Tag Archives: David Bowie

Interview with Jesse Miller of Lotus

It’s hard to pigeon hole Lotus into a genre of music. Are they Rock, Electronic, Post-Rock, Jamband, Electro? All of the above? What we do know is that they put on one hell of a live show! Before they rock a crowd at FDR Park this Saturday, we spoke with Jesse Miller, the man behind the bass and sampler, to get some inside info on what we can expect this weekend, and beyond, from Lotus.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the band name “Lotus”?

Jesse Miller: The other guys were playing together for a little bit before I was with them and the story is that they started out when they were just out of college and they booked a gig really soon and had to come up with a name really quick. Someone put Lotus out there and it just stuck.

IP: It’s been almost exactly a year since you released your last album, have you been working on any new music since then?

JM: Yeah, a ton of new music. We actually got about, I would say, three new albums in the works.

IP: Do you have any set release date for any of them?

JM: No, they are in various stages. One is almost done, we just need to work out a few details on the masters. The next one we’re going to be mixing in, in the next couple months, to come out early next year. And then there’s a lot of additional things that we’re working on as well. We’re not exactly sure what those will be quite yet.

IP: You guys have been known to throw lots of themed shows in the past. Is there one that really sticks out as being your favorite?

JM: The David Bowie one we did for Halloween a few years back was really fun. It was really fun just to get into the details of his music and learning it. Just going through someone’s music in that close of detail when you’re trying to learn it, you suss out pretty quickly what’s going on, and that was definitely fun to dive into. And then the costume designer for the show just did a really great job and made some great costumes. So yeah, that was one of my favorites of the themed shows.

IP: Is there a dream themed show that you’d like to do that you haven’t done before?

JM: I’ve been trying to sell the band on a Kraftwerk themed show for years, but I think I’m the only one who’s really a huge Kraftwerk fan.

IP: You have a show coming up this Saturday in FDR Park (with MiMOSA, Ghostland Observatory, Michal Menart, and Sonic Spank). What can fans expect from a live Lotus show if there’s never seen you perform before?

JM: It’s usually a very dance oriented show but we do like to mix it up and we do have a pretty large catalog, so we try to get a good mix of older material, newer material, and keep a little dance in, but we might bring it down here or there. I’ve always felt that Lotus crowds are really invested in the set and they pay really close attention and they’re really feeling the music. So, I’d hope there’s not a lot of passive listeners out there. At least that’s not what I see from stage. People are really getting into it and spending some energy, and sending some energy back our way.

IP: Do you have a favorite memory of a past show in Philadelphia?

JM: Last New Year’s was a really fun show. We set up down at the Festival Pier and just kind of built our own venue around that tent that’s there, and you know, having a sold out show there, that’s down on the river, and ringing in the new year was really special. The crowd was great and we all had a really good time. And there were fireworks right over the bridge there at midnight so that was just icing on the cake.

IP: You spend a lot of time in Philadelphia. Are there any up and coming bands or producers that you don’t think are getting enough attention right now?

JM: One group that I’ve been doing some stuff with, some friends of mine down here in Fishtown, are called Damn Right, and we’ve played a few shows together and they’ve opened up for Lotus a few times. I think they have a new EP coming out in either October or November. I actually saw them play on Sunday at a festival right after our set and I think they’re making some pretty great music. And some other friends of mine who are doing great things is Grimace Federation and I’m always pumped to see them live.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers…

IP: Well I don’t know if everybody really knows that we’re actually split between Philadelphia and Denver. Half our band and crew live in Denver and half here, so we’re across a couple time zones.

Independent Philly will be on hand to cover the show (presented by Deathwaltz Media) on Saturday! If you’d like to join us, you can purchase advanced tickets here.

Interview with Company of Thieves

Company of Thieves released the their debut album “Ordinary Riches” in 2009 and it landed at #5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Two weeks ago the band dropped their sophomore offering “Running from a Gamble” and is now touring in support of the album. Their tour lands them in Philly on June 4th where they’ll play a show at the Piazza at Schmidt’s. Independent Philly will be there to cover the show but we had a few questions we needed answered first, so we had the latest edition to our staff, writer Ed Wons, chat with lead singer Genevieve Schatz and bassist Marcin Sulewski.

Independent Philly: How is your new album, Running from a Gamble, different from your first?

Genevieve Schatz: It is new! And focused, darker, confrontational, uncensored…it captures our live energy!

IP: What’s your favorite (or least favorite) part about being on tour?

GS: My favorite part is meeting folks from all over and hearing their stories. Another favorite is being reminded of Mother Nature through the giant van windows while in constant motion. The mountains arrest me. My least favorite part is lack of sleep and adequate nutrition which ultimately leads me to question my sanity and the validity of my reality. That’s a trip, though, so I guess in a way it is also a favorite. Hmm..no ‘leasts’ from me. Damn.

Marcin Sulewski: The best part is playing every night. But other than that, I love seeing similarities in people. Sometimes I’ll meet someone on the road who is exactly like a friend from home. The whole interaction just makes me think about how we are all humans, were all born from this earth, we really are just one. And sometimes, you just meet a real character, a real nut, and that can be insightful. My least favorite part is, lack of sleep, physical activity, and fresh food. I don’t know how truckers do it.

