'Patchwork Nation'

Marco Benevento ‘Between The Needles & Nightfall’ (The Royal Potato Family)

It’s a kind of unassuming weirdness that makes this a good listen. Perhaps Marco would do good to make a more hi-fi effort than a lo-fi one, but it’s the lo-fi qualities that make something cool and somewhat unique in this case.

 Tracks like the title track: ‘Between the needles & nightfall’,’Ila frost and ‘Music is still secret’ are timid little pieces that might be attractive to a more mature new age listener on one end (where he might be taken more seriously), yet on the other end tracks like ‘Two of You’, ‘Risd’, and ‘Wolf Trap’ push it too a more vicious edge that comes natural to a guy in his age (32).

That’s just to show you that I know what I’m hearing and what I’m talking about (knuckle shine),  but otherwise really doesn’t matter when it comes to constructing a very plushy densely packed world of whimsical joy.

(You can sample one of Marco’s tracks but check out the rest of the Royal Potato Family)

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fthe-royal-potato-family&show_comments=true&auto_play=false&show_playcount=true&show_artwork=true&color=3e6b9c Latest tracks by The Royal Potato Family

Tara Vanflower Of Lycia Talks About New EP And The Loss Of Peter Steele

Zoe: “Previous to this 6 song EP, Lycia contributed a track to a Silber Halloween compilation which, at the time was a long time coming since ‘Empty Spaces’, I’m assuming that is the last official release through Projekt?”

Tara: “We have no plans to release anything through Projekt.”

Zoe: “We can respect the fact that for personal reasons, Mike wanted to stop work on Lycia overall which paralleled the release of his solo album. Although I can’t imagine that the inspiration had dried up but generally when things like this happen, some bad feelings are generally associated with such a maneuver. Was that the case?”

Tara: “Mike stopped work on Lycia a very long time before he even thought about recording his solo release. In fact, we ended Lycia after the Empty Space sessions due to a variety of reasons but were strongly encouraged to use the Lycia name on Tripping Back into the Broken Days. (It was originally intended to be an Estraya release.) There were a multitude of reasons Mike halted work with Lycia none of which had anything to do with our personal interest in Lycia. There comes a point where you decide it’s better to focus your energies in a different direction especially when your hands are being tied.”

Zoe: “During the 90’s, I spent a lot of time listening to Lycia and these days, I associate your music with those days of darkness where the analog world was much darker and we didn’t have the global connection (technology) that is much more accessible and real now. To me, it’s almost like perhaps those days were powered by fuel and candles.”

Tara: “I think in a lot of ways having access to people immediately through email/social networking sites/cellphones has hurt and helped the music industry. It has helped because it has made everything more tangible. It’s great that you can keep in touch with people so easily and have any information you want at the touch of your fingertips. However, it has also caused problems for the exact same reason. There was something more “real” about having to hunt down your music, and I believe it made the live music world a lot more exciting larger than life. I think just like with every advance in technology there are positives and negatives. I do miss those days of handmade ‘zines and handwritten letters, but I believe the way things are now is more beneficial to the bands and the people who listen to their music.”

Zoe: “On Lycia’s MySpace blog, there was a post about the tracks ‘The Soil Is Dead’, and ‘MILK’ which were supposed to be part of the ‘Strange Star’ project. Is there any chance that Mike will complete this project?”

Tara: “I doubt it. That was an experiment we grew bored with fairly quickly. I think the couple of tracks we got from those sessions were great, but it wasn’t something that held our interest enough to pursue a full release.”

Zoe: “Do you and Mike have a method or technique where you immerse yourself in some sort of meditation before you start writing?”

Tara: “No. We just work it out by immersing ourselves in the music itself. However, there are things that we’re interested in that definitely inspire recording.”

Zoe: “Is this EP preparation for a full length?”

Tara: “No. We don’t make long-term plans anymore.”

Zoe: “Will there be a tour?”

Tara: “Absolutely not, nor will there be any shows. We are not at a place in our lives that is conducive to such major undertakings.”

Zoe: “We see many major changes in the industry with the weakening of major labels and strength behind digital releases such as this one, putting the power back in the artists hands. Is there any reason to think that this would help to bring down barriers that may or may not be the reason why we haven’t seen many Lycia releases for so many years?”

Tara: “I don’t believe people need record labels anymore besides maybe just having more money behind them for touring and advertisement. But if you’re not getting any financial backing from your record label and you can make 100% of the profit from your recordings instead of giving the label the vast majority of the money earned and control over marketing etc, then why not just self release?  Even if the distribution is “less”, with everyone being equal in the land of the internet anyone can be successful if they know how to push their music to the right places.”

Zoe: “From your point of view, having front row on this transitional period from music label to indie release, what are the advantages of going indie?”

Tara: “Well, if you’re controlling every aspect of your career then you never have to make any compromises or have to worry about being misrepresented by anyone.”

Zoe: “Disadvantages?”

Tara: “To me any disadvantage is far less than the gain from the advantages, but one disadvantage is having to do all the publicity for your own music. I find it difficult to muster the energy to “sell myself” when I would rather take that same amount of time to actually create something. So in that way having a label was good. They could do all the promotion while you just have to worry about creating music.”

Zoe: “Do you ever blast your own music when you’re at a stop light in your stained-glass black hearse, maybe on your way to the liquor store or something?”

Tara: “Absolutely not! The only time we listen to our own music is once we’re finished recording to check for technical errors that need to be fixed in mixing. But once a release is out we move on to the next project.  And for the record, we don’t drive around in a hearse or go to the liquor store. Maybe drive to the gym in our bright yellow car… Ha ha ha.”

Zoe: “The EP is SOLID, and with it a sense that Lycia is coming back with a vengeance.  What does 2010 hold for Lycia and other projects?”

Tara: “Well, I know that you’ve only heard one Fifth Sun track, but thank you for the comment. Mike chose to work on these songs because he missed creating music and he will begin again when the mood strikes. As for plans, we don’t have anything concrete. We don’t really make official plans anymore because that way we retain the right to change our plans without disappointing anyone, including ourselves.”

Zoe: “These tracks are available as free downloads from ReverbNation, with the exception of the title track.  Are there any concerns about losing sales on the new EP or are there other priorities?”

Tara: “There is only one track from Fifth Sun on ReverbNation and that is the title track. The other songs are not from Fifth Sun. We don’t concern ourselves with sales much anymore. We make music for the love of making music. If we make some money from it, that’s cool, but it’s not our goal. That having been said, we still don’t think it’s right for people to upload our music to illegal downloading sites. We give a lot of music away for free already, there’s no need to steal from us.”

Zoe: “To the unexpected death of Peter Steele, Please accept my condolences. Your vocal contribution to ‘Dead Again’ was one of the album highlights for me. I remember seeing Type-O some years back and a 40 ounce beer looked like a single beer in his hands.”

Tara: “Peter did so many nice things for us simply because he was a good person and not because there was anything to be gained. It’s so rare to meet people like him in the music business. He was kind, generous, humble and one of the best humans I have ever known. When I first met him he seemed larger than life in every way. He was a superhero to me then and always will be. I’ve never met a bigger human being! Even though I didn’t speak to him very often it’s hard to imagine a world without him and his music. Josh, Johnny, and Kenny are such wonderful people and I feel so sorry for their loss. It feels like an era has definitely ended and nothing can ever replace that magic.”

Zoe: “Are you working on any pin-ups for all the Tara admirers out there?”

Tara: “Ha ha ha. Um, no!”

Zoe: “Stay Beautiful Tara.”

Tara: “You’re a doll. Thank you for wanting to talk to me. 🙂