Below is a recent interview with Tara, from the band Lycia. After over a decade of recording and performing, they recently released their last album “Empty Space” on Silber Records.
1. I am sure many people have asked about the departure from Projekt. Since I’m sure I won’t get an answer to that question, instead, I will ask if there will be any future releases (Lycia, solo or otherwise) through Projekt or will all new albums be issued through
tara: There will never be another release on Projekt unless something very bizarre happens. Mike has a solo record in the works that will come out on Silber. We’re quite happy with the way Brian runs things. He’s a great friend and a great businesman. I’m sure our story wouldn’t be much different from any other disgruntled bands you hear yapping…
2. I’d read that “Tripping Back into Broken Days” was actually recorded after “Empty Space”. Did you know that “Empty Space” would be delayed when recording “Tripping Back..”? Was there any overlap in the creation of the albums?
tara: We stopped working on Empty Space because we were having problems. It’s another one of those things I’m going to refrane from fully discussing.
Let’s just say it lead to Mike deciding to say “fuck this” to Lycia. Tripping… IS an Estraya album. It should have been released under the Estraya name. We were misguided in the decision to call it a Lycia album. It was a mistake on our part. We recorded Tripping… completely content to walk away from Lycia (and had been done with Lycia for a few years at that point) but were pursuaded to use the Lycia name at the last minute so to speak. It was our final decision, but it wasn’t the right decision. Empty Space was supposed to sit on a shelf and collect dust and never see the light of day, but we decided to release it because it truly was the end of the line for Lycia and a couple people wanted to hear the album.
3. As a lifelong Clevelander, I’ve always found the naming of your album “Cold”, created after moving to Ohio from Arizona, kind of amusing. Any real correlation?
tara: Absolutely! I lived in Ohio my entire life and Mike grew up in Michigan, so we’re both extremely familiar with Winter in the Midwest. When we recorded that album it was the snowiest Winter we’d had in Ohio in a long time. Our house overlooked a snowy field/woods and every day we stared out at that scene while we recorded. Lycia has always been about reflecting the environment around it – physically and emotionally – so it made perfect sense to name the album Cold.
4. Standard interview question: What Lycia song is *your* favorite?
tara: Oh geez! I’m not sure I can pick just one! For emotional reasons I’ll go with “Granada”, for my own feelings of contentedness with what I created, I’ll go with “Asleep in the River”.
5. I once heard a story about how Mike was walking with a gothier companion and a fan came up and, assuming, because he looked like goth, that the companion was in Lycia and proceeded to tell him how much he/she loved Lycia and gushed on, not knowing Mike was actually the one she was looking for. Regardless of if the story is true, do you view your music as “goth” and what do you think of people who might expect you to look/act a certain way, based on your music?
tara: That story is absolutely true! Funny huh? The funny thing is that person had brought Mike a gift. So when he wrote the “Biggest Fan” back thanking them for the gift the person never responded. We used to show up at goth clubs where we were scheduled to play (because the booking agent booked us in those places, we could have cared less what kind of clubs we played in) and people would look at us like “who the hell are you and why are you here?”. Mike looked like someone from Skynard on the Cold tour and I never fit in either because I’m no sickly thin waif with black lipstick. So it was always interesting. Some people didn’t care at all what we looked like. It was obvious other people were let down because we weren’t “cool” though.
Obviously a good portion of our fan base is Goth, and that’s totally cool as far as I’m concerned. The problem I have is when they want you to be like them. They want you to live by their dogmas and by their “code of ethics”. We are who we are and we don’t care who listens or doesn’t listen to our music. We’ve never tried to be anything specific. We felt like we let a lot of people down at times for being ourselves and that’s fucked up. Well, I’ll speak for myself in regards to that because Mike might say something
6. You’ve worked with other bands, such as Numina and Falling You. Was collaborating with those other artists an adjustment, after your other work being with someone you are so close to? Do you plan to do future collaborations?
tara: It wasn’t an adjustment for me in regards to working with Numina. I just made vocal tapes and sent them to Jesse to manipulate. When I worked with Falling You I did what he asked me to do, which doesn’t happen in Lycia, so that may have been a little weird for me. Mike has always wanted his collaboraters to do what comes naturally to them and doesn’t really give direction. I will probably do more collaborations in the future. I’m hoping to do something with Timothy Renner of Stone Breath.
7. Lycia has been around for over 15 years. Now that the project is at a close, is there a certain degree of nostalgia for it or do you feel that it had run it’s course and are glad to have it finished?
tara: Both. There’s always going to be this sadness knowing that it’s over. We had a lot of fun, saw a lot of places and met a lot of really cool people. But there was also a lot of frustration associated with Lycia that we’re glad to be rid of. I love Lycia. I love it or I wouldn’t have bothered tracking Mike down all those years ago. So for me knowing it’s over is very sad. But yes, I think Lycia ran it’s course. But you know what? I change my mind on a daily basis.
8. With Mike’s solo project on the horizon and your album “This Womb like Liquid Honey” released about four years ago, you’ve both completed separate works since collaborating on Lycia. How much work or influence crossed the borders (Mike’s into yours, yours into Mike’s)?
tara: Mike had a very big impact on my album because he helped me with some of the programming, recording etc. He helped me get through the process and
encouraged me when I might have just given up thinking I wasn’t good enough. I have no influence on his work other than an extra ear to listen and to encourage him to continue.
9. Lycia’s lyrics have always seemed very personal, in particular on “Tripping Back..”. Does it make you uncomfortable to know that you’re offering these feelings up for everyone or can you distance yourself from the songs, once they’ve been created?
tara: Yes and no. I mean, I have always been an open book and will pretty much talk about anything, so it doesn’t bother me particularly that people know the reality behind the lyrics. But it did used to really bother me when we’d be on stage pouring out very personal emotions and looking out and seeing people completely disinterested or only there to “make the scene”. It also really bothers me when people make light of some of the subject matter. Mike almost died, this stuff isn’t about feeling sorry for yourself, it’s about dealing with someone wasting away. I can handle someone not liking our music, that’s fine, but when someone reduces it to “the catacombs in france goth goth goth blah blah blah” that pisses me off because it shows a total lack of comprehension on the part of the listener.
10. At one point, you toured quite extensively, but have not done so for some time. Was this a decision made because you don’t enjoy performing live or did it simply become not viable to do and fit into your everyday life?
tara: It had nothing to do with us not enjoying touring and everything to do with Mike getting ill and us not being able to afford to take a proper show out on the road. One of our major regrets is that we were forced to tour so sparsely. We would have liked to have been able to hire extra musicians and take a sound man and a lighting man out with us, but we were given no tour support and had to pay for everything out of our own pockets. That’s just a reality. There’s no way once Mike got really sick that we could continue
going out there and damaging his body any further. Plus having to have fulltime jobs in order to pay bills and have health insurance is not condusive to touring.
11. You have a great and powerful voice. What was your musical background before joining Lycia?
tara: Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. I have no real musical background. I was in a band that made a couple of demos and that’s it.
12. Lastly, anything you’d like to plug? Upcoming releases, side projects, other bands…. great TV shows to fill the loss of ‘Angel’ (yes, I did my homework ?
tara: Wow! Look at you! The only thing “business wise” I’d like to plug is Mike’s upcoming release Beyond the Horizon Line which should be out some time in September of this year. I’ve been writing a book that I hope to have done some time this century and am beginning work on a solo record. As far as the death of Angel goes….I’m still pretty pissed off! hahaha!!! Nothing will replace that show!
For more information about Lycia, check out www.lyciummusic.com.