On Lotus, longevity and the jam band scene


Lotus has built a reputation as one of the most talented and innovative bands on the jam circuit over the past 18 years. With a sound that ranges from ambient to electronic to jam to rock, the one theme their entire catalog shares is that you can dance to it. This weekend their diverse sound will be on display over the course of a two-night run at The Orange Peel.

They are touring in support of their 2016 album “Eat the Light,” a record that somehow manages to be both a classic Lotus album and a departure from their previous work.

“The vocals make it different,” bassist Jesse Miller tells me, “but the way we arranged most of the songs on there it really fits our band format. It has a very live sound in a lot of ways.”

Produced by Jesse and his brother Luke Miller, “Eat the Light” was recorded in part at the Miller’s personal studios and in part at Miner Street in Philadelphia, giving them access to both vintage and cutting edge recording techniques.

“I have been definitely staying away from super modern digital sounds. It’s the classic sounds and analog synthesizers that have the particular sound I am drawn to,” Jesse Miller explains. “Recording to tape and using the vintage gear on all of this stuff just sounds better.”

The brothers have worked together on over a dozen albums to date, most of the work being self-produced.

“We have a very business relationship,” begins Jesse Miller, speaking about working with his brother as a writer and producer. “When we are writing we want to make sure the other person is signing off on it… I think in some ways it (being brothers) makes it easier to criticize each other in a positive way. We push each other to do things better.

Their chemistry, hard-earned expertise, and attention to detail are just a few of the many facets that have helped lead to Lotus’ incredible longevity. According to Miller, that long-term viability is both intentional and, business as usual.

“You know, it’s all I really know. We always kind of thought of Lotus not as something that would take on a style of music that was small,” Miller lets on. “That is what has kept us together so long. We can do a lot of experimenting within the confines of Lotus, which keeps it new for us and our fans.”

That broad-minded approach has made Lotus fans out of both stay-at-home audiophiles and live music lovers alike. Their versatility and musicianship should be on full display over the course of this weekend.

“We try to keep it diverse,” says Miller. “If you come for both nights you are definitely going to see a little bit of everything. We always try to break out something special and keep the fans on their toes.”

Lotus plays Friday and Saturday at The Orange Peel.  Tickets are $23 in advance, per night.

Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.

You can reach him at [email protected] and/or Facebook.com/GonzoNC.


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