Existing in its own esoteric universe of electronica, jazz, rock and more, Lotus is looking ahead to expanding its sound on its next full-length effort, which will be a follow-up to the recently released EPs “Oil on Glass” and “Feather on Wood.”
“Already we have more than enough new material for an album,” says Lotus bassist-keyboardist Jesse Miller. “Some of the material we’re already performing now could potentially make it onto the next album. And that stuff should be a little bit more heavy and a little bit more electronic driven. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff playing bass lines in synthesizers or using a sampler to get a different sound.”
New songs currently in the set include the funk/hip-hop-driven “Golden Ghost” and the dancehall-influenced “Dowrn.” Lotus is scheduled to play tonight (Oct. 22) in Omaha, Neb., part of the band’s two-month national tour. Something else happening with the Indiana outfit is its annual Halloween free-for-all show where the band members dress up as famous musicians and play a covers set. This year’s Halloween show, which takes place in Baltimore, Md. at Sonar Baltimore, is called “Protein Pills in the Labyrinth” and will feature all David Bowie music.
Keeping things creative is something the act has done over the last decade. And even though the group is far from pretentious, it still has to overcome the instrumental tag that often precedes the band’s music.
“The only thing that can be frustrating to me is it’s really hard to explain it,” Miller says. “I feel like the press doesn’t really write it up a lot of times or really get it because maybe it’s a lot harder to review something that’s instrumental because it’s a bit more abstract. But it’s not like we’re lacking for fans.”
In recent years, Lotus’ touring schedule has included numerous sold out large club and small theater dates with an increasing fanbase attracted to its eclectic sound – ranging from jazzy house and drum ‘n’ bass motifs to elements of world music and club vibes.
“We always sort of work with artists that are outside of our genre,” Miller says. “For our upcoming New York show (at Terminal 5) we have RJD2 and Junior Boys opening. We had Juan Maclean do a remix for Lotus for our ‘Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed’ album. So we don’t feel like we’re boxing ourselves in. It’s really just other people’s perception or misconception of the band.”
He adds, “I think in some ways it can be frustrating to be pigeonholed. Like Lotus does do improvising and we’ll play extended shows, but in a lot of ways I don’t feel like we sound anything like typical jam bands. And it does make things tough. If you have that tag, it’s almost impossible to get booked for Coachella. Which if our music was suddenly released on Warp Records it would be a no-brainer that we’re at that festival. And we wouldn’t be changing anything that we do stylistically.”