She is the ambient angel who’s voice has seduced us all with her darkwave days as a member of Lycia, her hypnotizing solo material, and even lending her voice to the drab four themselves, Type O Negative.
Her name is well known throughout the landscapes of dark music, and yet it seems that we have never gotten a good look into the mind of this captivating siren. In the hopes of delving deeper into the darkness, I sat down with Tara on the shores of her majestic castle overlooking the Baltic Sea.
Okay, so it was actually just a couple emails back and forth, but I prefer the castle motif. Without further adieu, so begins our spotlight on one of the most talented creative minds this world has to offer.
In October of 1994 Tara Vanflower began her journey with the darkwave outfit Lycia, where soon after she would marry fellow band member Mike VanPortfleet. Along with her work for Lycia, Tara also explored a more personal creative outlet by releasing her first solo album in 1999 titled This Womb Like Liquid Honey, followed by the 2005 release My Little Fire-Filled Heart.
Her talents proceeded to blossom throughout numerous side-projects and collaborations such as Black Happy Day with Timothy Renner, Secondary Nerve with Daniele Serra, Oneiroid Psychosis, Numina, The Unquiet Void, Falling You, and Methadrone. Given her extensive resume working with other artists, one of Tara’s most notable contributions happened in 2007 when she sang on the track Halloween In Heaven by Type O Negative.
Vanflower has an immense passion for all things creative, and never has that shown more recently than in her time spent writing. With several books under her belt, she has released Lives of Ilya, Violent Violet Part One & Two, and will continue the Violet Series with several installments in the future, along with numerous other series which have yet to be completed.
Beneath the Moon
13 Questions With Tara Vanflower
What was it that attracted you to the darker side of creativity, as opposed to say a career in pop or country music?
There’s no way I could pull off a career in either of those genres for one thing. LOL The other is I’m not interested in either. I do like country music, but not the slick modern version. I prefer the old stuff and bluegrass. I have a side project called Black Happy Day with Timothy Renner that touches on that a little. I don’t know why I’m drawn to darker, moodier forms of expression. I really don’t.
For lack of a better term, how has “goth” music changed since you started out?
“Goth” as I knew it is dead, or should be anyway. I think what people equate as goth is so varied it’s a disservice to all involved. I love moody music. I don’t really like campy clichéd crap. Unless it’s intentionally being that way for the sake of humor. And then it’s just mildly amusing.
Aside from music, do you partake in any other forms of artistic expression?
My primary form of expression these days is actually writing. I have a few books out. Generally speaking, my focus is mostly on writing these days.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Dream Land, the sideways realm, alternate dimensions… whatever you want to call it. The atmosphere. Love. Those people who come to me in dreams at night. Surroundings I’ve never seen before.
If there was a movie made about you, who would be best suited to portray you?
OMG, um wow. No fucking clue. I’d like to say someone awesome, but then that would be an inaccurate portrayal. Hmm, can Hodor play me?
What moments in your life would this movie focus on?
Probably my incredible baton twirling career from the mid 70s to early 80s.
Would this movie be released in theaters everywhere, straight to DVD, or only art-house hipster theaters that serve odd selections of coffee?
Probably on youtube and filmed/posted by David Slaya Smith. (shout out to DSS)
Are there any projects you have in the back of your head, or the front of your head for that matter, which you have been anxious to start working on?
YES! The new Lycia, which is the very early stages. This album will have David Galas, Mike, and myself. And a myriad of books that are in varying stages of completion. I need a doppelganger to work my day job so I can pull off all these projects!
You worked with a small group of up and coming musicians out of Brooklyn named Type 1 Positive, or something to that effect. How did this collaboration come about, and what was the experience like?
Quick answer: Josh asked me. LOL We were friends and he asked me to do some vocals on a track that never was released. So when they were recording the TON album he asked if I wanted to do vocals on Halloween In Heaven and of course I said yes. I recorded vocals in our studio and sent him the tracks via AIM. And that was that. I love those guys so it was awesome. I also got to sing the song live once with them and that was pretty incredible.
Is there anyone out there who you would love to collaborate with aside from Martian Manhunter?
Superman, definitely Superman. I don’t know. It’s so hard to get anything done creatively these days. I’m just looking forward to the next Lycia.
Do you see the future as a time of winding down for you, or an endless field of opportunity that has yet to be explored?
I don’t think I will ever be able to give up thinking I should be creating something. My life would be less tortured if I could.
Since everyone asks about the future of Lycia, I will ask something completely different. If we were in a time portal and drifted years ahead, what would Lycia be doing at that given moment in time?
Sitting on the couch watching The Justice League with Dirk VanPortfleet.
Everyone has their own unique path in life, but given the chance would you go back and alter that path in any way?
Yes. There were some decisions I made in life that were fucking awful.
Tara’s Top 5 Goth Tracks
This is gonna be hard!!!!!!!!!!! Keep in mind, I actually don’t think of any of the bands I will list as “goth”, and limiting myself to 5 is insane, but here goes.
Blood and Honey
Love Will Tear Us Apart
In closing, its important to remember what makes us all individuals in this world. If everyone followed the flock so to speak, we would be saturated with such bland lives that could never prosper beyond our own mediocrity. Its people like Tara Vanflower who show us the definition of the word creativity. She is fearless in her stance against normality, and continues to prove that when you express your true passion in life, your legacy will live on beyond your years. In Tara’s case her songs and her words will forever inspire people like myself and continue to do so long after we are gone.