Chinwag with Ego Likeness

Dj Rex catches up with Steven Archer and Donna Lynch aka Ego Likeness

Dj Rex; – Tell me about the journey you took to become Ego Likeness

Steven Archer; – Well, that is a long and twisting tale. Donna has been involved with music since she was a kid, and I have been in bands for about 20 years. When we first got together we were in a pretty standard goth rock band called “Seraphim Gate,” which lasted a few years, and fell apart. Ego was taking matters into our own hands, an attempt to write the kind of music that we wanted to hear.
The first demo “Songs from a Dead City” was an attempt to fuse Massive Attack style triphop and Skinny Puppyish Industrial. “Dragonfly” was taking those elements and adding more song structure to them. “Water” built on that, but added a more rock, live band element, and added a less personal narrative. “The Order of the Reptile” took everything we had learned, and wrapped it in a conceptual bubble. “Breedless” the upcoming album is, I think the best thing we have ever done. It goes all over the place stylistically, but hopefully holds the core thread of who we are and what we are about.
Dj Rex; – Ego Likeness is an interesting name, does it have any kind of meaning, or was it just random??
Steven Archer; – It’s from the book Dune, by Frank Herbert. It’s basically a portrait that reflects not the subject’s image, but their essence.

Dj Rex; – How do you find being husband and wife in a band??
Steven Archer; – We get to travel the world and make music for a living, its awesome! Naturally there were some…growing pains that come with living in a van for months at a time, or learning to be creative together. But for the most part all of the edges are worn off, and we just have a great deal of fun.

Dj Rex; – What’s the story about how you both met?
Steven Archer; – I was a DJ at ye olde local goth club, and Donna was the hot chick at ye olde punk rock shoppe, from a predictable scene point of view, it was pretty much enivitable.
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Dj Rex; – I remember djing with you in Baltimore, that was a fun nite are you still djing??
Steven Archer; – I am, though not as much as I used to. I pick up gigs every once in a while. We are very busy with the band, art, writing and such, so we don’t get out much. Which is a fine trade-off.

Dj Rex; – I’m sure that nite you said something about writing books for children books?? Can you give us some info on that??
Steven Archer; – I wrote (and illustrated) a children’s book called “Luna Maris” which is a sweet little story about the moon deciding to turn into a boat to visit and learn about the ocean. I recently had another illustrated book published by Raw Dog Screaming Press, called “Red King Black Rook,” which is not at all for children; a fable in which everyone dies, or has sex with animals.
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Dj Rex; – What music are you listening to right now? Apart from your own?
Steven Archer; – We love Angelspit, IAMX, the recent Peter Gabriel album is seeing a lot of rotation, the first She Wants Revenge album…what else…. It’s so hard to say, because those are always mixed with the old standbys like Skinny Puppy, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Big Black, Sisters, Curve, The Swans, Leonard Cohen, Ministry, etc.

Dj Rex; – What genre of music do you consider your work to be and who would you say are your major influences?
Steven Archer; – I always call it post-goth, though Darkwave is also nice. Major influences… well, see above. We try to take everything we like and throw it all together. We are old, and remember a time when albums had more than one song on them, so we *hopefully* maintain that idea with our own work.

Dj Rex; – What is your all time favourite Ego Likeness song?
Steven Archer; – We love all of our children, so it is hard to say. I have soft spots for a few though, “The Map is not the Territory,” from “Dragonfly”, “Traveling Son,” and “Above the Soil” from “Water,” “Save Your Serpent,” and “Raise your Red Flags,” from “Order.” Mostly because they represent something specific to me, and because apart from “Serpent” we don’t play them very often, if at all, so I am less familiar with them, as it were.

Dj Rex; – Ok, confession time – what’s the most embarrassing single or album you own?
Steven Archer; – I am not embarrassed by it, but I do own a copy (on vinyl no less) of Neil Diamond’s “Johnathon Livingston Seagull” soundtrack. Also, Donna owns an autographed copy of Don Ho’s ‘Tiny Bubbles’ on vinyl. She’s not really embarrassed by this, either. It’s sort of a point of pride for her.

