My friend actually calls Lotus game disco -- Game disco?
Yeah because he thinks you have the dance element of disco and the video game sound. Do you think that dancing is a huge part of Lotus? At many concerts people barely move but at Lotus concerts everyone is moving.
That's true and that's totally something I haven't thought about because at our shows everyone is dancing and when I go out to other shows I think, What's going on here? No one's dancing. Something we've always aimed at -- especially at the live shows -- is to keep that dance energy and write the set in such a way that we can bring it down at certain times but then keep the crowd going through the peaks and valleys of the set. It's always been a focus that we've had and whenever we're improvising usually my thought is how to get it dance-ier or how to get to a spot to send the crowd to another level.
I noticed that at your shows you improvise for minutes on the end and then the crowd is really shocked when you return to that original chord. Do you think your improvisation has evolved over the course of your albums?
Yeah, definitely, just from playing over time and developing new ways to improvise. It's hardly a complete free-for-all when you improvise. It's usually just something that is very much apart of the composition that we are playing. We usually have a pretty good idea of how a progression is going to happen and whether it's the movement between keys or the subtleties of the grooves throughout the course of the improvisation. Of course that can change over tours as we find other things that are successful. We're always looking for new ways to improvise because that is a 25 or 30 percent portion of the set, if we're always improvising the same way, it would get really boring real fast.
Do you have a favorite song that you like to improvise with?
A new one we've been doing -- it's called "128." We just started playing it out this tour. It's really fun. It's named after the tempo. 128 is the perfect tempo for minimal techno and kind of taking that tempo and kind of using that style in our context, which has led to a lot of really cool improvisations.
So, in the same vain, how do you typically name instrumental tracks?
Do you think it sounds like the title? Like with "Suitcases" for instance. How did you name it that?
Some of the older songs come out of inside jokes and things we tossed around. Sometimes you try to find an abstract word but that kind of wraps up what you are trying to get at with the sound. It's such an abstract thing in some ways. When I'm trying to name something that is instrumental, I try never to get too programmatic and try and describe some sort of theme. I think the music is the important part, not what's outside of that. It can be tough to find a good name for instrumental songs.
That makes sense. How did you create the name Lotus?
The group had that name before I started playing with them but I think the idea was to have a Lotus flower as a natural element. That's something we have always tried to use no matter how far we have delved into electronic influences. We are always organic with natural instruments. But also I think the original deal was some of the connections to Eastern philosophies and the Lotus flower being a symbol for all kinds of different things from meditation to this beautiful flower that comes out of mud image as well.
Totally. So much of the scene deals with spirituality. Do you come from that background?
Sometimes I am weary of that and I can understand using that as a metaphor for what they experience when they listen and experience music but I don't know if it is necessarily the same thing.
Would you consider yourself a hippie or no?
I don't know. I am in a need of a haircut.
Well the modern day hippie is all about grooming. As far as your crowd goes, who did you originally see yourself attracting versus who you attract today?
When we first started and we were playing smaller bar gigs it was more of my peers and a 21+ crowd. As we have grown the crowds have gotten younger. It's not so much a surprise. The young kids make up a good part of the energy of the crowd and they are the ones who are always yelling for changes and losing their minds. That is one of the things that has changed throughout the years.
Are you excited about Rothbury Festival in Michigan this summer? I am quite excited about Rothbury! We played the inaugural year last year and it was a great festival. It's really diverse and I always get to see friends and a lot of groups out there. I had a really great time last year. Hopefully the weather cooperates again this year.
In terms of festivals, how do you think the festival circuit has influenced your genre of music?
More than influenced, it has kind of established it. It's such a weird genre -- "jam band" -- because it really doesn't refer to the music at all. It refers to the bands that work well at these festivals. If you play festivals or are on this circuit, you are a jam band, no matter what you sound like. It's kind of a strange scene in that sense. You can have a band that is very country and bluegrass influenced right next to a band like Lotus that is more dance and electronic influenced.