with Tara VanFlower of Lycia
QRD – Quiet Moments was predominantly a solely Mike VanPortfleet. What is the biggest benefit of having collaborators for A Line That Connects?
Tara – I think the benefit is having another take on something. It’s interesting seeing how different people contribute. I was really excited to have other vocalists involved, especially working with Sera, who I am a big fan of.
QRD – You recorded the album sending files back & forth across the internet. Was the collaboration fundamentally different from when you lived in the same city or actually pretty similar?
Tara – Similar in a lot of ways. You still have to wait for the other person to do their part, which really wasn’t much different. The change from Cold is that we all lived together & got to stew in our anger & frustration under the same roof. HAHAHHA
QRD – For me the biggest surprise on A Line That Connects was David Galas singing lead on a couple of tracks. Was there ever debate of Mike or Tara singing those tracks or them being used on a David Galas solo record?
Tara – No. Those were “Dave’s songs”.
QRD – Did you record songs in blocked away sessions of time or just a little bit here & there as time permitted?
Tara – Since all of us have very full & busy lives we worked whenever we could. There are no “blocks of time” anymore. Mike & I work when Dirk isn’t home or was napping, which is rare. Mike would take days off of work so he could record while Dirk was in school. I know Dave took time off as well. Besides that, we all basically work when we should otherwise be asleep.
QRD – Are Acid & Sound Forge still your main recording softwares?
Tara – That is still what Mike uses, yes.
QRD – You’ve always self-recorded & self-produced. Looking back, is there any era of the band you wish you’d worked with others on?
Tara – This doesn’t relate to me much for the most part, but I feel like Mike would say no. He’s most content when he has 100% control. I think there are absolutely releases he wishes he’d taken a stronger hand with, but there’s nothing we can do about that now.
QRD – In the 1990s it seemed you had a lot of praise from the goth community, but lately you seem to have more praise from the metal community. Do you think that’s from a change in those communities or the ways labels are marketing the band or something different altogether?
Tara – I think part of it is working with new people who don’t choose to define us based on a genre. You know that was one of our main frustrations. Being told, “you are this because these people like you” is one of the most bullshit things you can do to anyone. Numerous times I’ve had people tell me, “I heard of Lycia, but never listened because I thought you were a goth band.” We experienced this numerous times on tour as well. I think there’s so much beautiful dark themed music out there that there’s no point in trying to label it. I love this! I love where Lycia is right now. We’re allowed to just “be” & that invites people of all sorts to feel open to listening. I think the age of the band has now given us a certain freedom we were not afforded in the 90s. I love where we are right now.
QRD – What do you think were the biggest challenges for indie bands in the 1990s versus today?
Tara – Hmmm. I think you stood a better chance of making a living in the 90s versus now. But now you can take more charge over your own career & your own path without the reliance on others. I honestly just don’t know where the hell the music industry really is right now. There are aspects of it that are great as far as self expression & control are concerned, but I really don’t see how anyone can make a living unless they tour nonstop & offer unique merchandise. Oh, or rape their fanbase with online panhandling. But I won’t get into that.
QRD – I know you’ve said if there were to be a live Lycia, it would be when Dirk is ready to front the band. What wisdom would you impart on him to make his relationship with music less frustrating than your own?
Tara – Hell, I don’t know. Do it solely for the love & never set your mind on it being your career? Play live nonstop. Never second-guess yourself. Do what YOU want & don’t back down for anyone. Be careful who you associate yourself with. Don’t give up any aspect of control. HAVE FUN. & don’t make shitty, disposable music.
QRD – Do you think it’s important to have a band member that is good at social networking to be a successful band today?
Tara – Yes. Or at least someone on your team somewhere who is.
QRD – You let your website expire, which I assume makes Facebook your main web presence. What do you think are the advantages & disadvantages to a social media site being your main web presence?
Tara – I never go to a band’s website. The first place I look is Facebook, YouTube, etc. I think it’s easier to find people on social media & it gives the band direct access in a quicker manner. It’s just “easier” in my opinion. & it’s free.
QRD – I read an interview where it was said Lycia really came into its own when it started influencing itself rather than being influenced by other bands. What do you mean by that & when did it happen?
Tara – Mike said that, & while I can’t speak directly for him, I’ve had enough conversations with him on this topic to give a little bit of insight. Basically, when he first started working with others in bands everyone wanted to sound like <insert band>. Once Mike decided he wanted to sound like what he was creating on his own, that’s when the Lycia sound formed & everything else faded away.
QRD – Will there be future solo releases & side projects moving forward or is everything from here on going to be part of Lycia?
Tara – I honestly have no idea. Mike has no desire to work on music at the moment. I’m not sure what David is up to. & I have no goal to work on music outside of a few side projects I’ve got on the burner & whatever I’m asked to do for Lycia going forward.
QRD – Anything else?
Tara – We want to say a heartfelt thank you to you for the years of friendship & support. We also want to thank EVERYONE who has supported us through the years. Our goal now is to have all our releases sell out so it’s not sitting on a shelf somewhere costing someone else money. So please visit Silber, Handmade Birds, Magic Bullet, Projekt, & HelloMerch. Also, go read my books. They’re cheap. Also, Justice League Forever.