Lotus belongs in Denver, and at Red Rocks specifically. The band — a local favorite — has been a staple in the list of artists who perform at the venue regularly, and this year they are switching things up by adding a night at Summit Music Hall to preface the big night at the monoliths. The performance will come just months after their fourteenth release, Frames Per Second, which was released at the end of last year.
To get ready for the big weekend, we spoke with Luke Miller, Lotus’ guitarist and keyboardist about what continually makes him excited to play for Denver and how the band keeps the fresh tunes turning after nearly 20 years.
303 Magazine: Lotus has a special place in Denver’s heart, you’re absolutely family. What is your first thought when you think of playing for Denver fans?
Luke Miller: A lot of times at the Denver shows the part that is fun is seeing all of the friends and family. It’s almost like you don’t have time to think of things you maybe would be obsessing about. You just pop right into the show.
303: This year you are switching things up by playing in April and offering a night at Summit Music Hall. What do you view as a benefit to playing an intimate show the same weekend as Red Rocks?
LM: If people are spending the time to come out from other places, it is nice to have that incentive of an extra show. It is also an opportunity to dig deeper into the catalog or do something riskier that you wouldn’t want to try in front of a place as big as Red Rocks. You can shoot for the moon. Hopefully, you don’t miss.
303:Lotus stands out in the jam scene for your ability to frequently gift fans new albums. How are you able to find the inspiration so often?
LM: My dad grew up on a farm and I always think of it as going to work and working hard. Instead of waiting for some lightning strike, I just grind it out every day and keep writing and keep writing. Instead of letting inspiration come to me, I try to go out there and find it. I will be working on a song, and it just doesn’t seem to be getting there. I will just keep working and working, clawing my way to the finish line. Then, I will start working on something new and something just pops out almost completely formed. I think that work, griding away, comes to fruition more in a new thing that almost pops into existence.
303: For Frames Per Second, what we sources of inspiration outside of music? Such as authors and other great minds?
LM: I find inspiration in natural things, I like to garden. Something about the repetition of nature and variation of nature inspires me.
303: Is there nature in the inspiration behind the title Frames Per Second?
LM: It is playing into the simultaneous release of doing a visual documentary with the recording. It is slipping all these little moments into one big thing, and it plays into the illusions of still pictures into motion.
303: It has been almost two decades as a band. How would you compare the band today to what it was when you started?
LM: The machine is more well oiled. Everyone knows what they’re going to do. There are a lot of things that are the same, though. Maybe we’re traveling on a plane or a bus instead of a minivan to the gigs but a lot of things are the same.
303: How has Colorado changed in your tours?
LM: I saw an aerial view of the stadium area from a couple of years before I graduated from high school. It is night and day from all of the people that have moved here, and all of the culture that has changed a lot. I’m always of the opinion that the more people the better. Let’s bring more people out here. Some people can get dismissive, “oh, let’s hide this secret here.” The “Native” bumper stickers always drive me crazy because it sets up this “us” and “them” scenario. One of the great things about Colorado is that so many people come from other places and they’re generally very welcomed and get sucked into that outdoor lifestyle.
303: What Frames Per Second song is going to steal the shows?
LM: A couple have stood out. “Aquamarine” has been really fun, people really get into that one. One we have been stretching out more is “Fortune Favors.” That’s been fun and the jams have been getting weird on that one, which is cool.
Don’t miss Lotus at Summit Music Hall on Friday, April 26 and Red Rocks on Saturday, April 27. Tickets to the shows can be found here for $42. Tune into their new album here.