This Thursday, Disc Jam Music Festival commences at Gardner’s Farm in Stephentown, NY for its 8th annual installment. It should go without saying, but this summer’s lineup boasts the most impressive collection of regional, national and international talent this special event has ever delivered. With acts like Lotus, Beats Antique, Joker, and Electron, Tony Scavone and his team at Disc Jam has built a weekend of music, art, disc golf and workshops that could entertain even the most uninterested individual.
To preface the festival, we’ve conducted a series of interviews with different musicians on this year’s lineup to provide a glimpse behind the curtain and a preview for the weekend ahead. To kick things off we caught up with Luke Miller (guitar, keys) of Lotus to talk about the band’s forthcoming studio album, their first appearance at Disc Jam, and their recent Spring Tour. Lotus celebrates 20 years of jamtronica prowess in 2019, and begins its summer festival season this Saturday with a headlining set. Tickets for the weekend’s festivities can still be bought at this link, with single passes and weekend wristbands available for purchase.
Sound Fix: Hey Luke, thanks for taking some time here to catch up ahead of Disc Jam this weekend. To start, fill me in on where you are now and what’s been going on with you and Lotus over the past couple weeks.
Luke Miller: We just wrapped up our Spring Tour at the end of April, so I’m back home now in Denver taking some time off and focusing on a few other things outside of touring.
SF: What’s been the center of your focus with this time off? Any studio work?
LM: There’s no studio work this month, we actually just finished mixing a new record, probably a double record actually, so we wrapped that up in April as well. The month of May has been some much needed downtime ahead of what’s shaping up to be a busy Summer.
SF: Cool. So tell me about this record and what Lotus fans can expect from the new release.
LM: There’s no firm release date at the moment, but we recorded the entire LP live in the studio. It’s all instrumental, and we’re aiming for more of that live vibe. It’s going to be a cool release, and we have accompanying videos of all the live performances in the studio, which should make for a unique document of each song.
SF: Where did the band record the double record?
LM: We recorded this one in North Philadelphia in Germantown, the studio owned by the former percussionist from Boyz II Men. He’s a big world music guy and has a cool studio up in Philly. Then we mixed the album at our normal place in Philly, Miner Street Studios, where we’ve mixed the last couple records. They have a whole analogue chain setup to mix on where we can get a nice warm sound, and a soundboard that was used on some Talking Heads and David Bowie records. Really cool studio that works great for the band.
SF: You mentioned before this new double record is an instrumental album, but taking this one step further, how would you characterize and compare this release to previous projects?
LM: Well it’s funky, psychedelic, groovy, and deviates from Eat the Light in that it’s purely instrumental.
SF: Do you have a favorite song?
LM: Yeah I’ve got a couple! It hasn’t been mastered yet, though, so it’s in the phases where it’s waiting for that final polish. After that, I’ll have a better answer.
SF: Let’s veer away from the new album here to talk about upcoming shows, specifically Disc Jam. The festival is this weekend (Thursday June 7th – Sunday June 10th), and it’s the first time Lotus has performed at the event. Tell us about Disc Jam and what we can expect from Lotus this weekend.
LM: So as you mentioned, this will be our first time playing Disc Jam and we’re all excited to perform on Saturday. Just by looking at the lineup, it seems like a really cool event. I don’t know much about the festival but am looking forward to the weekend!
SF: It’s one of our favorite festivals. It has two adjacent main stages, similar to Lockn’ in a way, which allows one mainstage band to set up while the other performs. There’s also a tent stage similar to “That Tent” and “The Other Tent” at Bonnaroo, as well as a stage nestled away in the woods which is used for late night shows and electronic music. There’s also a Disc Golf tournament running all weekend, hence “Disc” Jam, which adds a unique texture to the event.
LM: Sounds great, can’t wait.
SF: You mentioned you thought the lineup looked cool. Besides Lotus, what’s an act that stand out this weekend at Disc Jam?
LM: Definitely Galactic. Stanton Moore is one of the best drummers out there!
SF: Taking a step back here to look at the past, what was a highlight from Lotus’s Spring Tour?
LM: Playing here in Colorado, we performed two shows up in Aspen at this small club called The Belly Up. That was certainly a highlight. Sometimes tours start to blur together, but Aspen was great. I also got sick towards the end of the tour!
SF: What did you come down with?
LM: The flu. It caused me to lose my voice and run a fever, so that kind of wiped me out.
SF: Sorry to hear! That must be particularly taxing when you’re a touring musician.
LM: Well it’s part of the job, and luckily no one else got sick so we didn’t have to cancel any shows.
SF: While we’re on the topic of touring, when you have down time on the road, is there something in particular you like to do with your free time?
LM: Everyone has there own thing, but I always like to go to the local rock climbing gym to get in some climbing and some much needed excercise.
SF: Well, hopefully you can find a gym near Stephentown, New York this weekend! Luke – always a pleasure and thanks for your time.