Unlike their genre contemporaries, who they are consistently lumped in with, Lotus brings a more diverse and varied sound as evidenced in the new repertoire of music recently released on Build. The new album adds another layer of musings from the well-traveled and still burgeoning band.
[All Photos by Jeremy Gordon]
A live touring juggernaut, currently scheduled to be at a venue near you, complete with a stellar light show experience, a beat and melody that is unpredictable and a unique sound with a slow build-up, Lotus is jamtronica at its finest, a musical force known to pummel your senses and leave one gasping from air from the relentless euphoric grooves. It ultimately leads to a monumental crescendo that allows participants to bask in its afterglow.
Fresh off a successful turn at sold-out venues in New York City, Hidden Track caught up with guitarist and synthesizer player, Luke Miller.
Hidden Track: I have been enjoying the new album, Build. Can you share how it is different from the band’s previous studio albums?
Luke Miller: We try to record most of our albums live in the studio which does not necessarily mean that every instrument is played live simultaneously but we try to do the majority of it live yet some of the electronic elements are added afterwards. I think it is a little more focused, a little less eclectic than our last album. We recorded 2 1/2 albums worth of songs, so we chose songs with the same kinda up-tempo sound on this one.
HT: Can you describe the writing process? Who write which parts first? Is it a collaborative effort?
LM: Myself and Jesse write all the songs and we basically work separately until the song is about 85% finished and then shoot it over to the other for feedback and tweaking. We try to have a pretty polished demo to send out to the rest of the band before rehearsals so we can learn our parts before final adjustments during rehearsals and the live environment.
HT: As a ‘jamtronica’ act, and I’m sure the answer is different than it was 10 or so years ago, but what influences the band’s sound? What do you guys listen to?
LM: One that Jesse and I share is Siriusmo, a Berlin producer, who does really unique electronic funk bass stuff coming up with great sounds and Four Tet is good too. I’ve been listening to a lot of disco stuff.
HT: Do you prefer playing guitar or keyboards and why?
LM: I started on guitar and added keyboards as we went into more of an electronic direction, so I don’t consider myself a shredder on the keyboards but rather try to keep it simple.
HT: What is your favorite song to play?
LM: I don’t have one on the top of my head. I do prefer to play the new stuff as it’s more fresh and more of a challenge and can’t go to auto-pilot on those songs yet.
HT: Can you explain the rise in popularity of jamtronica music?
LM: I guess there are a few left but I think electronica music is going better than jamtronica. I feel like we are the last of a dying breed although there are some newcomers like Papadosio. People seem to enjoy hypnotic music.
HT: Last weekend on successive nights, you played both to a sold-out Best Buy Theater and Knitting Factory, is there a different approach to playing a venue in different size and scope?
LM: It definitely makes a difference to how it feels and a bigger stage offers more room to feel comfortable rather than be squashed in. I like the energy and being able to set up the full light rig. It doesn’t seem as polished at a more intimate venue.
HT: What is the litmus test for you at this point, the pinnacle moment where you knew you achieved success? Playing Red Rocks?
LM: Yes, you nailed it. Headlining Red Rocks this past summer…I graduated from High School. I even had my high school commencement there dreaming of such a moment. My grandparents were even there rockin’ out.
HT: Who is your favorite sit-in player?
LM: We don’t do that too often and don’t feel it has worked particularly well. once we had Max Weinberg and the jam was all over the place and sloppy but kinda fun to play with Bruce’s drummer. On Jam Cruise we had Roosevelt Collier jam out and his guitar added a cool organic element on Hammerstrike.
HT: What influence does dubstep have on your music?
LM: When it first came out, the British guys, before the Americans put the kinda ‘frat-boy spin’ on it, we did incorporate more big low-end into some compositions. We don’t listen to much of the popular contemporary music like Skrillex, we listen to more of the left-of-center electronica sounds.
HT: Well, thanks for your time. Good luck as you continue on your mammoth tour!
LM: Thanks man.