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L4LM Exclusive Interview with Lotus Bassist Jesse Miller

Lotus bassist Jesse Miller sat down with Live for Live Music before their Best Buy Show in NYC to discuss the tour, their fans, and what to expect from the band in 2013.

Is this the largest tour Lotus has done?

Jesse: “I guess it depends on how you count them but this is definitely a bigger one either way.”

How were the first two shows in Vermont and Boston?

Jesse: “They were good.  It’s nice to kick off a tour in the Northeast where we have a strong following and playing rooms that…well we haven’t played this room before but playing nice rooms and the crowds have been great, so…yeah it’s been a nice way to start a run.”

How do the NYC shows differ from the other stops on the tour?

Jesse: “You know, New York is just different than any other city…things like bringing a bus into the city can be difficult but once you are here and set up and you know it’s just walking in and seeing the huge ‘Lotus Sold Out’ on the marquee in Time Square is pretty fun so…I always look forward to playing NY.”

How do the shows differ today in comparison to 5 years ago?

Jesse: “I don’t know if they’re vastly different.  We always try to keep improving and work on different aspects of what we are doing.  I think what we’ve gotten from the last 5 years is maybe a new tightness…something that’s a little more consistent…we  know how to get to the places we want to get to easier.  I don’t know, there are certain things, especially when working with group improvisation that really take a long time to feel out; like understanding where people are phrasing and what directions you’re taking, things when improvising together.  We’ve been playing with this line up for 3 years and we’ve really locked into some things.”

I heard amazing things about the New Years Run…What do you expect to come from Lotus in 2013?

Jesse: “We’ve got this huge tour, we’ve got this new album coming out in a couple of weeks, we got probably several other studio releases, we did a lot of studio work last year so that stuff will be coming out. They’ll be a decent amount of shows but I also want to take time when this tour ends to maybe experiment with some things we’ve never done – like really try to push into different things.  I’ve got some ideas for some studio things that, they’re really just pretty general ideas right now, but just to kind of push outside of things that we’re doing, you know, like maybe something that doesn’t have any kind of electronic elements that’s maybe more minimalist or classical based almost. Yeah, we always like pushing into new things; like we did this hip-hop album that has not come out yet, but we’ve started playing a few tracks from that. We’re just finding these new ways to get into different musical mindsets; it brings out different aspects of music and of our playing.”

Have you guys committed to any festivals yet this summer?

Jesse: “I don’t think anything has been announced yet, but we’re definitely making the festival rounds.”

What effects/pedals do you use during a live performance? Also, what kind of bass do you play?

Jesse: “My rig is pretty simple, at least the bass end of it.  I play a Fender Jazz Bass, actually a Mexican made one so it’s super cheap.  I like the sound and the main effects that I use are a Moog filter, an octave pedal, and a distortion pedal.”

Can you describe what the fans look like to you when you are on stage?

Jesse: “You see this big undulating mass, but when you can pick out people it can be pretty funny. Some of my favorites will be if it’s like if it’s a bunch of kids just raging but then there is one like old guy standing in the middle just like staring at the stage, I always love that. Or you know, funny dances are always a fun thing to watch too.  I don’t know, for some reason one of my favorite things to see in the audience is, well maybe not my favorite but most entertaining is when everybody is just ROCKING out and there is one person who just looks super bored standing in the middle. I always think that’s funny.”

Describe the sound of your new album Build.

Jesse: “It’s a pretty energetic album, it’s pretty synth oriented.  In some ways it’s kind of heavy compared to some other Lotus albums.  I think it’s really concise…the whole thing really works as one piece. I think it is something people will want to listen to the whole album instead of skipping around.”

Anything else you’d like to let fans know?

Jesse: “Just the rest of the tour dates…we’re going to be out for awhile, so yeah.  The East Coast is one thing but we’re also going to like Florida and down South, Midwest. Hoping to see new and old fans there as well.”

Anything you’d like to say to your NYC fans?

Jesse: “Thanks for coming out.  We’ve been playing NY for years and, you know, playing everything from Mercury Lounge  to Bowery Ballroom, to Terminal 5 so it’s been great to have the support to keep building it even bigger.”

Thanks so much for the interview Jesse!  Best of luck to you and Lotus in 2013.

(Thanks to Staff Writer Diana Kumpf for the interview)