INTERVIEW: Lydia’s Castle frontwoman Tonya LeeAnne on her band’s debut EP

Lydia’s Castle
Credit: Cap2Red Studios

Nashville-based heavy rock outfit Lydia’s Castle releases their self-titled EP on June 3 via CastleBuilt Entertainment. In recent months, the band unveiled music videos for three tracks from the EP, including “Phoenix,” “Falling Into Place,” and “Search For You.”

Frontwoman Tonya LeeAnne shares, “The EP and our single ‘Search for You,’ specifically, are about one of the greatest losses of my life, and I wanted to channel that pain into something creative that can be shared with others and help myself, the band and so many others know they are not alone. The great thing about music and good lyrics is that the listener can make the song their own, and become attached to it in their own way, which is exactly how I got into music, to begin with.”

Formed in 2021, Lydia’s Castle’s sound blends elements of old school blues-soaked metal with Tonya’s hardcore riot grrrl vocals into powerful, edgy sonic concoctions full of dense guitars and Jovian rhythms. As excellent as the music is, Tonya’s tour de force voice is the icing on the musical cake, delivering searing, rasping tones along with soft, harmonious interludes.

Since their inception, the band has shared the stage with Diamanté, Renee Phoenix from Fit for Rivals, and If I Die First.

Lydia’s Castle
Credit: Cap2Red Studios

XS Noize spoke with Tonya LeeAnne to find out more about the inspiration behind “Search For You,” who is in the band, and her unique songwriting process.

What three things can’t you live without?

Food, Netflix, and MUSIC.

Who is in Lydia’s Castle, and which instrument do they play?

Tonya LeeAnne – Vocalist.
Cody Denton- Guitar.
Jon Wysocki- Drums.
Corey England- Bass.

What inspired your new single/music video, “Search for You?”

The video was inspired by a true story Cody, and I encountered when we tragically lost our daughter a week before our due date. ‘Search for You’ is the ultimate love story intertwined with love and loss, a ‘what if scenario’ between two strangers.

Walk us through your mindset as you approached recording the song.

The day I recorded ‘Search for You,’ I made sure that I had plenty of sleep, was incredibly hydrated, and mentally prepared to go in and do my best. I remember telling Jack Daniels (SickTones Studio) that this was the most important song (to me) out of all of them. I shared our ‘Lydia’ story and how much this song meant to Cody and I. I remember saying, ‘if there’s one song that has to be perfect, it is this one,’ and he did just that. I am so happy with how the song was executed and captured.

You have a new EP releasing soon. What can you share about it?

This EP is self-titled ‘Lydia’s Castle.’ Each song on the EP is different, with the same ‘sound’ but a different vibe. I truly feel like there’s something for everyone on the EP; if you like slow or melodic, fast and heavy, or something that grooves, you will find that on our EP.

How did you get started in music?

I first started as a country artist in North Carolina before switching over to rock in 2013 after hearing Halestorm on the radio. I knew from that moment forward that I no longer wanted to play it safe, and I wanted to do what other girls weren’t doing. I moved to the Midwest, started a band, and haven’t looked back since. I know that this is where I belong.

Where are you from?

I am from Camden County, North Carolina.

Did your hometown impact your sound?

I don’t think my small town impacted my sound, but it does impact my lyrics. The things I write about and sing about are real-life situations. They’re real-life stories and experiences, some in North Carolina and others along the way during my life journey.

Which singers/musicians influenced your sound?

Martina McBride, Lizzy Hale, Reba McEntire, Pete Loeffler, Chino Moreno, Stephen Christian.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I don’t play in Lydia’s Castle, but I own a ‘76 Custom Gibson Dove that was my great Grandfather’s when he owned Chuck Day Music Center in Niles, Michigan.

What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time or remained pretty much the same?

Tone to me is the overall projection and sound of my voice. Over time, I believe I’ve found myself and confidence in my voice, which has allowed me to settle in and experiment. I think over time, my tone has changed in a sense of strengthening.

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?

My writing is inspired from past experiences and what I am going through in that moment. Sometimes it can be someone else’s situation, something on the news, or an article I’ve read. I like to write about real things. Things people can relate to, you know? If you can’t relate, why listen?

What can you share about your writing process?

Typically, I start with a melody, and I sing random words. Next, I write the words out and count the syllables. After that, I fill in lines with the words I want to say, staying in the syllable parameter. Last, I have the alphabet at the top of the page, so I can easily scan it for words that rhyme. It sounds like a complex mathematical equation, but it works, and it’s how I’ve written lyrics forever.

Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?

Spiritbox, PLUSH, The Warning, Lilith Czar - pretty much all women fronted bands, and I LOVE IT!

What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?

We’re going to do two more music videos, play a ton of shows, write more music, record more music by the end of the year, and just stay front and centre. We want to stay connected with our fans. We don’t want to lose momentum.

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