucky to have the great team around us for the recording and release as well.

What’s the inspiration behind the Devil album artwork?

We get asked this a lot because, I guess, it’s so different from our previous artwork. We were going a slightly different direction with the music, and so we wanted to do the same with the artwork. Our manager and myself came up with an idea that slowly morphed into what you actually see as the artwork.

How have your musical inspirations for writing new songs changed with each record? Are there certain musicians that you’ll always look at for inspiration?

I really do try and look at every release, and song, completely different from anything we’ve done already. I think that in itself  as made the albums different. Also I would say we make a conscious effort of not forcing any songwriting. If its not there, it’s not there. Sometimes you just have to put the instrument down and come back to it later.

There are a lot of lines that have stuck with fans: “…it’s such a life to remember”, “When all we want is to be enough / When all we want is to feel enough”, and my personal favorite, “Darling, you fucked up”. What is your favorite line you have written?

Ha, I mean I wrote them all so I’m kind of biased, but I just love how the fans hold all the lyrics and songs so close and personal.

Favorite songs to play live? Best and/or craziest crowd reactions?

Um, we just put out a song called “Back to Bed” off of our new record Devil. This one got a whole lot of amazing Lydia fans pretty wild on tour.

Leighton, you have another project called The Cinema, how do you balance the song writing for both Lydia and The Cinema? How do the songs differ and influence one another?

I try my best while writing to keep both projects separate from each other. I love to write and produce both bands, but I feel like any “separate” project you do shouldn’t be too close to another. That said, I think it’s only human that some of the writing probably influences other parts.

What’s next for Lydia?

Lydia is going to be releasing a deluxe edition of our latest release Devil with 6 extra tracks on it. Then we will be on the road for a lot of the remainder of the year. Hope to see some yo’ faces out there, cheers!

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