INTERVIEW WITH… GROOVY ELECTRO ROCK BAND LOTUS
Lotus drops new album ‘Free Swim’ today!
Lotus is an instrumental quintet based out of Philadelphia, PA and Denver, CO. While the band self describe their music as genre less. It’s multivariate as they combine electro pop, funk rock, post punk, and EDM. They create their own signature blend of super catchy music. The bands latest endeavor ‘Free Swim’ is out today. It is an LP with beautifully layered sonics and groovy melodies. I spoke with bassist Jesse Miller over email. We discussed the new LP ‘Free Swim’, the bands creative process, and even a few fun superlatives. Check it all out below!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did you each get your start as musicians? How did Lotus come to fruition?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: I had piano lessons when I was young. That got me started with keyboard skills, reading music and theory. In high school, I started a band with some of my friends playing punk and ska music. That got me interested in composing. I was mostly self-taught through high school, but then went on to get a music degree with an emphasis in composition in college. Lotus also started when we were in college. Luke (my twin brother, keyboard/guitar) and I had met Mike Rempel (guitar) and our original drummer at a camp in Colorado and we all ended up in Indiana for school. We would rehearse all the time in this tiny room in the basement of the campus snack shop. And we played a lot of shows. We would drive up to Michigan, get back around 4-5am and rally as best we could for classes at 11am.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can we talk some on how the recording, creative and writing process went for ‘Free Swim’? It’s a sonically beautiful collection and so groovy.
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: Thank you. Luke and I try to keep up a constant stream of writing when we aren’t out on the road. We live in different cities, but we send recordings back and forth as we develop ideas. Since our 2018 album Frames Per Second, we had built up a collection of around 25 demos. We ended up recording 18 of those and then narrowed it down to 10 for the album. The recording was all done over 5 days in February 2020 at Spice House Sound in Philadelphia and I mixed it at my home studio.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I can hear so many sounds, vibes, and genres intermingled into each track. Do you set out to make a certain type sound or genre? Just letting whatever flows come out?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: I try not to think about genre too much and let the composition be guided by intuition and Lotus‘s instrumentation. Every composition builds its own world with harmony, rhythm and timbre. When those primary building blocks become established, they start to limit what else can be added on top to maintain balance.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Is there a process in transferring your sound from studio to stage?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: We generally write with live performance in mind. For Free Swim, we tracked the full band live from the studio with minimal overdubs. So, we really had already done the work of making the compositions work for live performance and then captured that in a studio setting.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How has your creative process changed over the years as you’ve grown as a band?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: We do a lot more development on demos before trying to rehearse them with the full band then we used to. We found it to be much more efficient to put in the work ahead of time figuring out the minutiae of how all the parts need to fit together rather trying to piece something together and make a lot of changes in a rehearsal setting.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What has been your most fun or memorable gig that you guys have played?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: I don’t know if I can pick just one, but Rothbury 2008, Red Rocks 2016, Gathering of the Vibes 2014 (debut of our Talking Heads Deconstructed set) stand out.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Any tips for other musicians or creatives for help in overcoming creative and writing blocks?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: I think it is possible to work through writer’s block. My experience is that you can feel like you don’t have any good ideas and that prevents you from developing new ideas; it becomes a negative feedback loop. Take the pressure off yourself. Write 10 things with the intention of throwing them all away. Almost always, I find at least one element in those 10 that inspires me to continuing working on it and then a positive feedback loop of creativity can begin.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Throwing in a few fun ones here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: A lot of superlative questions here…but right now I’ll go with “The Plan” from Built To Spill‘s album Keep It Like A Secret
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would you collab with and why?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: Brian Eno – I love so many different things he has worked on as a musician and producer. He exemplifies the idea that you don’t need to be a virtuoso or follow popular trends, you can be guided by your ideas and willingness to experiment to create art that is both widely appreciated and highly creative.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: First album you ever owned using your own money?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: Good question. I grew up in the era where you could tape a penny to a postcard and have Columbia Record House send you 10 CDs in the mail. I definitely had a lot of questionable 90s alternative radio rock CDs sent to me, among other things. Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues might be the only one I kept out of those.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any artists that you guys have had “On Repeat” lately? What music have you guys been digging?
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: Chicano Batman, Invisible People, Floating Points Crush, Four Tet Sixteen Oceans, Justice Iris: A Space Opera, Parcels Live Vol. 1
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end… Is there anything else you would like to add? Thanks so much for your time! 🙂
JESSE MILLER // LOTUS: Free Swim is designed to be listened to as an entire album. Please give a listen to the full album if you haven’t. It is available on vinyl and there is also a full video version we filmed while tracking. Also, support your favorite musicians however you can at this time of no touring. Buy a record, a shirt, a video. Keep healthy.
You heard (ahem read) what Jesse said. It is a wonderful time to truly support your faves in anyway you can. You can start by listening to the new Lotus‘ album “Free Swim”.
LOTUS BAND // SOCIALS