Interview: Lotus Bassist Jesse Miller

Last month, Lotus rolled through San Francisco as part of their Pay-What-You-Want Tour, which let fans pay anywhere from $1 to $20 per ticket. Those who paid $15 or more were hooked up with Lotus’s two new EPs, Oil on Glass and Feather on Wood.

I asked bass player Jesse Miller a few questions  about the tour, the new EPs, JamCruise 8, and, of course, politics.

Who did the artwork for Oil on Glass and Feather on Wood?

Jesse Miller: Andy Gilmore created both pieces. His excellent work can be found at here. Carl Bender, our longtime designer, did the layout and font work. His work is at

What other artists contributed to the EPs?

Miller: Skytree, an amazing solo producer from the Minneapolis area. He remixed “Turquoise.” Kypski (AKA Thomas Elbers) of the Dutch group C-mon & Kypski remixed “Hammerstrike.” Othello, of the Portland hip-hop group Lightheaded, contributed vocals to Luke Miller’s remix of “Alkaline.”

Was the Pay-What-You-Want Tour successful?

Miller: We did really big crowds in San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.  We definitely spent some money to make the week of shows happen. But the intent was to gain wider exposure for the band, and on that note I thought it was a success.

Is it something Lotus might do again?

Miller: Probably not for an entire week of shows again, but possibly for select one-off shows.

I first saw Lotus live opening for Ozric Tentacles in 2005. How would you describe the band’s evolution since then?

Miller: The band continually evolves. During the last four years we’ve brought in a lot of new sounds and musical styles. We’ve experimented with everything from guitar-driven post-rock anthems and beats influenced by African styles, to using beats and sounds associated with hip-hop, dubstep, and other electronic styles. Our compositions have become much more lean and focused as our recording and compositional skills continue to mature.

How stoked are you guys for Jam Cruise 8?

Miller: We’re all excited. We were on the boat in 2008, but we’ll have four people in our crew who’ve never gone before along for the ride It’s great to be in some warm weather in January, which is usually a month off touring for us. We’ll have a lot of friends we’ve met over the years along for the ride as well, so I’m sure it will be a blast again.

Is the group focusing on any particular political or social issues?

Miller: We each have different views and concerns. Personally, the current economic climate and the government’s handling of the situation is a big concern. I’m hoping all the spending to help ease the recession also works to build a more efficient and environmentally conscious America. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a big concern. I’d like to see a shift to thinking in terms of diplomatic solutions instead of militaristic responses. I’m following the proposed changes in U.S. health care policy. I’d really like to see a public option included. I want to see action on holding Obama to his promise to end the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. I would also like to see a national initiative on medical marijuana. The public wants change, but there’s been little action on the national level.

Lotus: Through the Mirror Episode 1 from LotusVibes on Vimeo.

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