(This interview was originally published in 2018)
Hey guys so we gave you a mini band interview earlier this year for Darkside of the con II, but now we are back to interview you for Darkside of the con III in March 2019! Are you excited for this?
Donna Lynch: Yes, very excited, especially after last year's experience. We were really happy with the show and the audience. Jet and everyone involved with VF and the con did a great job, all around. And I'm also really excited about that castle of a hotel!
So you guys formed in 1999, almost 20 years ago! Do you have any plans for your 20th anniversary?
DL: We've jumped ahead a bit and Metropolis Records just did a re-release of our very first demo from 1999, Songs From a Dead City.
We included several tracks that had never seen the light of day—some of the first songs we ever wrote. It's all pretty different from what we write now, but you can hear the beginnings of the sound it took us years to cultivate.
Will you guys be touring anytime soon?
DL: We've got a US Tour happening from the end of October until the end of November. We'll have dates announced soon.
Has your audience changed at all from 99'-today?
DL: Well, there's more of one. ;)
What are your top three favorite venues/places to play?
DL: It's so hard to answer this without slighting the other 25+ venues and promoters we regularly work with. What I will say is that there are many venues that we feel at home in, and the people there feel like family, and if they're reading this, they know who they are.
Do you have any advice for bands forming? For being around this long, I noticed a lot of your fans had the same question. A question I don't always ask but I had to being that 6 people literally asked the same thing!
DL: What a loaded question. There are so many aspects to cover, it would take pages. We aren't the biggest band in the scene, so if that's what you're shooting for, there are better people to ask, however...if you want to know how to work consistently and maintain a career in the arts, we are better equipped to talk about that.
You have to get good at your craft. You have to find a way to make your craft stand out. And you have to always remember that no one will ever care about it as much as you do.
There are some really vital skills you have to learn:
No one owes you anything. Not a big show, not fans, not money. You have to earn it. And that can take a long time.
You have to learn to accept criticism. Some people will hate you no matter how good you are. Many, many others won't even care that you exist. Some people will love you and you have to remember that without them, you have no career. You'll always have your art no matter who's listening, but without someone paying into and supporting it, it's not a career. So when people who might know better than you offer you constructive critiques, listen to them. They're trying to help you be better. And you owe that to yourself and to the people who support you.
Don't act like a rock star. You probably aren't. And if you *are*, why are you asking us how to do this? Be professional and personable to the people you work with. If you do that, it won't always matter if you don't sell out a club. If the promoters and owners like you and think you're good, they'll bring you back again and again within reason. Of course, the goal is to fill the venues, but staying humble and kind and making those personal connections goes a long way.
Learn how to travel efficiently and uncomfortably. Because unless you can afford a tour bus or RV and crew, that's how you're going to have to do it.
Also, don't waste your money on a tour bus or RV and crew.
There are so many other things to know, but you'll have to buy my probably never-to-be-written book about the art of touring called "For the Love of God Are You Insane Don't Be an Artist" to learn the rest.
Oh, one last thing: don't call your band something that is hard to Google. Go with something that will pop up on the first page.
What is your album "Dragonfly" inspired by?
DL: That was one of the more personal albums we did, but a lot of it was an exercise in finding a more cohesive sound than what we'd started with—basically getting away from the myriad styles you hear on Dead City and tightening up. At the time, lyrically, it was my way of dealing with loss and trying to seek out ways to heal. But looking back now, the losses we've both sustained since then make those songs feel completely different to me. Especially when compared to the songs on When the Wolves Return. But that is all a matter of time, age, and perspective.
What was it like touring Germany and the U.S with The Crüxshadows in 2005? Tell us about the experience you had on tour.
DL: That was our first tour ever, and was definitely a trial by fire. CXS were amazing to us, and the lessons we learned about touring and performing from them were some of the most valuable we'd ever get. Steven and I knew that we would either come back eager for more, or quickly learn that it wasn't the life for us. Obviously, it was the former, and much of that had to do with their guidance and support. Germany was also very good to us considering we were completely unknown.
As far as touring goes, can you tell us if you have learned anything through the years by touring? Like places to eat, saving money, what to bring, how to keep your equipment safe, hidden gems?
DL: Bring enough underwear and socks that if you don't get to do laundry for 5 weeks, you'll be okay. And always stash water and snacks in the van in case you get stuck in mountains or the desert.
Seriously though, that is another book's worth of information. I feel like I've advised a lot of new bands over the years, and none of them perished in the wilderness yet, so I guess I did okay.
What is the music writing and lyric writing process like?
DL: For me, frustrating and upsetting, mostly. Not so much with the lyrics because I also write poetry and fiction, but I hate the entire songwriting process and if I could afford someone to write all the songs for me, I probably would. That job falls squarely on Steven's shoulders and I do not envy him having me as a writing partner.</i>
Do you guys ever get random ideas and then try them out? If so, can you share with us some of the songs that were at one point a random idea, that became music?
DL: When we've had random ideas, it generally becomes a whole different project. The Trinity Project (1998-2003 or so) was a way for us to do experimental and spoken word pieces. And Steven's projects Stoneburner and Hopeful Machines (as well as some other fledgling projects) come from various ideas that don't mesh with Ego Likeness.
Anything you would like to leave us with?
DL: Just our thanks for all the love and support!
When are you guys coming to spain! We love you here!
DL: We would LOVE to come to Spain. It's all a matter of finances and a demand for us! I want to play anywhere there are fans...especially in places as lovely as Spain. ;)
What is "smothered' about on your order of the reptile album?
DL: It's about the alleged darker side of Lewis Carroll and his relationship to Alice Liddell. "I'm Not Mary Ann" is also about that. Though "Smothered" was meant to have a nightmarish atmosphere, where as "Mary Ann" is more melancholy.
What music genre do you identify Ego Likeness with?
DL: That's a really good question that I still don't have an answer to, nineteen years later. We really straddle a few different genres, and I'm not sure I'd know how to change that. There's no one type of music I want to sound exactly like, for as difficult as that makes things sometimes.