I first saw Lotus Ship back in 2016 at a single launch for IVEY at Elsewhere. I remember hearing about the boys, but never yet having the chance to see what they were about. I was instantly enraptured by the band. The energy. The musicianship. The song writing. Although they were the openers, they had just as much to offer as the headliners and Peach Fur. And the crowd seemed to love them just as much. I hadn’t seen too much from the band in recent years besides making appearances on a few different line-ups, including a support slot for Californian due The Garden, and had often wondered what the group were up to. Turns out, they were off cooking up some tasty musical offerings, dropping their first single since 2015 Digital Future just last week.
The track begins with a lengthy bass intro as a digital soundscape creeps in, creating a technologically inspired atmosphere. The drums and guitars kick in eventually, with tones reminiscent of 1970’s psychedelic rock. The intro goes on for almost 2 minutes before vocalist Mitchell Watterson’s distinct voice surfaces. His voice is soft and inviting as the music creeps along steadily behind him. The song’s main riff is infectious with an explosive chorus. The lyrics are subdued yet purposeful, brilliantly critiquing the current social landscape and how harshly human connectivity has been impacted by the expectations bred from the popularisation and pseudo-importance of social media. “I see your good side looks better online… but you’ll keep on pretending” sings Watterson in the first verse. The song ends much like it began, with a HUGE musical outro, before the bass and the drums are isolated as the question lingers in the listeners’ mind; “Was it worth all the gold you were searching for?”.
I was lucky enough to have the group’s bassist Christian Kafritsas spare some time to sit down and answer a few questions I was dying to know about the band!
You’ve just released your single Digital Future, your first single since your 2015 ‘First Stop’ EP. How does it feel to get this amazing single out in to the world, and what is the track ‘about’?
We feel like a lot of the pressure is now off our backs. It’s such a sense of relief! We can now move forward from songs that we have working on for four years and we’re so happy with the love it’s received so far.
Digital Future is mainly about this new day and age where everyone has got a phone in their pockets and its either a really good or a really bad thing. Depends on what you watch or read.
As a first taste to your upcoming second EP, how do you think your writing has differed from what you already have out in the world?
‘First Stop’ was recorded with former members of the band which encapsulated that sound at the time. We may sound slightly different now, but the writing has stayed the same with Mitchell Watterson (vocals & guitar) usually the first to bring in an idea which we’ll work out as a band.
I love the direction with the sound and especially the super cool album art! What kind of concepts are you exploring with the new project?
Thank you very much! We brought in Tommy Gordon’s (guitarist) brother, Bennett Gordon, into the creative process to do our artwork. He’s an incredible artist that’s been able to design something from nothing. He was very patient and captured the theme of the single so well with mental health and the struggles of new wave technologies.
What do you think is one of the most important things you learnt in your time between both projects?
Patience. Creating and recording music can’t be rushed! But, at the same time, there’s deadlines that have to be met so leave more than enough time to make sure you’re not cutting time short at the end of the process. Especially in the studio.
Where does the name ‘Lotus Ship’ come from? And how does this name reflect your group and overall band identity?
To be honest, I don’t know! I believe Mitchell came up with the band name and I have my theories as to how he came up with it, but he won’t admit it!
As a 4-piece band, what does your songwriting process look like? Do you have a primary songwriter, a mix of writers or is it predominately a group effort?
Mitchell is our main man with song writing and lyrics. He’ll be the first to bring in an idea or song which he’ll show to the rest of the band so can write on our own parts. We all have our songs we’ve written but Mitchell has the most song writing credits.
With a fairly large local following for your live shows, is there anything you’ve learnt from establishing this as a self-managed group?
Our local crowd on the Gold Coast have been really accepting of us. During our time away from playing, you worry that people have forgotten about us but luckily the weekend of shows proved that theory wrong and showed us that we still got it!
I’m a HUGE fan of the psych rock fusion sound of your band! What are some standout records/ artists that helped establish and influence this?
We are all different in some way shape or form. We’re influenced by a lot of bands and solo acts ranging from classic rock, metal and hip hop so it’s really hard to state them all. To name a few, together we listen to a lot of Stone Temple Pilots, King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, Pink Floyd and King Crimson and heaps of 90s bands.
I see you recorded a bulk of your newest works over the pandemic period. What were some of the positives and negatives for you guys being working musicians during this time?
We were all affected due to COVID, whether we lost our jobs or had work hours cut short, but it was our only opportunity to use that whole period to record. Our producer, Scott Skirving from QSound, is usually very busy travelling playing gigs but, since he was stuck here, we managed to lock in a lot of studio time with him.
How else where you keeping yourselves entertained during COVID?
Again, I think we all handled it very differently, but we’ll go with whiskey and PS2 video games.
What’s the best memory you guys have had as a band so far? Whether it be a recording session, a live show, anything that stands out!
Would have to be the recording process, although it’s a very strenuous and mentally draining time. We really had a ball feeling like an actual bunch of musicians in a studio! We just messed around and had a lot of fun!
As a fairly prevalent local act, who are some of your other favourite bands on the scene?
The list is endless but just to name a few: Sky in July, Luja Murfi, Lens, Peach Fur, Echowave, The Lonesomes, Radolescent, Die for Mushies; we could go on and on! The Gold Coast gets neglected, but we honestly have such a diverse music scene.
If you could collaborate with one artist/ band/ group in the world dead or alive, who would you choose?
Again, we all have our different answers, but Mitchell worships Mike Patton so let’s go with that.
Any tips for anyone reading who might want to start their own band?
Don’t treat it like a business. Treat it like an orgy.
What does 2021 look like for Lotus Ship?
We’ll we’ve just dropped our new single Digital Future and there’s a music video for it which will be out soon. We hope to play as many gigs as possible and without giving too much away. Digital Future isn’t the last bit of new music we’ll release this year.
Digital Future is available on all platforms.
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