Arizona’s Lydia are used to change. They started out as a rocky emo band with their debut, This December; It’s One More and I’m Free which set them up perfectly for the follow-up: the cult classic, swelling winter record, Illuminate.
In 2010, backing vocalist and keyboardist Mindy White, who now fronts States, decided to leave the band and they eventually called it quits before leaving behind the dark, electronic Assailants.
They returned quickly with Paint it Golden, less than a year later. It’s piano-driven, with weird electronic parts and big melodies.
On Devil, released two years ago, the band changed things up again. Now, with three official members, the songs are acoustic guitar-led and very, very poppy. A perfect summer album; or the perfect juxtaposition to Illuminate.
Run Wild is darker. And more serious. In fact, change is something Lydia are so unafraid of, they used two different producers across the album’s 11 tracks.
We spoke to vocalist/guitarist and founding member Leighton Antelman, who explained that each producer, both Copeland’s vocalist Aaron Marsh and Colby Wedgeworth (The Maine, This Century), have very different approaches to writing and creating music.
He said: “Colby has much more of a pop influence and is more straight forward. Aaron has more of an indie and experimental way of writing. Both are great but very different. That’s the reason we decided to go that route.”
As for Run Wild being a darker release, though, Leighton explained that it just happened, “I think the thought crossed my mind, but it was never anything we were actively trying to pursue.
“I’ve always thought setting out to create a certain kind of record would be a terrible mistake. The best songs made Run Wild which just happened to be a little darker.”
The band embarked on an Illuminate tour last year, where they performed the album front-to-back each night. While not necessarily a dark album, it has a very wintery feel to it. Leighton thinks that performing that album in full every night might have had an impact on his writing.
He said: “There were definitely a few songs that we played on Illuminate that I, sort of, had forgotten about. I just remember thinking ‘damn, this song was written in a strange way.’”
What about other influences on Run Wild then? Leighton says he has a very hard time answering that question, “I tend to just constantly write music and I’m not sure what I would list as influences. I guess just life in general consciously and subconsciously makes it into the music.
“Sometimes I think people want to hear ‘this happened’ so I wrote ‘this song.’ I guess, for me at least, it’s never worked that way.”
On the topic of songwriting, standout track on Run Wild, “Georgia” features a spoken word except in the bridge. Google turns up nothing for it, and even Leighton himself is unsure of where it originated.
He said: “Ha, so, I couldn’t tell you why but I was watching a lot of old black and white movies online. I just really was into how some of them talked back in that area.
“So, I gathered up a handful of clips from random movies and started putting them in songs. If I’m being honest I picked out so many that I’m not even sure which movie that actually came from. I just really liked her voice and what she said.”
Back to the past, though. The band just announced that their debut, This December…, will be pressed on vinyl for the first time later in the year, which is to coincide with the album’s ten-year anniversary this year. Illuminate, too, is soon to be pressed for the first time (properly, anyway).
Leighton explained: “We just very recently finally got through all the legal hoops to have everything we needed.
“We’re holding off because we want to do something really special alongside/with the Illuminate vinyl pressing. It should be announced before the year’s out. Stay tuned!”
After a history filled with change, putting together setlist for the latest tour the band are embarking on, supported by Seahaven and Turnover, is pretty difficult. “I guess it’s not a bad problem to have though. We try to switch it up as much as we can while still having the crowd favourites in there,” Leighton said.
The band toured the UK for the first time last year, and Leighton mentioned that they are planning to come back over some time next year.
For now, though, you can check out Run Wild and see the band at their prime.