Lotus has been a band for a decade years, since forming at Goshen College, a Mennonite university in Indiana. But “Hammerstrike,” the Philadelphia quintet’s latest album, marks the first time it’s recorded like a band.
“The previous two albums were done more in an electronic style, where we were composing in small pieces and kind of arranging it all in the studio,” explains bassist Jesse Miller. “The idea for ‘Hammerstrike’ was to make something that was more of a traditional rock album in terms of how we approached both the writing and the recording.
“So a lot of stuff was written for two guitars. We did a lot of tracking just as a full band in a live room, straight to tape. I think it affected the overall sound and also the style of playing, and I think it achieved a full band sound.”
But, Miller cautions, don’t be quick to lump Lotus in with the other jam bands, even though it has a penchant for taking its songs in long, improvised directions.
“Those elements are there,” acknowledges Miller, 29, “but I don’t feel like improvisation is really what defines a jam band. What I’ve boiled it down to is any band that plays two sets (in concert) could be considered a jam band.
“But we try to stay away from the ‘How would you describe your band?’ question. Lotus doesn’t sound like Phish. How the Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus and Umphreys McGee could ever be classified in the same genre makes no sense. It’s just too big and unfocused (of) a term.”
Lotus and BLVD perform Wednesday (April 1) at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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