The Lotus Interview

The Lotus is a rock band with its roots in Italy but is currently based in Manchester, UK. It is also a creative adventure which embraces an array of flavours and styles in “a visionary and characterful musical journey”. With a new album in the works, we threw a host of questions at the band to discover its beginnings, latest release, what fuels their creativity and more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

Hi everyone and thank you for interviewing The Lotus. The band started in 2004 when first Rox met Luca: we initially began playing some covers as many kids do but we immediately realised we wanted more and we immediately started working on some ideas and riffs.

That’s how it started really: in 2008 Kristal and Marco joined the band and that was the real start of a professional band as we decided to record and release our first album, which eventually came out in 2011.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Apart from Luca, actually all of us are still playing with many other bands! Mostly metal and rock bands though and I think that always influenced our music in same way.

Rox is playing with Italian prog rockers InnerShine and UK progressive metal band Prospekt, and also with pop folk singer and songwriter named Sukh. Marco is the drummer of two of the most famous Italian metal and rock bands, which are Elvenking and Hell In The Club, and Kristal is the lead singer of melodic death metal band called Lost Resonance Found.

What inspired the band name?

The band’s name was chosen randomly by our first guitarist who was in love with R.E.M.’s song Lotus. We liked it and we realised then, that it was the perfect name for us. A few months later we also found out its meaning of purity and rebirth and we realised that was the name we really wanted.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As we said before, as soon as we got confident in playing together we immediately started to feel the need of composing our own songs and being rock stars! LOL

Regarding the sound, well, that’s a tricky one: we have never had an established sound or a path we wanted to follow, we just write songs we like and lyrics from experience and feelings we have during our own life.

If you listen to our songs you can really understand there’s something that binds everything which is not the genre.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We would say we’ve evolved as musicians and composers rather than our music’s evolved. We’re still writing what we want, without any boundary and we love what we’re doing: we’re just better in what and how we play and write!

Has the growth within the band in music, experiment etc. been an organic process or more the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

We always wanted to try new things so actually nothing’s changed since 2004 from this side: probably being mature musicians affected our way to play and compose music and you can probably hear that on our latest releases.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

We grew up with completely different music backgrounds and this colourful music palette brought the unique sound we have today. We are big fans of Queen and Muse, as you might have already understood :), but also Pink Floyd, Metallica, System Of A Down, U2, Depeche Mode, or even some heavier stuff like Slipknot.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band?

Normally Rox brings the main ideas and Luca some lyrics inspiration: back to our earlier days we used to mainly compose our songs in the rehearsal room but now, thanks to technology we often produce full demos on the computer.

We actually have to do this way also because Marco and Kristal are living in Italy and rehearsing would be definitely not very much affordable. 🙂

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Lyrics are mostly inspired by our everyday experiences and translated into a more poetic and hermetic way.

We talk about love and death, and human life: as we do for our music, we don’t have any limit in our lyrics’ themes as well!

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

We’ve released our latest EP in June 2015 just before we moved to the UK. Its name is Awakening and is actually a mini concept album. It’s an ambient Prog Rock opera which will delve into your inner core.

We are currently producing our new album with Muse early producer Paul Reeve (Showbiz), and we have already released three new singles: Mars-X, Perfect Love and Five Days To Shine. They are very different from our past works, simpler song structures, more melodic but still very ‘creative’. Someone said: ‘If Muse and Deftones met in a pub and had a cheeky couple of Sambucca’s and hit the town and ended the night with a ride on a spaceship, that’s exactly what this song sounds like.’

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Our latest song, Five Days To Shine, is very personal and we think the more you listen to it (or watch the video) the more you understand that. It basically talks about a man who waits for five days to know his fate with his girl. He thinks that’ll be alright but he knows the future isn’t bright.

We made the video representing this man as a kind of ‘creator’, who’s trying everything to restore what he’s lost but eventually he gives up. We filmed it in a stunning place in Manchester called Hulme Hyppodrome.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We used to go into the studio with rough demos and we’ve always struggled to work with limited time. That’s why now we tend to basically go to record with all the songs pretty much finished, so that we can concentrate on instruments’ sound and performances.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We’d define our live shows as heavy metal. Even though our music is mainly rock, The Lotus as a live act is more energetic, more aggressive. I think that’s one of our main strengths. We have played more than 120 shows in our career but we’re definitely looking for doubling it within the next few years!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

We are coming from a different background which is in Italy, so we’ve definitely found a more fertile place to keep on growing our seeds.

However, these days it seems more and more difficult to have a solid fan base which follows you everywhere ‘physically’ and not only on social media.

If you’re not convinced on what you’re doing it’s better you choose another job!

Talking of social media, how has the internet impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?

We think internet and social media are both good and bad thing.

