Hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, youngsters in LOTUS bring a fresh wave of groovy punk hardcore to the table. They know exactly what they want, how they want it and when they want it. So after playing together for a number of years they have carefuly scheduled the release of their 8-track album Israel on November 22nd. I spoke with frontman Jelle Laurijssen to introduce LOTUS and tell me a little bit more about the upcoming 10″.
LOTUS has been around since 2010. How come the first record will only be released this year?
“Well, Bert combines LOTUS with playing the drums in Redding. And Jasper and Jente, our guitarist and bass player, had their hands pretty full with Accept The Change until September 2012. But I would be lying if I said that they ever considered LOTUS to be a mere side project.
The truth is that I was pretty averse to record anything. I have always considered LOTUS to be a pretty personal project. So, recording our music and “letting it loose on the masses” would mean turning something that is very dear to me into a commodity. At least, that’s the thought that played in the back of my mind.
But about a year ago I started seeing things in a different perspective: all the time and effort we’ve been investing in LOTUS would simply go to waste if we wouldn’t have something to remember it all by. So, here it is: Israel, an auditory chronicle of four years of LOTUS.”
So how do people interact at shows and get to know your songs?
“We’ve only recently made our first song public and we haven’t played any shows since, so I don’t think there’s anybody that really knows any of our songs yet. As far as interaction goes: it’s still us against the crowd, which leaves us with enough breathing space. The main reason I’m in LOTUS is to achieve some form of catharsis. And the intensity all four of us lay in playing our music is an excellent way to clear our heads for a while. So whenever those three beautiful guys behind me start playing our music, it seems to pick me up and carry me all over the venue. So it’s a great thing we have room for that.”
How did you come up with the band name?
“We wanted our band name to consist of a single word. So some time prior to our first try-out, Jasper suggested we name the band LOTUS as a reference to a Shipwreck A.D. song on the album Abyss. ‘Squall’, another song on that record, was one of the first songs we played together to see whether things would work out and it was the first song we ever played live. That was during an Accept The Change set at JH Mussenakker in Meer (Belgium). Another reason why Jasper, a talented graphic designer, chose LOTUS is because the concept of the lotus flower appealed to him. So he presented it and we all agreed.”
Please define your sound in three words and elaborate on that.
“This is a tough one… As far as band comparisons go, I’ve known people to recognise a bit of Ceremony, Blacklisted and Shipwreck A.D. in our music. But I don’t really know about that. I think the three keywords that might describe LOTUS best would be:
Unpretentious: Our music is what it is. We have never had to live up to the expectations of other people. And if we would at some point, we probably won’t. We don’t have an agenda and don’t have any ambitions of going big. We just want to play our music. It is what it is.
Spontaneous: Our songs are not the result of a meticulous and elaborate creation process, but come into being rather naturally and spontaneously. In fact, the songs we’re most enthusiastic about were probably made in the timespan of an hour. I really think that if we’d start overthinking things, we would take out that organic groove that makes us feel at home in LOTUS.
Sincere: People shouldn’t interpret this as a reproach or as being snobbish, but I really can’t see us play anything other than heartfelt music. Party hardcore bands, spoof bands, cover bands and the like, they just mean very little to me.”
“Israel” will be released on 10″ vinyl on November 22nd containing eight tracks. What’s the story behind this release?
“Well, Israel is the result of two recording sessions with Nico van Montfort of XPZ Sound. When we first hit the studio in October 2013, we only had time to record all the instruments and the vocals for four songs. That was actually a good thing, because the lyrics for the other four songs still weren’t completely finished. We booked our second recording session with Nico for April 2014, which bought me some time to get writing again. I actually finished the lyrics for ‘L’Appel du Vide’ on our way to Nijmegen.
I don’t feel comfortable about going into detail on what I’ve written about. I try to write pretty personal, though rather cryptic than straightforward. But I will tell you this: Israel’ reads as an a-chronological diary that spans my days as a teenager till how I feel and look at things as an adult today.
The release show will take place on 22 November in JH Zigzag, a small youth club in Merksplas (Belgium). And it took us some time and negotiating, but we’ve managed to compose a line-up with nothing but bands we really like. So we’re really looking forward to it.”
“We don’t aspire to be the new Dead Stop, Rise and Fall or Oathbreaker, but we really want to get this record out and start touring. That’s why we are trying to get some momentum in this whole project. We’ll see how that works out.”