Dj Rex; – What and where would your dream gig be??
Steven Archer; – I would really like to tour with Skinny Puppy. Though recently we opened for Peter Murphy, and that would be another tour I would like to be on. I know Donna would love to tour with IAMX.

Dj Rex; – Do you guys have a special venue on the globe where you always love to (want to) play on tours, a place which feels like home?
Steven Archer; – – It was Nation in DC, but it’s been torn down. Now… we sure love K17 in Berlin, Club Rayne in Tallahasse, Atomix in San Antonio, Elysium in Austin, The Tulsa Eagle, The Outback in Charlottesville VA, Corporation in Sheffield UK, Jaxx in Springfield VA. I am sure there are others I am missing.
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Dj Rex; – Is there any highlight gigs you’d like to tell us about?
Steven Archer; – Opening for Peter Murphy was amazing, as well as opening for The Damned and New Model Army. We have also been fortunate to tour with some of our favorite bands- Crüxshadows, Voltaire, Ayria, Angelspit, Combichrist, Bella Morte- all of those tours were just amazing amounts of fun. Also, playing Dragon*Con is always a blast.

Dj Rex; – Do you have any upcoming shows?
Steven Archer – We will be touring with Bella Morte in the fall, mostly mid-west and west coast.

Dj Rex; – What’s the one thing that is your favorite memory from being in the band?
Steven Archer; – Driving through the desert with wife. Hanging out below the Neuschwanstein falls with The Cruxshadows on our first tour. Running headlong into the ocean right after a gig with Combichrist. Playing at Dragon*Con and looking out and seeing 3 sets of glowing eyes from gigantic Spawn costumes. Opening for New Model Army, and Justin taking the time to watch a good chunk of our set.

Dj Rex; – Best and worst on stage moment??
Steven Archer; – Tons of bad memories, best left where they are. Most of the time though shows are great, and even the things that might make them bad, can be fun. Riffing for 15 minutes while someone fixes the PA, or having your backing tracks die while headlining in New York. As long as you know how to handle yourself, those moments can be a great deal of fun.

Dj Rex; – Do you prefer intimate gigs or large scale events?
Steven Archer; – Not to sound too cliche, but as long as the crowd is into it, size is not an issue. Honestly, we have fun no matter what.

Dj Rex; – Do you have a record label?
Steven Archer; – We recently signed with Metropolis!

Dj Rex; -What can you tell the readers about your instruments? (i.e., are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you play now?
Steven Archer; – I play a Gibson Les Paul, and my back up is a Gibson SG. I like them because they have thick necks and are massive solid blocks of wood that can take a beating. I use Line 6 Guitar Processors, because I like ’em and they are practical. We use Mark of the Unicorn sound cards because they are the best. I run our tracks off of a Gateway Pentium 4 laptop that is a work horse. As far as software goes, we use Ableton Live on stage, Cubase and Reason in the studio. We also have a well loved Juno Alpha 1, and a few other keyboards floating around that get used from time to time.
Donna plays a Kurzwiel SP 88X stage piano, which is stupid heavy, but very very sturdy.

Dj Rex; – What advice would the Steven Archer and Donna Lynch of now give the Steven Archer and Donna Lynch who started Ego Likeness??
Steven Archer; – “You already know most of what you need to know. Make mistakes and learn from them. Also, nine people is a bit much for a live band…make it work with two.”

Dj Rex; – Which songs do you perform most frequently?
Steven Archer; – Probably “Water to the Dead,” we have done it at almost every show since the album came out.

Dj Rex; – Do you ever play any covers and if you do, what made you choose that particular track to cover?
Steven Archer; – Years ago we did a cover of “Stand Back,” by Stevie Nicks, when we had a more involved live band. On the last album, we did a cover of “Afterhours,” by The Sisters of Mercy. We also used to do a cover of “Faded Flowers,” by Shriekback. Why? Because we love the songs.

