May 2019 14

With the band appearing on this year’s Gothic Cruise and Mechanismus, Donna Lynch invites us into the creative world that is Ego Likeness.
 

 

An InterView with Donna Lynch of Ego Likeness

By Dawn Wood (DWoodkillMW)

One of the mainstays of the darkwave scene, Ego Likeness has maintained a steady flow of quality output for 20 years. Industrial, goth, rock, synthpop, and all points in between coalesce in the band’s sound, topped off by emotive vocals and atmospheric lyricism that showcases the band’s strong songwriting sensibilities – challenging, yet approachable. Besides that, Ego Likeness has cultivated a widespread audience with dynamic live shows, sharing the stage with many of the scene’s heaviest hitters and performing at such eminent festivals as Blacksun, Dracula’s Ball, Convergence, DragonCon, and the Gothic Cruise. Releasing the Songs From a Dead City collection of the band’s earliest recordings in August 2018, the duo of Steven Archer and Donna Lynch – along with live members Mike K. Johnson and “Mindcage” Rick – is continuing to wow audiences with upcoming appearances at this year’s Gothic Cruise and Mechanismus in Seattle. Speaking with Dawn Wood, Donna Lynch invites us into the band’s creative headspace, touching on the history of Ego Likeness, and dropping a few hints about what is yet to come.

 

What got you into the music industry? Who would you say gave you the support to keep writing/performing music?

Lynch: I’ve been singing and playing the piano and writing since before I can remember. My parents are both musical and have always supported me in reaching certain goals. No one ever said, ‘You need a fallback plan, because you might not be able to do this.’ It was always, ‘You can do this.’ As an adult, however, I might never have stuck my neck out there writing and performing originals if it wasn’t for Steven Archer (the other half of Ego Likeness and my partner). He pushed so hard for us to do this, even when I was convinced I couldn’t.

When did you get signed with Metropolis Records and how has that experience been?

Lynch: We signed with Metropolis in 2010 and have no complaints. Many artists are going independent these days, which I can understand, but we get enough benefit from the label to keep us happy where we are with them.

Ego Likeness has played the Gothic Cruise for a few years now. How did you get involved with this annual floating gothic adventure?

Lynch: The best advice I can ever give to artists is to learn how to network. I don’t just mean going up to promoters and handing out demos or cards, but being present at events, talking to people (not just about business), and making connections. You never know who you will encounter and forge a working relationship with, and in many cases, a real friendship. You might get an ‘in’ with large or specialty events by knowing other bands, which helps, but nothing beats getting to spend some time one-on-one with someone you want to work with.

How often does Ego Likeness tour? Where is your favorite city to perform?

Lynch: We usually tour once a year with Ego Likeness and sometimes once a year with Stoneburner (Steven’s tribal/industrial project). I don’t have one favorite city, and at the risk of slighting one place for another, I’ll just say that you can usually tell my favorite towns and venues by the amount of time I spend hanging out and partying after the show. If I’m not in a rush to leave, there’s a reason.

What inspired you to remake PJ Harvey’s ‘Down By the Water?’

Lynch: It was supposed to be for a tribute album to PJ, but I don’t think it ever manifested. She’s one of my favorite artists of all time, and it seemed a shame not to release the track. So, we put it on an EP.

Given the opportunity, who would you like to collaborate with?

Lynch: My wish list is Chris Corner, JG Thirlwell, Jaz Coleman, and Raymond Watts, but I fear I may never quite make it under their radar, although Ego Likeness did get a remix onto the PIG’s That’s the Way (I Like It) EP.

 

 

If Ego Likeness could put together a music festival, what would that look like?

Lynch: (Laughter) Not in a million years! Honestly, I don’’t even know how to answer that, since I’d have to be totally out of my mind to entertain the thought.

You and Steven are also accomplished authors. Tell us about that and some of your books.

Lynch: Steven has done some beautiful illustrated books – a children’s book, Luna Maris; a novella, Red King Black Rook; several illustrated poetry collaborations with me; and he will be releasing an illustrated version of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death next year.
I have written two horror novels, Isabel Burning and Red Horses; a novella called Driving Through the Desert; several poetry collections including Daughters of Lilith and Witches, and numerous short stories. We’ve had a wonderful experience along the way working with our publishers and editors at Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Do you and Steven do the day job thing and if so, how do you balance that with music and touring?

Lynch: No, the art, music, and writing are the day jobs now. And it only took a mere 20 years!

Who inspires you?

Lynch: Literally more than I could ever list here. It occurred to me at some point that if you’re going to be a prolific and well-rounded artist, you should probably have a hard time listing the things that inspire you, because it would be impossible to name them all.

You’re on the lineup for this year’s Mechanismus – would you tell us about how you came to be part of this year’s festival? What other acts on the lineup are you most excited to see and hear?

Lynch: We’re so excited about Mechanismus. Ali has been a wonderful promoter, friend, and supporter of us over the years, and we’re really happy to be included. Personally, I’m looking forward to Hate Dept, FGFC820, Caustic, Iris, Adoration Destroyed, Kounter Mehzure, Standalone, and Klutæ.

 
Full lineup of bands announced for 2019 Mechanismus Festival
 

What else do you have lined up for 2019 and beyond that you’d like to tell us about?

Lynch: I have a new poetry collection coming out in July called Choking Back the Devil (RDSP). We just got back from the Bram Stoker Awards, where we were nominated for Superior Achievement in Poetry. We didn’t win this year, but fingers crossed for a nomination next year.
In September, we have the Gothic Cruise with Das Ich, Grendel, FGFC820, and The Rain Within, which is going to be amazing.
Ego Likeness won’t be touring this year, but keep an eye out for Stoneburner in October/November.

The last release in 2018 was a collection of older demos and early recordings – Songs From a Dead City. What was it like to revisit these old tracks? In what ways did you listen to them – or even the music you’ve made since – in a different way?

Lynch: Oh, I’m really terrible about revisiting old material. I’m not sure I even listened to it; rather took Steven’s word for it (and I trusted the mastering). I’m proud of what we did then, with so little knowledge or resources, but emotionally, I’m so far away from it, I couldn’t really go back. I’m glad it made its way back to the surface, though.

 

 

How about a new album?

Lynch: After some false starts, we’ll be working on a new Ego Likeness album this year, in lieu of touring. I want to bring new music to the stage. It’s time.

 

Ego Likeness
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Metropolis Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Mechanismus
Website, Facebook, Twitter

 

Photography by Tabetha Patton (MizTabby)

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