Lycia (band)

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OriginTempe, Arizona, United States
GenresDark wave, ethereal wave
Years active1988–present
LabelsLycium Music, Silber Records, Projekt Records
MembersMike VanPortfleet
David Galas
Tara Vanflower
Past membersJohn Fair
Will Welch

Lycia is an American dark wave band formed in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona. The main personnel of the band are Mike VanPortfleet, Tara Vanflower and David Galas. Although only achieving minor cult success, the band is notable for being one of the ground breaking groups in darkwave and ethereal wave styles. Their 1995 album The Burning Circle and Then Dust received some attention for the power pop hit song "Pray," and the album "remains a high point of American dark rock," according to Allmusic.[1] Lycia's music is characterized by rich soundscapes and layers of echoed guitars, dark and ethereal keyboards, doomy drum machine beats, VanPortfleet's melancholic, whispered vocals and Vanflower's vivid voice. Trent Reznor and Peter Steele are some of their more well-known fans.[2]


After Mike VanPortfleet started Lycia in 1988 as a solo project, in the summer of that year he met Will Welch who joined for the project. In November, Welch was replaced by John Fair. In March 1989, Lycia's first recording, Wake, a 6-song demo tape, is released on Orphanage Records. The sound is characterized at the time by dominating rock guitars and rhythm patterns of drum computer.[3] Wake was unique in that it was mastered directly onto an audio cassette tape as opposed to the more professional multitrack recording that Lycia would henceforth use.

John Fair left Lycia in 1990, and Will Welch returned. The sound of Lycia increasingly evolved into a heavy-noise or harsh industrial direction. At the end of that year, Lycia began work on the first full-length album entitled "Byzantine", but due to technical problems it never appeared. Mike VanPortfleet decided to gather the individual fragments of the album for a second start-up process. The final outcome was in September 1991 under the title Ionia on the label Projekt Records, and is characterized by ambient textures and very flat and atmospheric sounds.[4]

Meanwhile, production on the next album, A Day in the Stark Corner was already in full swing. This was published in June 1993 and follows technically seamlessly as the successor to Ionia.[5] A short California tour followed. Soon it turned the occupation and the sound again. The line-up was extended by David Galas. Under the project name Bleak, they began work on the album Vane, but in a much more rough direction. In return, in the main project Lycia, new tracks were prepared, increasingly emphasizing on acoustic guitars. The line-up was reinforced by the singer Tara VanFlower, and this material was released in 1995 as a double CD under the name The Burning Circle and Then Dust. The album introduced the power pop hit "Pray." Following the release, Lycia played concerts opening for Type O Negative.[6]

It was followed by Cold in 1996, representing the group's bleakest sounds yet, another landmark in the darkwave genre.[7] 1998's Estrella saw a more experimental output with otherworldly sounds.[8] In 1999 they started their own label called Lycium Music. Under the title "Estraya" was released an EP titled The Time Has Come and Gone with songs based on ambient soundscapes and acoustic guitars. With the same sound approach, but under the name of the main project Lycia, in 2002 they released the album Tripping Back Into The Broken Days.[9] The same year some songs from Cold were licensed for the film titled Lana's Rain.[10] In January 2001 the band's former label, Projekt Records, released Compilation Appearances Vol. 1 and Compilation Appearances Vol. 2" in July 2001, without Lycia's involvement, featuring songs recorded in Arizona during the early 1990s. [11]

In October 2003, two months later, Lycia quit their label Projekt Records, and their last album titled Empty Space was released on Silber Records. VanPortfleet released his first solo work in 2004, an ambient album entitled Beyond The Horizon Line. Tara Vanflower (now married to Mike VanPortfleet) and David Galas have also since recorded their own solo releases. Vanflower recorded This Womb Like Liquid Honey, My Little Fire-Filled Heart, and has performed two solo live shows, including the Cornerstone Festival in Illinois. David Galas released "The Cataclysm" in 2006, "The Happiest Days Of My Life" in 2009 and "The Ghosts Of California" in 2011. After several years of inactivity, Lycia announced on their Facebook and MySpace pages a digital-only release titled Fifth Sun, released on June 22, 2010.

On December 5th, 2012, Lycia announced a new release, Quiet Moments, through their Facebook page.[12] It was released on August 20, 2013.

On October 26th, 2014, Lycia announced that David Galas had rejoined the band and that they were recording a new album titled, A Line That Connects, scheduled to be released in August 2015.[13]

On November 9th, 2018, Lycia released their full length LP In Flickers on Projekt Records. It is available at the Projekt Records site.



  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia - The Burning Circle and then Dust". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  2. ^ Baddeley, Gavin. Goth Chic: A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Aesthetics.
  3. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  4. ^ Lycia interview (September 2002) for QRD
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia - A Day in the Stark Corner". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  6. ^ Lycia interview (May 1997) for QRD
  7. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia - Cold". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  8. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia - Estrella". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  9. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Lycia - Tripping Back into the Broken Days". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  10. ^ "Lana's Rain (2004)". IMDB. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  11. ^ Lycia interview (November 1994) for QRD
  12. ^ Post on the official Lycia Facebook page, December 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Post on the official Lycia Facebook page". October 26, 2014.

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