LOTUS
Quartet Conspiracy
Record Heaven Records

Sweden’s Lotus first came to our attention through A Taster For The Big One EP, which featured Thin Lizzy axeman Brian Robertson. Since then we’ve been huge fans of the ‘70s-bred three-piece. Track any of their three discs (Taster, Complete Fruitage and newest Quartet Conspiracy) and you’ll find that much like Mountain, Cactus and Iron Butterfly these Swedes lock down tight with progressive flare, earthy blends and emotional melodies. The following is an excerpt from our interview with Nik, the bands guitarist/vocalist:

“I’ve always liked the idea of being ‘only’ three people playing together. There’s enough space for everyone in the band to fill out, and you also get a certain kind of energy out of a trio. After concerts, people say things like: ‘Man! You guys sound like seven people!’. But we’ve never planned or decided how we should sound. We play together and let the music take us wherever it wants.

“Yet with our latest CD Quartet Conspiracy we expanded the band into a full four piece. When we first met Brian (Robertson) and played together, we had a lot of fun, and after a gig the idea of making an album together came up. So we formed ourselves as a quartet around this project, although the three of us in Lotus wrote all of the music. We’ve always brought in other musicians on our recordings, simply because it broadens your mind and takes you forward as a musician.

“It does change the sound of the band but it’s a natural development. John Norum (Europe) added a nice bit on Peace In Mind. We first met John at a gig in Sala, Sweden, brought him on stage and did a couple of Lizzy songs. It was great! I mean - Lotus with Robbo and John, on all three guitars. I can tell you; we did set a fat decibel record that night.”

Below is our complete interview with Nik from Lotus:

TCE: For Quartet Conspiracy you expanded the band into a full four piece, why?

Nik:
When we first met Brian and played together, we had a lot of fun, and after a gig the idea of making an album together came up. So we formed ourselves as a quartet around this project, although the three of us in Lotus wrote all of the music. We’ve always brought in other musicians on our recordings, simply because it broadens your mind and takes you forward as a musician.

TCE: How has it changed the sound of the band?

Nik:
Well, we all play our instruments the way we see fit, and Brian most certainly added his personal touch to the album. But I think this record was a natural development of the "Lotus style", with or without Robbo.

TCE: Recently Stoner Rock has become quite popular. Do you think parts of Quartet Conspiracy fit into that category?

Nik:
I´m not all that good at putting lables on music, but No, I don’t think so.

TCE: John Norum added a nice bit on Peace Of Mind. How did that come about? He is a huge fan of the ‘70s sound, what was it like working with him?

Nik:
We first met john at a gig in Sala, Sweden, brought him on stage and did a couple of Lizzy songs. It was great! I mean - Lotus with Robbo and John, in all three guitars! Playing "Massacre". I can tell you, we did set a fat decibel record that night. John is one of the nicest guys I’ve met. Extremely professional, talented, and very humble. It was just as fun having him with us in the studio as playing with him live!

TCE: In the US it seems bands have to fit inside a neat musical box. Do you think being from Sweden expands you musical boundaries in that you are not put into such a ridged genre?

Nik:
Yes, perhaps being from Sweden and having a small, but interested, record company, helps us from doing what is expected in the "rock world". Musically, we’re allowed to do almost whatever we want.

TCE: Where did the name of the band originate?

Nik:
Lotus, part from being a strong and "easy to remember" name, came from reading about the lotus flower which through history has had a strong mythological value.

TCE: Blocking Out the Sun, Great Favorite Star and Genetic Jesus are all unique to the band’s sound. How does the band write songs and is it equally distributed among all the players?

Nik:
As I mentioned before, we play together and build the songs together. I write some of the lyrics, and Tomas some, but the music comes out of jamming, and Hans has an equally big part in that work.

TCE: Your lyrics take on some heavy issues; Prayer of peace echoes in people’s hearts/Money and corruption tear the world apart. Is there still room for the fun’ in rock and roll among political angst?

Nik:
I think it’s important to mix fun with serious issues, and I can promise you that a live concert with Lotus contains a lot of laughs. I mean, I write about things around me, and we all have "black" as well as "white" moments.

TCE: Do you still have influences? Who and what are they?

Nik:
As you can hear in our music, we have a lot of influences from the 60´s and 70´s. But we also listen to new music, and I think everything you listen to, influences you. Old bands worth mentioning are: Zeppelin, Mountain, Hendrix, Captain Beyond, Purple, Zappa Highway Robbery, Black Sabbath, Bloodrock, but there are of course many, many more....

TCE: What have you learned in all your years as a musician?

Nik:
That music is one of the ultimate ways of communicating. And one of the ultimate ways of having fun! But I guess you never can learn enough as a musician. There are new experiences out there, just waiting for you.

TCE: Why the top hat?

Nik:
Hehe....well, I bought the hat at a festival a couple of years ago, thought it looked cool, and besides – I’ve always liked hats.

TCE: What is your gear set up on stage? Does it differ from the recording studio?

Nik:
I prefer playing Gibson guitars. The only effects I use are wah-wahs and sometimes a phaser. I’ve had many different amps, but some years ago I bought a Peavey Ultra (60W top), and I almost always use it when we play live. When it comes to recording, I often use Marshall amps (both 50w´s and 100W´s), together with the Peavey, in order to get different sounds. But I always avoid extra distortion boxes.

TCE: What is your favorite guitar that you own?

Nik:
My black Gibson Les Paul Studio. Looks great, sounds great!

TCE: Have you ever played the Hell festival in Norway?

Nik:
No, but if they call us, we´re coming at once!

TCE: What was you most memorable gig?

Nik:
Hmm...We´ve had many great gigs, but perhaps together with Thin Lizzy in Stockholm ´99, or "Sweden Rock Festival" the same year.

TCE: Thanks for taking the time.

Nik:
Thank YOU!

The band's new website is:
www.lotus.now.nu