North Coast Music Festival: Jesse Miller of Lotus

Lotus has carried the flag for their own genre for awhile now. “Jamtronica”, the band’s signature blend of electronic elements paired with a creatively unique jam band aesthetic that has kept them at the forefront of both genres for close to 15 years now. Lotus’ ability to master a wide range of disciplines musically has allowed the Indiana-based group to constantly tinker with it’s sound and evolve the band’s dynamic. Lotus is a fully adaptable animal, with the ability to go from rock to dance to hip hop all in one rocking set and, largely without vocal aid. I had a chance to catch Lotus frontman Jesse Miller while backstage at The Last Stand Stage, check out the interview below.

Lotus by Bobby Reys

Jake: Welcome to Chicago, what are the feelings about playing at North Coast and what do you all have in store?

Jesse: Our set is always interesting. At a festival, I feel like Lotus tends to stretch things out so ours sometimes we have to take it down to this package but this is a young crowd at this festival so I’m sure we’re going to keep it on the dance tip. So we’re planning on dancing and rocking out.

Jake: I know you all have a new album coming out as well that is tailored more towards a hip-hop aspect?

Jesse: Yeah, Monks. It’s more of just a project for the album. We actually had started working on a track with Mr. Lif in maybe like 2011, maybe even a little bit before and we were working on it while we were working on other tracks and we didn’t really feel ike we had a great place for it, we didn’t want to drop it in the middle of another album and have it feel like it was this totally different thing so we were going to release it as a single but then started doing a few more and then we got Lyrics Born on for a track and Gift of Gab on there. So we just sort of built it out and said “Ok, what can we do with this” and then we ended up going back through it and weaving in the whole story, recorded some instrumentals and the whole project really came together really organically.

Jake: Last time I talked to you all you had a couple albums recorded already, is this one of those?

Jesse: A little bit. So we released Build in February and even before Build came out this one was already done, we had the thing already in the can by October. We also have some stuff that is recorded but just not mastered or finished yet and we’re kind of sorting through how we want to put that out and as well we’re also working on a lot of new shit. We’re kind of sorting through a lot of different things and writing a bunch of things and have a lot of things to figure out so I’m thinking we might do some singles or EPs before we put out the next full-length album. We’re just always working on things and sometimes they end up sitting on a hard drive for awhile while we work to finish up different projects-we like to dip our toes into a lot of different waters.

Jake: Where do things end for Lotus? With so many genres under your belt it seems like the possibilities are endless.

Jesse: I think we’ve kind of always started out like that. There are certain elements about Lotus that I think we’re always going to find a way to play it live. All tracks we approach in the context of performing live so we use live drums and guitars and we’re usually trying to keep it on a dance tip. I mean, Lotus is really known for the electronic fusion but we have plenty of stuff that I would call it just straight up rock and roll but like post-rock and all this hard stuff and all guitar stuff and I like writing for that, too. So I think there’s a certain tone or voice that comes through on all tracks. Even though we’re bringing in different influences I feel like you always know that it’s Lotus and that’s just really our musical stamp on things without having someone singing and having that be the signature, it’s just kind of this tone that we’ve built into it.

Jake: That’s what’s up, so where are you all headed from here? What’s next for Lotus?

Jesse: We’ve got more touring this month with a festival in Upstate New York called Catskill Chill and then out to Red Rocks which we’re super pumped about, one of the best spots in the country and this will be our second time headlining and fourth time playing so we’re always pumped about that. A little more touring but nothing huge, just 15 more dates through the end of the year and we’ll be in the studio October, November and December trying to push things further as far as the sound is concerned.

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