They really give anyone the opportunity to get out from the anonymity and be the star you always wanted to be, but the problem starts when music is not enough anymore. You really need to let everyone come into your life. Everyone must know who you are, what you are doing, when you are doing it. Even all the pretty small things you want to keep secret; just let them go and share them with everyone. We find this a bit scary but that’s what it is now, so you have to get used to it. And we are getting used to it!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

2018 will bring a lot of new things: we will go back to the studio to finish recording the album between March and April. Then we are expecting to release the fourth single as soon as we have everything in its place and the album immediately after that. If you want to be updated on what we’re doing you can visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thelotusofficial  or our website www.the-lotus.com . Thank you!

Pete RingMaster 08/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Winter Storm – Within The Frozen Design

 

WS3

    Listening to the potent and promise soaked Within The Frozen Design, you easily get the feeling that UK symphonic metallers Winter Storm are poised to move up into a more intensive limelight. Whether this, their second album is the spring board time will tell but it is hard not to expect on a near horizon to see the band making a big contribution at the fore of the genre. The twelve track release has issues which make you query if their time is quite yet but simultaneously provides an absorbing and skilful melodic embrace which only raises and stretches a keen appetite for the band and its expressive sound.

     From the West Midlands, the quintet has earned a strong reputation and loyal following with their dark melodic metal, a sound honed through gothic shadows and symphonic atmospheres. Formed in 2008, Winter Storm were soon gripping attention live, supporting the likes of Alestorm, Sirenia, Theatres Des Vampires, To Mera, and Sarah Jezebel Deva early on before going on to share stages with the likes of Delain, Die So Fluid, The Birthday Massacre, ReVamp, The Lotus and many more. Debut album Serenity In Darkness of 2010 drew critical acclaim its way as have numerous festival appearances over recent years to cement and increase the band’s stature within British melodic metal. Now the strongly anticipated self-released Within The Frozen Design brings 2014 into a sharp focus for the band and its fans, an album if not setting raging fires undoubtedly reaffirms the creative strength and impressive potential of Winter Storm.

     As the album title, and band name come to that, suggests the tracks frequent a chilled and icily haunting realm but one clad in WS-coverbeauty and a melodic artistry which only warms. From the opening scene and drama setting intro Cold Creation, the album is soon caging ears in a rhythmic probing and brooding intensity as Wasted Feelings opens its arms. Its initial riffs seem predatory with an attitude to match the punchy rhythms barracking the senses. Equally though there is a breeze of synth colour floating over and through the aggressive touch of the track, its melodic soothing eventually tempering the snarl of the song ready for the impressive tones of vocalist Hannah Fieldhouse. Her voice is rich and tempting but with a restraint which sets her pleasingly apart from many other female fronted genre bands. The track provides an unpredictable expanse of sound and twists which without being startling in their impact only seduce the fullest attention on and satisfaction with its feisty yet elegant narrative.

     The following Shadow Weaver like its predecessor makes a forceful and rapacious entrance; riffs and rhythms a cage of antagonistic intent wrapped in more keys sculpted temptation. Dark with a gothic ambience, the song again guided by great vocals flirts with and triggers the imagination as it ventures through a rugged landscape of heavy riffs and sonic enterprise. Pretty much like the album the song is a slowly persuasive encounter but one which proves its strength and quality through deliberate attention. The same can be said of the next up Symmetric Flow, a captivating wind of melodic vocals and endeavour within a sturdy and uncompromising heavy metal frame. Again the offering is not as instant to convince as you would maybe expect or like but unveils plenty to enthuse about upon closer attention. That is one of the ‘problems’ of the album, tracks do not leap out and grip preferring a slower seduction but this comes with a need to fully extend a concentrated focus on the album to reap it’s definitely existing  rewards. It is hard to be critical though even if listeners need patience when immersing in the album.

    Afraid To Speak steps up next, gently wrapping a sultry breeze of melodic enchantment around thoughts if again without sparking any major reaction; that power is left to its successor Beneath The Mystery. The track also springs from a reserved start to open up sinew driven riffing and heavily striking rhythms within the keys designed eighties sounding gothic weave which feels seeded in the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and Play Dead by. It is a fiery encounter yet one which does not erupt or stretch its attributes as far as you expect or would like, again an accusation you can make on Within The Frozen Design as a whole.

   After the brief but decent enough instrumental Broken World, the album undulates a little but keeps the listener enthused starting with the impressive Universal Design, a track offering another accomplished and magnetic web of gothic and symphonic metal with a bite and almost antagonistic breath. It provides sizeable bait for the senses to devour eagerly before the enjoyable if underwhelming Gatekeeper shows its class. It is sandwiched between the previous track and the equally thrilling Dark Awakening, the song a heavy footed shadowed drenched beast with radiant beauty casting ripe melodic tantalising. As elsewhere the guitar craft and imagination is an irresistible lure whilst the epic tone of the track is aggressively bewitching.

     Completed by the overlong but appealing instrumental Waves Of Misery and the final slice of gothic allurement of The Frozen Siren, the album is a pleasing and enticing encounter. The cloudy production at times does the release no favours, cloaking some of the piercing strengths of instruments and voice but Winter Storm and Within The Frozen Design emerge from it with strength and quality. As mentioned earlier the album does not ignite a fire in the passions but definitely provides company which only invites the fullest satisfaction.

www.winter-storm.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 22/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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