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Published: 2015/06/22
by Sam D'Arcangelo

Lotus in the Forest

Later this week, Rothbury, MI’s Double JJ Ranch will welcome a diverse array of musical acts for the fifth annual Electric Forest Festival. With seven stages spread across its beautiful—and artistically enhanced—woodland landscape, the ranch will no doubt live up to its reputation as one of the most unique venues on the festival circuit.

One band that the festival will be bringing back this summer, besides perennial headliners The String Cheese Incident, is veteran five-piece Lotus. The group, who are gearing up for their third performance at the Electric Forest and their fifth appearance at the ranch (that’s right, they played both Rothbury festivals), will take the stage at the Sherwood Court on Friday night. The band’s tried and true fusion of electronic and jamband elements makes them perfectly suited to bridge the gap between the two—broadly defined—musical styles that dominate Electric Forest. In light of this fact, we caught up with Jesse Miller to talk about their impending return to the festival, as well as a few other things they have in store for the future.

You guys are going to be playing at Electric Forest this weekend. It’s a festival that you’ve been at a few times, along with the earlier Rothbury festivals. Is the Double JJ Ranch a special place for you?

Definitely. I would rank it up there as one of the best-organized festivals. I really love the grounds. It’s always fun to go there. It seems like, when we chill backstage, there’s always a lot of people we know and friends we’re bumping into.

Can you give us any insights on what we might be able to expect at that show?

I don’t want to give anything away, I’d like to leave some things as a surprise. I think we have a two-hour set so that means we’ll be able to stretch things out a little bit and there might, potentially, be some guests with that set, as well.

*Do you guys ever stick around at Electric Festival for maybe a day or two, and see some music of your own?

Yeah, we usually stay around for an extra day, to do interviews and hang out sometimes. We hang out and just enjoy it. Sometimes festival are just so hot, or depending on where they are, it’s cold. So it’s not super fun to hang.

I’m looking at your schedule and you guys are pretty much only doing festivals this summer. When we can look forward to you guys getting back on the road for a more traditional tour?

Well, no full-blown tour until 2016, but there are a few things later in the fall that haven’t been announced yet. We have Halloween at the Fillmore in Denver, which should be fun. I like playing the Fillmore there. And there are a few additional shows for the fall that haven’t been announced. Full-blown tour won’t be happening until 2016.

Are you taking a bit of a break, or is there some recorded music you guys are working on?

I wouldn’t really describe it as a break. I mean, yeah, we’ll definitely be writing and working on stuff. Actually, there’s a lot of material that we wrote last fall, or wrote and recorded last fall, that we’ll be working up to perform and getting/prepping that album.

Is there new material that we can expect at Electric Forest and some of these other festivals?

For the most part, no, we’re going to be keeping a lot of that stuff under wraps. But we have been playing two new ones starting on winter tour. One called “Basin to Benin” that was a collaboration with the Soul Rebels Brass Band, and one called Tarot, it’s kind of an instrumental jazz/funk/blues sort of jam.

Awesome. Well, I know your last album was based around, I don’t want to say pop structures, but more traditional song structures. Is that more of what we can expect?

There’s still a pretty big pop influence of some of the new material but it’s pretty far away from the things that we did on Gilded Age. There’s much more dance, funk and disco-oriented, where Gilded Age was mostly a rock-focused record.

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