Interview with Lycia
Well, as the band that kinda started the ability for QRD to exist, I’m always excited when I find a reason to talk to Lycia. While Mike & Tara have very rarely worked on Lycia in the past five years, previous to that they spent most of the late 1990’s grinding a permanent mark on the darkwave music scene.
QRD – How do you turn music mode on & off in your relationship with each other? Or do you find yourself pretty constantly collaborating on music even if it’s songs about cooking?
Tara – Music isn’t really off or on. I met Mike because of Lycia, so it has always been a part of our life together. We don’t record very often, but it’s a part of who we are together & individually so it’s never on or off; it just is.
Mike – I agree, but of late, at least for me, it really hasn’t been applicable in my daily life.
QRD – How has your music changed by having someone you’re romantically involved with working with you?
Tara – I would say it’s given a whole level of support a lot of people don’t have in their career. When we toured my comfort was with me all the time, so I never had to feel alone or worry about what was happening at home. I also think there’s a comfort level there between us, so collaborating is a lot easier on some levels because we’re very in sync with each other.
Mike – I’ve always been focused on a vision, which if I had to describe it I don’t think I really could, because of it’s abstract nature. So because of that, I see the music’s evolution as being on that path. Working with Tara has been a good thing, but I think the music I’ve done would have evolved as it did no matter what.
QRD – How do you keep things professional rather than getting personal in the band? Like not letting being upset that someone’s not doing their house chores spill into band practice?
Tara – I guess it’s the same with every other area of your life. It’s a little hard to set aside your feelings regardless of what’s going on, but the band is “work” so you treat it as such. When you’re on tour you can’t let your pissy feelings get in the way of performing, so you set them aside & work. At home you can go to your separate corners for a while & come back to recording when it’s comfortable to do so. Pretty much the rule is to just suck it up & do your job regardless of where you are emotionally.
Mike – When we were doing music at 100%, with no outside distractions, music = life & life = music. So it was all the same to me & all the same to us. We didn’t set time apart for personal or home time or for music time. We just lived a life that involved it all.
QRD – Do you think working musically together increases the strength of your relationship?
Tara – Yes. It has to. You spend a lot of time together & working together creatively, sharing one of the most important aspects of your life; it causes closeness.
Mike – I think that music brought me closer to Tara. It was important to both of us, so naturally it strengthened our relationship.
QRD – Do you think the music ever suffers because of your relationship?
Tara – Probably! It’s too easy to just say, “Eh, let’s lay on the couch & watch movies instead of recording today.” (See last five years! haha) Also, since music is so tied to emotion it can affect the creative process positively or negatively.
Mike – I think my earlier answers answer this question also.
QRD – Being in a romantic couple, do you try to curb lyrical content to or away from things in your relationship?
Tara – I write what I write. I don’t typically try to steer it any direction. Truth is truth whether it’s happy or sad, painful or otherwise. I’m a rather open book. Mike will likely have a very different answer to this question though!
Mike – I write openly in terms of emotion, but I do hide behind symbology. I’m an extremely private person.
QRD – A lot of families kind of look down on musicians as immature, do you find that going out with another musician has eased relationships with your parents or in-laws?
Tara – I have no clue. My parents have always been very supportive of me being a musician & they adore Mike. So it hasn’t been an issue for me. I can’t speak for Mike’s family & how they feel about it.
Mike – Tara’s family has always been supportive of what we did, whether it was music or whatever. My family never really understood my musical angle, so I think they always sort of felt that I was on a road that would dead end. It was never really talked about in any way except a casual surface level. My mother seemed supportive though. But she passed away around the time that we were having our most successful times. So I was out on the road or recording as opposed to actually spending time with her.
QRD – Which came first the musical collaboration or the relationship & do you feel that at this point that you could have one without the other?
Tara – Hmm... Both really. I wrote to Mike as a fan, but fairly quickly developed a relationship with him. We worked together a few short months after we “met” via letter writing.
Mike – They both came about at the same time.
QRD – How do things work with band members besides the two of you to get the same level of connectivity while playing your music?
Tara – This hasn’t really been much of an issue with us since it’s primarily been the two of us for a long time. I like collaborating with other people a lot, but I know that Mike is always my rock & we are nearly always on the “same page” so there’s a level of comfort there that doesn’t always exist with others.
Mike – I’ve always seemed to have one main collaborator at a time. Tara was the last in the line.
QRD – Do you find music related gifts to be romantic or more like giving someone an appliance?
Tara – An appliance. I don’t view music equipment as anything more than buying a new vacuum. We need it. It’s not a toy.
Mike – I agree.
QRD – The musician life style has an inherent lack of financial security & healthcare. Do you find yourself thinking, “How can we start a family & continue our musical careers?”
Tara – This no longer applies to us since we took fulltime jobs. We don’t have children primarily because of financial reasons & my fear of losing my lower half! Haha.
Mike – My health problems forced us to get jobs. I didn’t mind the financial insecurity before that though. The freedom was well worth it. I never would consider having children in that state though. A stable home life is too important for a child.
QRD – Do you ever switch off instruments to give each other ideas?
Tara – No.
Mike – No. We definitely stick to the areas that are our strengths.
QRD – A lot of people say they feel most spiritually connected to another person is when they’re on stage & the set is working. Is this what you find & how does this energy flow into your romantic relationship?
Tara – It is most definitely a very special feeling when you’re on stage & it’s working. I don’t think it applies at all to romance, but it is a deep connection. I think since music is a part of our life at all times it just fuels the bond more? I don’t know.
Mike – I was always preoccupied with technical issues when we performed. I never was able to simply be a performer. So concerns about sound & equipment always distracted me. It bothers me that I was never able to really immerse myself in the live setting.
QRD – Some couples start to get seen as a unit with one member as dominant. Do you ever want to get one of you more recognition?
Tara – Well, Mike doesn’t like attention. He prefers to be the guy in the background who can do his thing & be left alone... but I do believe he deserves a lot more attention than he’s been given. & no, I’m not partial.
Mike – I care more about if a song is effective. I dislike ego driven performers. It’s all about the mood to me.
QRD – Do you feel a need to have separate projects where you just work on your own?
Tara – Well, I do like doing solo stuff because I have a different side that isn’t appropriate within Lycia. Mike works in a different way than I do in that he does everything very technically accurate & I pretty much just wing it all the time, so it feels good for me to be able to work that way on my own. But I love collaborating with him too & I think Lycia will always be the most important thing I’ve ever done.
Mike – I find it hard to differentiate between what I’ve done with Lycia or Bleak or Estraya or solo. It’s all just music to me & of equal importance.
QRD – Musicians often run into fans with crushes, is their a secret to recognizing when something is getting inappropriate instead of being band promoting?
Tara – I think you get a “creepy vibe” from certain people. It’s sort of a gut instinct that tells you to keep certain people at arm’s length. Unfortunately some people are very good at hiding their creepy side. I’m a very open person & I love meeting people & corresponding with them so I won’t change that just to avoid a couple creeps. My experience has by & large been very positive.
Mike – I met some very shady people over the years & unfortunately I’m now in a position where I feel it’s better to be cautious of anyone that approaches us. I’m private & I’m comfortable keeping that distance.
QRD – Any advice for other musician couples?
Tara – The same advice I’d give anyone: Don’t expect anyone to be perfect & compromise. You can’t always have your way.
Mike – Everyone is different so my advice is probably not good advice for most. In a vague & general way my advice would just be to be honest to yourself, your relationship, & your music.
Other QRD interviews with Lycia: