MEB writer and photographer Connor Feimster recently sat down with Lydia before their show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia to talk about the successes of Devil, what went into the Illuminate tour, and even vinyl collecting (or lack thereof).
MEB: For the record, please state your name and what you do in the band.
Matt Keller: My name is Matt and I play piano in Lydia.
Justin Camacho: Justin, and I play guitar.
Leighton Antelman: Leighton, and I sing and play guitar.
Since releasing Devil, how has touring in support of it been going? Are people receiving it well?
Leighton: The turnout was awesome for that tour. I think people are reacting to Devil sort of the way I remember them reacting to Illuminate; they’re just as excited about this record as they were for Illuminate.
It would appear that Devil is garnering more success than Paint it Golden did. Why do you think that is?
Leighton: I think there was far more preparation and more advertising surrounding Devil, so those are most likely the reasons why it’s become more successful.
You’re out on the Illuminate tour. Is there any specific reason as to why you wanted to do a tour like this for a record that’s only six years old?
Leighton: We’ve been wanting to do this tour for a while now. We wanted to do it last year because it would have been the five-year anniversary, but our schedules didn’t line up; I had to do things with my other project The Cinema and we didn’t want to half-ass it and just throw a tour together so we wanted to wait until the spring now in order to do a proper tour for it.
[Matt and Justin,] how has it been being a part of Lydia and the process with Devil? This project isn’t your first venture into music, I’m assuming.
Matt: Yeah, I mean [Justin] and I have been doing the “local band” thing for years; we’ve been around for, like, four or five years doing our own things.
Justin: Matt’s first tour [with Lydia] was the farewell tour and mine was the first tour back, so we’ve been around for a little while.
Matt: We’re still the new guys, though (laughs).
Of course. It must still be great to be a part of something so cherished.
Matt: It’s just really cool. It’s always fun to just go out and perform and [Leighton] writes really cool songs and he could say “hey, play this” and I just say “that’s fine with me.” Once we got the opportunity to tour Devil and the songs that we spent a month and a half writing and another month recording, it’s just liberating and very awesome to see people out there singing along. Even on this Illuminate tour, we’re playing all of Illuminate, then play a few songs off of Devil afterwards and people are singing just as loud and it blows my mind.
Had you considered enlisting the former members from Illuminate‘s writing and touring process for this tour alongside the rest of you? For instance, I know many fans were begging for Mindy [White] to make an appearance.
Leighton: No, not really. This band is not the same band and I’m not trying to make it the same band. We’re not trying to just go up on stage and regurgitate Illuminate either. We’ve made it our own for this tour. People have asked me that but no, I didn’t really consider it because I’m not trying to relive the past. It’s just something we’re doing for the fans who really, really wanted it.
Right, as you should!
Leighton: (Laughs) Exactly!
So since the farewell tour, your runs on the road had mostly been headlining, apart from your recent tour supporting The Maine. What was that like? Because it seems like there would be a bunch of people who fall into the category of liking both you guys and The Maine with how their sound has grown nowadays. But if you go way back when to the “neon age” of 2007…
Matt: (Laughs) Ahh, the neon age.
It just seems like something rather unexpected to be present with a tour like that; did it feel like a new demographic for you?
Leighton: I think that, with the direction they’re going now, it was definitely more of a crossover of fans, but we try to tour with bands that fans of ours are into and that we’re not just playing to a bunch of people that have already heard us. We love playing to a full crowd of new faces. That’s why we took that tour and wanted to do that.
Matt: We’re not one of those bands who don’t want certain kinds of fans. We don’t understand that at all.
Or like a band that strictly doesn’t want to support and just headline.
Matt: We really just want as many people as possible to like our music, from any walks of life. If you like the vibrations we make, then it’s very much appreciated if you keep listening to them.
[Leighton,] you mentioned The Cinema earlier. Are there any recent developments for that after having released your debut record?
Leighton: We put out our debut record, like…at least two or three years ago, so we just did another record with a bunch of new songs and we’re just not sure when we’re gonna release it.
Had you considered touring under The Cinema?
Leighton: We get asked all the time if we’re going to, it’s just that [Matt Malpass’] and my touring schedules are so different that it’s hard to find the time to tour. Someday, maybe, I don’t know. We don’t have anything booked as of now.
I guess you could say that this is the “golden question” that you get asked at just about every show, but are there plans to release your back catalog on vinyl alongside Paint it Golden and Devil? I know a bunch of people are begging for Illuminate.
Leighton: Yes, absolutely. The thing is that Universal owns [Illuminate] and we’re just recently finishing the talks of getting it back and we almost have it back so yeah, we are going to release Illuminate on vinyl.
Very nice! How about any progress with doing the same for This December or Assailants?
Leighton: I’m not sure about that yet. We’re just going one record at a time.
Which makes sense as to why you started the process with getting Illuminate first, because that’s what people are desperate to have.
Leighton: Yeah, exactly.
Justin: “Trying to get our music back”…(laughs).
Matt: Yeah, we’re not super high up on Universal’s priorities.
To branch off on the topic, are any of you guys into collecting vinyl?
Justin: I don’t have a lot; I’m coming up on, maybe, 20 now? My girlfriend got me a nice record player for Christmas, but I’m not, like, crazy about it by any means. But I enjoy it and listen to it, for sure.
Leighton: I don’t own a single record (laughs).
Matt: I used to. There was a period of my life where I was just bumming it around friends’ couches and I had this one friend who I had stayed with who had a record player so if I found a cool record, I’d buy it and hand it to him as if to say “thank you for letting me be here…take this.” (laughs)
I suppose my last question would be, what is the next step after this tour comes to a close? Are you guys writing release number six?
Leighton: Yeah, we’re always writing, so after this tour, we’re going to take a certain amount of time off to try to explore those ideas some more. We’ll probably be back on the road later this year, but for the summer, we’re gonna try to write a new record. It may happen, it may not. We’ll see.