With Angela Creel-Erb
Lycia has long been producing music that transcends the terrestrial andscape. The music is vast, expansive, and larger than life itself. Lycia's sound picks you up, carries you along for a beautiful, emotional ride, then gently brings you back to earth. Their new tracks follow this same path of exaltation and release, although the sound has evolved into a more simple stripped-down form. Lycia, as always, reaches into the darkest area of our soul and yet inevitably shows us hope. Lycia is a bright light, illuminating the darkness of the music world.
Tara VanFlower of Lycia spoke with me recently about their new release.
You've got a very dedicated fan base that extends even internationally. You've been voted Projekt's #1 band, are #1 in sales right now for "tripping back into broken days" and were voted on of the top 100 bands of Phoenix to name a few instances in which you've been highly praised. What do you think your listeners take from your music? How do you feel about that and what would you like them to connect to in your music?
TV: I think people just feel the honesty in the music. Mike and I have never tried to be anything other than who and what we are, and I think most people can see that in our music and the way we present ourselves. I don't know that there's anything specific I want people to take from our music....I just want people to take it for what it is and maybe somehow get something out of it that they can relate to. Really, our music means different things to every person who hears it.You've stripped down your musical style a bit on the last two
releases, "The Time Has Come and Gone" and "tripping back into broken days." What prompted Lycia to go in that direction and what kind of response have you had?
TV: I'm not sure what exactly caused it. It wasn't like we said "hey, let's strip everything back". Mike wanted to write the way he did when he first started...on his guitar. The more we continue, the more alienated we've gotten by all the technology and studio gadgets. We just wanted the album to be simple, raw and heartfelt.
A fair share of your music seems to draw some inspiration from your natural surroundings. Do you see "tripping back into broken days" as being influenced by nature or rather more personal experiences?
TV: Absolutely both. Something Mike has always done well is absorb his surroundings and somehow capture them musically. There was a lot of thought put into the songs on Tripping... everything was natural... but every note and every word has a very specific meaning to us and for us. It's no secret we've gone through a lot of difficult things in the last few years, so it's only natural these things would come through in the music.
Is making music something that you and Mike "have" to do, as in something that needs to be expressed/released? Is it something that you've always known you'd be involved in?
TV: I think it's so engrained in Mike to write music he will always have to do it in one way or another. He's been writing songs for over twenty years now and I don't see him ever being completely away from music. I never knew what I wanted to do. Nothing ever really sparked much interest for me until I discovered music. I know that there will always be a desire to create - but I'm not sure exactly what will happen in the future. I mean, at this point in my life, doing simple, easy things is very appealing...and music has never really been easy for either of us.
I know is previous interviews you've spoken about being "blamed", albeit unjustly in my opinion, for changing Lycia's sound. Now, having eight albums released with you as a part of the band, do you feel you are more accepted?
TV: I'm sure there is and always will be a contingent of people who really dislike the fact that I came into the band. That's fine. Jarboe went through the same thing when M. Gira asked her to join Swans. Most of the time people are very positive though...and the positive comments far outweigh the negative ones. People are entitled to their opinions.....I've got thick skin.....I can handle it.
What is your most memorable musical experience as a member of Lycia? Most memorable musical experience, not as a band member, but as a listener?
TV: I think one of my most memorable music memories was our last show in NYC. It was so strange standing on stage knowing it was all over......and the crowd was so perfect that night...everything was perfect. The very first time I heard Ionia.....and the very first time I met Mike face to face are my favourite memories as a listener. (And maybe the first time I heard my voice on a Lycia song)
Lycia brings up many different feelings in people. My favorite time to listen to Lycia is when I am driving across the desert- most of your releases provide a perfect soundtrack to the landscape. What is your favorite music to listen to when driving across this stark landscape?
TV: Swans - The Burning World. Not only is it perfect....but it brings back great memories. I think pretty much any ambient record will do nicely.....and some Yellowman if I'm tired of being serious. (and I have to say there are some pretty funny tapes BJM made on the Cold Tour that were good listening as well!)
Finally, is there anything you'd like your listeners to know about you or Lycia that hasn't been said?
TV: Mike and I are conservative. We love baseball. (I'm a somewhat obsessed Diamondbacks fan) I like bluegrass music. Mike likes to study maps. I once twirled baton to Styx's Mr. Roboto in music class. Is that enough?Posted by Alex Zander at November 1, 2003 12:00 AM