Dj Rex; – Who writes your songs?
Steven Archer; – Both of us. I write the majority of the music, Donna writes the majority of the vocals, and we switch back and forth when it makes sense.

Dj Rex; -What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Steven Archer; – Free will, evolution, accepting yourself and your beliefs, and personal responsibility.

Dj Rex; -Do you think these topics will change over time?
Steven Archer; – I think we will add to those topics, but those pretty much sum up our belief system.

Dj Rex; – Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Steven Archer; – I write a ton of demos, and we sift through them till we find the ones that are really good.

Dj Rex; -What are your rehearsals generally like?
Steven Archer; – These days we rehearse a few times before tour, and that is about it. We have been doing it for long enough, that rehearsals are really just relearning songs that we wrote and then promptly forgot.

Dj Rex; – How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Steven Archer; – We are better song writers, we have learned to write catchier, hookier songs. Our production has improved, and we have attempted to simplify the songs for the sake of clarity.

Dj Rex; – What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Steven Archer; – Making enough money to keep doing it.

Dj Rex; – What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking massive fame and fortune?
Steven Archer; – Sure, we would love fame and fortune, but we would also be happy with longevity. If we can play 200 person rooms for the next 20 years, we will be happy.

Dj Rex; – What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Steven Archer; – Write all the music yourself, then find people to play it. Also commit to your art. Quit your job, and become the vehicle for the art, not your own comfort.

Dj Rex; – How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs?
Steven Archer; – Sure http://www.egolikeness.com you can also find us on myspace and facebook.

Dj Rex; – Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for giving you support over the years??
Steven Archer; – Voltaire, The Cruxshadows, Patrick from Dancing Ferret, Athan Maroulis- our booking agent.

Dj Rex; – Ok, some silly questions –
On line or real shops??
Steven Archer; – Yes.

Dj Rex; – What is your biggest weakness?”
Steven Archer; – Apathy

Dj Rex; – What are your biggest strengths?”
Steven Archer; – We have a ridiculous work ethic.

Dj Rex; – What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Steven Archer; – Cheese

Dj Rex; – Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Steven Archer; – In stores.

Dj Rex; – Have you ever gone cow-tipping?
Steven Archer; – No, but Donna does have an unnatural affinity for goats.

Dj Rex; – What should your catchphrase/life’s motto be?
Steven Archer; – Shut up and make something.

Dj Rex; – What do you dream about?
Steven Archer; – I dream of cement structures, filled with dark green, black water. So does Donna.

Dj Rex; – Have you ever gambled at a casino?
Donna Lynch; – Yes! Reno, Vegas, Atlantic City, The Flamingo in New Orleans. I love a seedy casino!

Dj Rex; – Favorite tv show
Steven Archer; – Sure do like House, enjoyed the recent re imagined Battlestar Galactia, as well as Firefly. We also love Lost. Other than a few specific shows, if the TV is on, I am probably not watching it.

Dj Rex; – Strangest thing a fan has ever said to you
Steven Archer; – Oh…lets not go there.

Dj Rex; – What scares you the most
Steven Archer; – Running out of time.

Dj Rex; – What do you do in your free time?
Steven Archer; – Reading and video games.

Dj Rex; – Do you like chocolate?
Steven Archer; – Who doesn’t?

Dj Rex; – Do you scream on roller coasters?
Steven Archer; – I don’t. Donna does.

Dj Rex; – What’s your favorite season?
Steven Archer; – Fall.

Dj Rex; – What makes you bored?
Steven Archer; – Boring people inflicting themselves on me. I can usually entertain myself otherwise.

Dj Rex; – If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Steven Archer; – Australia, the Arctic Circle, Japan, Russia, Lake Vostock, and many other places too numerous to name.

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