The Regrettes were flying high before the pandemic struck. When we last talked to them, in the summer of 2019, the members were fresh off of a European stadium tour with Twenty One Pilots, and about to release their second album, How Do You Love?
Of course, COVID-19 put a stop to all touring, but The Regrettes stayed busy in 2020, releasing two singles—“What Am I Gonna Do Today?” and “I Love Us”—that showed the band straying from its punk roots toward electronic pop.
In 2021, The Regrettes continued their evolution, recently releasing “Monday,” which melds The Regrettes’ brand of meaningful and reflective lyrics with poppier production. It’s the first single from the band’s third album, coming sometime in 2022. Meanwhile, The Regrettes are embarking on a mini-tour, titled “Get The F*ck Out of L.A” (a lyric from “Monday”), which includes a return to Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Dec. 9.
“It’s kind of terrifying, but also like the best thing in the world,” said frontwoman Lydia Night during a recent phone interview. “We’ve been trying to stay as much in the moment as possible as a band, but naturally, there’s a lot of conversation surrounding, like, ‘Oh my god, we cannot wait to tour.’ So now that it’s actually happening, it just doesn’t feel real yet. I can’t wait—and Pappy’s is also one of my favorite venues, so I’m stoked that we’re doing that this year.”
The mini-tour includes three dates in Southern California, and the Pappy’s show was the only one that hadn’t yet sold out as of our press deadline. The title of the mini-tour, and the inspiration for the lyrics, came from the trapped feeling the pandemic imposed.
“That lyric really came from a place of no hate toward L.A., but just toward the place that I was trapped in and stuck in,” said Night. “It was written when COVID was really, really bad, and I couldn’t see anyone or do anything, like most people should have been doing. It was more just, like, I need to get the fuck out of my house, but L.A. sounded better (as a lyric) than my house.”
The Regrettes have never shied from change—yet the change they experienced over the pandemic was “intense,” Night said, as she and her bandmates had plenty of time to reflect on things they could do better.
“I feel like every single section of my life was going through this crazy growth spurt, and it feels really empowering and exciting to be on the other side of that,” Night said. “I’m still constantly growing and changing and evolving, as we all are, but it feels like there was this period of time that was super-intense, and really tricky and hard, and coming out of that is exciting. It’s exciting to be putting music out from that position, in that mindset—kind of for the first time, honestly.”
The pandemic forced Night to take a new approach to songwriting.
“It was the first time that I wasn’t taking this kind of rushing approach to songwriting,” she said. “I was forced to write a batch of songs, and sit with it for a long time.”
At first, she liked what she’d written. But that didn’t last.
“(There was) that uncomfortable period of time with a few weeks going by, and then being, like, ‘Oh, wow, that wasn’t even that good; let’s go again’—and doing that so many times,” Night said. “It’s just something that you, normally, when you’re touring all the time, don’t have space for. I definitely will, from now on, take that as a lesson … to make that time and to be patient with our writing.”
The video for “Monday” features The Regrettes as awkward teenagers at a school dance, complete with a ’00s wardrobe and production aesthetic. The video also, at times, features Night, painted pink, with negative messages on her shirt, like, “You Can’t Dance,” and, “Tonight Will Suck.”
“That concept started when the whole band went to Joshua Tree for 10 days to write, and to just put our heads together and brainstorm about visuals,” Night said. “We listened through a bunch of songs that I had previously written, too, so it was this whole brainstorming writing session, and we ended up writing 10 songs in 10 days. It was amazing. I felt like we were at such a creative peak—and during that time, we had this night where we wanted to just have some dance party, for some reason, in the living room. We were listening to a lot of music from the time when we would have been going to middle school dances, like the early 2000s and whatnot, and we were just talking about how funny it would have been, and how much we would love to see our middle school selves interact at a school dance. That is what birthed the fun side of the video.
“The other piece of it is this character ‘Joy’ and this sort of anxiety that I’m going through. We wanted to introduce that character, me with my body painted pink, because it is definitely going to be a recurring theme throughout the album.”
Joshua Tree was an obvious choice for the band’s writing retreat, due to Night’s history in the area.
“We all just love Joshua Tree, and I spent a lot of time there growing up,” Night said. “We wanted a place that was easy for us to drive to that’s not too far from home, but feels very different and very disconnected. We found a very beige Airbnb. It was filled with the most random, weird furniture of all time, and it was kind of a perfect setting, because it was so different. I feel like a lot of times, studios—or wherever you’re going to write if it’s not home—try to have this, and I hate this word, but vibe. They try to have this cool-feeling space, and I think that us being in this space that was so not that totally refreshed us.”
The Regrettes will perform at 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-228-2222, or visit pappyandharriets.com.