I think Lydia Hoglund would appreciate that I'm writing this post while wearing Target pajama pants (they have little fish all over them), and a three-sizes-too-big-for-me thrift store sweater. Depending on whether or not I have a hand available for scratching, I also have a cat on my lap. This, plus or minus a couple of cats, is essentially the image Lydia gives us of her songwriting process. Cross-legged on a bench at Spyhouse, sipping a chai, flannel clad, the lead lady of local band, Bomba de Luz, chatted us through her approach to music and life's recent passages.
"I usually just sit in my basement with my cat, Loopy, writing songs. Sometimes my mom comes down to do laundry, and I have to stop for a minute so she doesn't hear my new stuff." She says this dryly, with a small, self-aware pout.
Lydia has toured with high-profile hip hop artists like Atmosphere, P.O.S. and Toki Wright. She has played at theBasilica Block Party. . . . She still lives at home? "Jeremy Messersmith told me to live in my parents' basement for as long as possible, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do!"
With incredible local musicians like Messersmith, Wright, and folk artist Brian Laidlaw as mentors, it's hard to worry about this 20-year-old songstress. Lyds—we don't care where you live, just keep cranking out those tunes.
Before she claimed her parents' basement, Lydia spent a lot of time in the St. Paul artists' loft where her dad painted.
"I wanted to be a visual artist for the longest time, but my dad would always paint while blasting music, so I was really inspired by the Clash, Jackson Brown, Billy Bragg, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley. . ."
Encouraged by the story-telling soul of these artists, Lydia began memorizing guitar chords and writing songs. At 16, she'd formed a band with a few friends she'd known since middle school. "Obviously, one of the guys who I convinced to join was really into School of Rock."
Playing at small, local venues, Bomba de Luz began generating quite a bit of buzz within the Minneapolis music scene.Andrea Swensson of The Current has praised Lydia's "ethereal, elastic voice," and the group was named one of the Best New Bands of 2012.
After Bomba's members graduated from Central High School in 2013, the band's future became very uncertain. With a few members pursuing music degrees at colleges out of state, today, the group struggles to find time to collaborate and record.
As Lydia continues to grow as an independent artist, she notes that Bomba de Luz's future record, Ember, has the potential to be wildly different from any of their past work. "We feel so distanced from each other right now, and we’re thinking of just reworking the whole thing when everyone’s back in town . . . as you change as people, your music goes with that. . . ."
If Lydia's uncertainty frightens current Bomba de Luz die-hards, please rest assured that the group plans to keep playing and growing together. You can expect Lyds to maintain her standard sass, as well.
"As long as Gavin stops wearing basketball shorts on stage . . . I think our vibe will be better, and I think we will all understand each other a little more."