IP: You guys are from Chicago, which like Philly is a big food city. What’s your favorite Chicago food? Philadelphia food?

GS: Chicago pizza all the way. Philly vegan cheese steak, ha!

MS: In Chicago, Sultans Market is some super fresh Middle Eastern. I’ve never been to Philly, but I’ve dreamed of the taste of a Philly Cheesesteak.

IP: What was it like hearing yourselves on the radio for the first time?

GS: Out of body experience. I said, “Who is that? Is that us? Weird!”

MS: Bizarre and exciting all in a moment of questioning reality.

IP: What are some of the bands on your iPod now? What did you listen to growing up?

GS: For both: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Arcade Fire…I sill listen to them all now, as I am always growing up.

MS: Haaa, I wish I could afford an iPod, but I like a lot of hip hop, dub, and “riddim” music. Im listening to Madlib, J Rocc, J Dilla, Flying Lotus, King Tubby, and Fela Kuti. Eitan and Chris have got me going on Klezmer music, Arabic music, and quarter tones!

IP: What can fans expect from your live show?

GS: Our fans can expect to hang with us. We like to make discoveries in our music with our fans during the show, we like to share the show, not just be the spectacle.

MS: We are so appreciative for every chance we get to play a show, so they can expect that we will be there with them 100 percent. Hopefully we all feel each other and have a wonderful evening.

IP: Outside of the United States, what’s your favorite place you’ve played? How are those fans different from their American counterparts?

GS: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and London! The people we met in those cities were just as cultured and open minded and curious as our American fans, but with cooler accents. We love our fans. They provide a sense of community, as in ‘we are all in this together.’

IP: Who would be your dream artist to go on tour with?

GS: Probably Queen. Or David Bowie. or Bjork. Ahh!

IP:  You guys spend a lot of time together, do you ever bug each other on the road?

GS: When we are hungry we can get buggy. But all is good through and through.

MS: Oh yeah, its good fun bugging each other, it keeps your wits about you.

IP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced while on tour? Don’t worry, we can handle it. 

GS: Total self-awareness.

MS:  The state was Oklahoma, the venue will remain un-named. The only bathroom we had to use had throw up all over it, shit in the sinks, smeered on the walls, piss everywhere…and all of it was from the night before!

IP: Is there a message in the new album? What do you want fans to take away from it?

GS: I hope the fans can find something new each time they listen to the album. I also hope they feel when they listen. There are tons of messages, one is that there are no real guarantees in life, ever, and that there is nothing to lose except yourself if you don’t express yourself in life. 

IP: Who wins the following battles and why?
Hall or Oats? 

GS: Hall. Haven’t met Oats.

Chicago Hot Dog or Philly Cheesesteak? 

GS: Tie…if they are both veggie.

Oscar Wilde or Oscar Meyer? 

GS: Wilde of course! His wiener made history.

Dove or Ordinary Soap? 

GS: Dove I suppose. Smells real good.

Cubs or Whitesox? 

GS: This is a set-up. I’m going with baseball in general. I’d rather play than watch.

MS: Forget baseball, it’s all about hockey and the Blackhawks are everybody’s favorite team.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers… 

GS: This moment in time only happened if you wanted it to.

Thieves or not, we’re looking forward to being in the company of these  mid-western indie-rockers on Saturday when they play the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party show at the Piazza (She Wants Revenge and Find Vienna are also performing). The show kicks off at 4pm and the best new is, it’s FREE! Hope to see you there Philly!

If you want to check out Company of Thieves ahead of time, you can download their track “Modern Waste” right HERE for free!

My Chemical Romance Rages at Legendary Tower Theater

My Chemical Romance headlined a sold-out show show at the legendary Tower Theater in Upper Darby on Friday night with support from “The Architects” & “Thursday” (who MCR lead-singer Gerard Way called his favorite live band ever).

The Tower is one of our favorite venues in the area. It has the feel of an old school theater, the history of hosting the likes of Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Genesis, and countless other all-world acts, and a great sound system.

The place was already packed by the time we arrived as fans crowded into their seats awaiting the headliners from neighboring New Jersey to take the stage. Hordes of screaming teenage girls packed the aisles and the Tower staff has their hands full trying to keep people in their seats.

When My Chemical Romance took the stage shortly after 9:30pm, all order went out the window and it was a teenage free-for-all in the aisles as everyone tried to get a good angle to snap a photo (or video) with their camera and/or phone.

Gerard Way, with his bright red hair, wasted no time in pumping up the crowd as they hung on his every word and action; if his hands went up, the fans hands went up, if he held the microphone out, the fans sang.

The sound was as loud as could be, and the lights & lasers were bright and pulsating (there were even warning signs in the lobby about the brightness of the strobe lights that were used throughout the entire show).

The band mixed in a slew of songs from their most recent album “Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys” as well as older hits from albums “The Black Parade”, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”, and “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love”.

Gerard Way told the fans in the overheated venue that MCR loves Philadelphia and it was good to be back. He was surprised at how many fans were up dancing around (because the venue is entirely seating with no general admission area).

While the majority of fans were teenagers, we saw people of all ages rocking out during the show. It seems that My Chemical Romance has no problem wooing fans both young and old. Admittedly, it was hard to stand still.

We left the venue shortly after 11pm, and with our ears ringing, headed off to join the Black Parade.

Full photo slide show below:

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