There’s no better way to describe Lydia’s music other than astonishingly beautiful. After countless positive reviews for all four of Lydia’s releases, front man Leighton Antelman still manages to remain down to earth and act like a young musician blessed with the opportunity of being able to express his thoughts and feelings through music and make a humble living out of it. Tone Deaf’s Tom Gaffney had a chat with Leighton to discuss their upcoming Australian tour among other things.
Little fun fact – you played your last show before Lydia’s hiatus in Adelaide, which is my hometown.
Oh, really? I remember that show very well. It was a lot of fun. I have really fond memories of Adelaide because as you said it was our last show so it was our place for celebration.
You guys played a great show as well. Are you excited to come back to Australia?
Absolutely. We think that Australia is a really beautiful place and our last tour was a ton of fun. We toured around with a little Australian band called Elliot the Bull for most of our tour and they were a bunch of fun. We really enjoyed having them open for us.
Elliot the Bull is a great band, so it was unfortunate that they didn’t travel down to Adelaide with you.
Yeah, our Adelaide show was kind of different. Another band called Cute is What We Aim For were touring Australia the same time as us and we both happened to be playing in Adelaide on the same night, so we set up a co-headlining show with them just for a bit of variety throughout the tour.
And after that show you seemingly packed up for good on what now seems to have been one of the shortest hiatuses in music history! What kept you occupied during your seven month break?
I moved cities, which took up a bit of my time. I also spent every spare moment writing music. I just can’t stop writing, I’m utterly addicted to it. The hiatus was supposed to be permanent and I was planning on releasing my recordings under my own name but my band mate Craig brought up the point that we shouldn’t be letting go of the Lydia name which has been steadily growing over the last number of years. We realised that it just didn’t seem viable to throw away what Lydia has grown to be.
I guess the fact that you can’t stop writing has led to you already crafting 4 wonderful records for Lydia really early in life. How do you feel about achieving so much at such a young age?
I feel really lucky for the most part. I’ve been writing music since the seventh grade, so it feels really good to have the opportunity to stick with what I’ve wanted to do since then and make a living out of it. Most people don’t get to follow their dreams from when they were a kid but I was fortunate enough to do so, and now I can’t imagine my life without it.
It’s unheard of to be making music when someone’s that young! What style of music did you write in seventh grade?
It’s kind of funny, actually. Do you know a band called The Ataris?
Yeah, definitely. They used to be a pretty popular pop-punk band, right?
Yeah. Our music was really similar to that. That style of music was really popular where I lived and a lot of boys my age listened to that kind of stuff. We actually entered a talent show back in junior high but came second to a Destiny’s Child tribute act. I’m just praying that someone digs up a recording of the talent show and uploads it to YouTube one day.
That’d be a wonderful day for both you and your fans.
You can bet I’d be plugging it.
It’s hard to believe that Lydia has gone from a six-man band down to just two people. Do you find much difference between having the six old members and now just having you and Craig left?
Lydia’s core was always three people – Craig, Steve and myself – so it doesn’t really feel much different. We three wrote and recorded all of the songs – with the exception of Mindy who recorded vocals occasionally – while the other three members just played the songs with us at shows and rehearsals. Mindy ended up leaving us a few years after Illuminate’s release so she could work on States, which is her own band. Steve and I had a disagreement about ten days before our Australian farewell tour and it became evident that we just couldn’t play with each other anymore, which is a shame because we’d been writing together for so long.
Do you see Lydia touring with States in the future?
Well, no. I mean, Mindy and I talk all the time. There’s no bad blood between us at all. I just can’t see us going on tour because it just wouldn’t feel right. We’ve naturally drifted apart in the musical world.
That’s a bit of a shame, seeing as a States and Lydia seem to have a lot of mutual fans.
I’ve noticed. We still support each other’s music through our press but that seems to be as far as it goes.
Finally, I want to ask you something that’s intrigued me. Who is this mysterious person called Hailey you’ve been singing about in a lot of your songs?
Hailey is just a collection of past events, situations and experiences. Hopefully that makes some sense to you.
It does, actually. You’ve personified all the past experiences and given them an alias in order to make them all easier to sing about, right? That’s a really smart idea.
That’s mostly it, and thank you.
Catch Lydia at one of the following shows. Get in early.
Tickets on sale via www.moshtix.com.au
(except Brisbane show at The Zoo – available via oztix.com.au)
Thursday 05/01/12 Elsewhere Bar // Gold Coast // QLD*
Friday 06/01/12 The Zoo // Brisbane // QLD
Saturday 07/01/12 Rocking Horse // Brisbane // QLD // AA*
Sunday 08/01/12 The Hunter Valley Brewery // Maitland // NSW
Wednesday 11/01/12 Utopia // Sydney // NSW // AA*
Wednesday 11/01/12 Rock Lilly // Sydney // NSW
Thursday 12/01/12 Cambridge Hotel // Newcastle // NSW
Friday 13/01/12 Cabbage Tree Hotel // Wollongong // NSW
Saturday 14/01/12 The Entrance Leaugues Club // Bateau Bay // NSW
Sunday 15/01/12 Tuggeranong Alliance Church // Canberra // ACT
Wednesday 18/01/12 Amplifier Bar // Perth // WA*
Friday 20/01/12 Enigma Bar // Adelaide // SA*
Saturday 21/01/12 Evelyn Hotel // Melbourne // VIC
Sunday 22/01/12 Fist To Face // Melbourne // VIC // AA*
Sunday 22/01/12 The National Hotel // Geelong // VIC
* The Cavalcade not appearing on these dates
**Rock Lily @ Star City Casino in Sydney Free Entry.