SXSW: Ryan Gosling's Connection to Pretty Little Demons, Fest's Youngest-Ever Group
This story first appeared in the March 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
"At the time, I really didn't know that he was like, huge," shrugs 12-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist Lydia Night about performing onstage alongside Ryan Gosling. "Then I kept seeing his name on billboards, and I was like: 'Oh, that's Ryan Gosling? OK.' " Since early 2010, Night, who lives in Santa Monica, has performed with Gosling's indie rock outfit Dead Man's Bones -- asked to join after she appeared in the band's "Pa Pa Power" video.
In July, Night formed Pretty Little Demons with 9-year-old drumming prodigy Marlhy Murphy, whom she met at the Burbank School of Rock. After raising $5,000 on the funding site Kickstarter, they recorded their debut EP, Flowers, with producer Ethan Allen (The Cult, Gram Rabbit). On March 12, they will perform at SXSW at Austin's Dirty Dog Bar -- the youngest band ever invited to play the music fest. Night's father, Morgan Higby Night, said when his daughter heard the news, "she actually used a curse word. It's rare that happens."
Night, whose sound is upbeat pop punk, cites Amanda Palmer, Regina Spektor and Karen O as inspirations. "We write songs about really strong subjects, and it can get really personal," she says. For example, "Bag of Rock" covers the topic of drug addiction. "We had been talking about addiction in school," says Night, "but also my grandparents were addicts, so it's close to my heart."
Night admires Gosling because "he knows how to play so many different instruments -- ones I don't even know the names of." As for the Oscar nominee, he says of the preteen, "She's the kind of kid who makes you feel like you wasted your childhood being boring and uncreative."