Lotus caps busy year of performing and release of Hammerstrike with New Year’s Run

:: Lotus ::
:: Fox Theatre ::
:: Dec. 30 & 31 ::


By Lisa Oshlo

Now on the scene for nearly a decade, the boys in Lotus have really begun to hit their stride. Spending much of those years on the road, the band has garnered a large following due to its energetic shows and enthusiastic fans.

Formed at Goshen College (a Mennonite school) in Indiana in 1999, the band consists of Steve Clemens on drums, Chuck Morris on acoustic and electric percussion, Mike Rempel on guitar, and brothers Luke Miller on guitar and keyboards, and Jesse Miller on the bass and sampler.

After recruiting Morris in 2001, the band switched from playing more funky, jammy tunes, instead focusing on textured instrumental jams. They released their first album, Vibes (a compilation of performances), in 2002. This release was followed closely by a live album and two studio albums between 2003 and 2006, one of which, 2004’s Nomad, was the year’s bestseller on the popular Homegrown Music Network, as well as a nominee for a Jammy award in the New Groove of the Year category. 2007’s Escaping Sargasso Sea (their first release for label SCI Fidelity) was nominated for a Jammy award by Guitar Player magazine for Best Live Album of 2007. And this year saw the debut of Hammerstrike, the band’s highly anticipated new release.

The Marquee caught up with Lotus’ Jesse Miller to talk about their sound, their style, and what lays in store for the band.

The music of Lotus spans multiple genres and is therefore difficult to describe. “We don’t fall under a specific genre in my mind so I always just go with the most generic thing and tell people ‘dance rock,’” Miller said. The term is certainly apropros, as the dance floor at a Lotus show is flooded with sweaty, happy people. In addition to the music itself, the band is appreciated for their complex lighting designs as well as their largely improvisational setlists. These things all come together in a show that is both organic and mindblowing. And the Miller brothers have been honing the music for decades.

“[Luke and I] have been working together on music for a long time and it’s natural in a lot of ways,” said Miller. “We definitely have pretty different ideas about things, but we gain from that. It lets us see the other perspective as well as letting you see some things about your own writing, like what you need to do to break out of your own molds.”

Lotus has been breaking molds for years, fusing elements of jam, jazz, rock, funk and electronica and ending with a product that is not defined or restricted by any of these categories. The songs are natural, just like the writing process that created them.

“A piece can start in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it will start with a drum beat, or a chord change,” said Miller. “There are always different methods that produce different results.”
The band is fired up for their New Year’s shows at the Fox. It has been a beautifully busy year for Lotus, with over 100 shows and the release of Hammerstrike, and they’re looking forward to celebrating it in style before returning to the writing process in early 2009. “We always have such a fun time in Colorado,” said Miller. “We have a lot of friends and family out there, so it always just seems like a big party.”

:: Lotus ::
:: Fox Theatre ::
:: Dec. 30 & 31 ::

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