Interview with Doc Marten | Lotus Feed

Lotus Feed 2Lotus Feed has been in our Top albums of the year lists for 2 years consecutively. They emerged to the new decade with a fresh sound that has a lot of ingredients from the old school. It’s one of those bands that are easily recognized because of their sound. We had a conversation with their guitarist Doc Marten a few weeks ago. ► by Oskar Terramortis

Hi Doc, how’s it going? Almost the first must question in all my interviews is about the beginning of the band. How did you guys end up together?

Doc: Hi Oskar, everything’s fine so far…thanks a lot! To get into the topics let me say first that though Lotus Feed was founded in 1995 it was not really the birth of THAT Lotus Feed you discovered a year or two ago… we see 2009 as the date for coming out as the band that we are now known as.

In fact David (our drummer) and Alex (our vocalist) are the two founding members that are still in the band, but during the period of nearly 15 years, members came and went and it seemed impossible then to keep up a proper work, not to think of releases or gigs outside our hometown. It was more like a hobby thing and also regarding the music it was completely different… more a “normal” garage rock thing, I’d say…After Lars (our bassist) and I joined the band things changed completely and very quick. We both had very clear imaginations of what we wanted to achieve and put all or creative power into that… what we still do, of course.

It’s necessary to ask, in which bands did you play before Lotus Feed? Because you’re about my age, or more.

DOC MARTENDoc: Well… as many colleagues of my age i’d been playing in many bands and projects over the years. I’m doing that now since more than 30 years. I started things in the early 80ies, but more on my own… home recording projects with a 4 track tape, primitive rhythm computers and very very cheap equipment around… partly quite experimental. In these days I was very much into Andy Summers, Brian Eno, Tuxedomoon and stuff like that… In the mid 80’S I formed a band called “Second Face” which sounded a bit like a very basic version of The Cure mixed with Simple Minds and U2 (as they sounded back then).

In fact we have two songs in the repertoire of Lotus Feed that originate from that band (“Wake up” and “My manner of painting”). After disbanding I’ve been playing in some more New Wave and Indie-Bands till the mid-90’s. At that time I was totally fed up with Grunge music and having seen Post Punk and New Wave dying so I decided to look in a completely different direction: Metal! Suddenly I have found food for my frustration and aggression… Machine Head, Fear Factory, Pantera, Death and Thrash Metal in general – I had discovered a new form of beauty.

So it didn’t last long for me to join a band again and start playing a completely different style – but I loved it very much. I kept doing that until January 2011. During this period Lotus Feed became quite successful and my band-mates from “Damage Source” (the metal band I co-founded) gave me 2 options: stay with them – and ONLY them (…and remaining in the local area) or leave and keep doing my Lotus Feed thing… I decided within seconds. Think we all know the answer.

Watching your biography Lotus Feed was born in 1995, but your debut album came out in 2011. What happened between 1995 and 2010, when your EP “A Savage Breath Within Our Lives” came out?

Doc: Think I have answered this question already. But to get a bit into it more deeply, it is to say that David and Alex have worked a lot in those years. When I joined the band in 2009 they had lots of songs and material but it did not really fit into the context of what the band represents nowadays. What we did was to go through all the material and distillate what later became part of “A savage breath within our lives” and “A different place”. The whole rest remains a kind of “mystery” of the early days…

There’s no mystery behind your sound, your music sounds sometimes like The Chameleons, The Cure, even The Smiths. What can you tell us about the background of Lotus Feed?

LOTUS FEED 3Doc: It’s true, we never claimed to invent something new! Our music is the result of our influences and what we love and use to listen to. But tell me, which musician does not?! I always get a bit angry about when journalists and promoters say: “yeah, they are okay but we can’t see any innovation in that…” For that reason we insist in pointing out that this never has been our aim! Those people haven’t understood…pure ignorance! What is so wrong about being nostalgic and NOT always trying to find a new frontier… There are also many really good contemporary painters and sculptors that produce art in “conservative” ways. I cannot see what should be wrong with that?

Your debut album, A Different Place, was one of the best albums of 2011, in my opinion. Your sound is very particular. How was the reaction of the press and the fans, concerning the album?

A Different PlaceDoc: Thanks a lot for that, Oskar! We had loads of very positive reactions on “A different place”… Many good reviews and suddenly we realized that we had reached a quite huge public… that was a new experience for us. Thanks to Internet/social media. Promoters now were more interested and we had to play much more gigs than in former times. The strange thing for me personally was, that the production of the album was more low level but for that in a special way quite authentic. It could have been recorded back in the 80’s – maybe that is it’s secret!?

What can you tell me about the free single you put online a few weeks ago? Is the name of this single “Lotus Feed”?

Doc: There is no particular reason to pass on a title for that single. It’s only been a single and I decided to leave it without any title. We are not the first ones to do so… The two songs of that single are completely remixed and remastered versions of tracks that have already been released on “A savage breath within our lives”. I hated the poor sound quality of the original recordings and decided to work on them once more. That single is the result of that and should be regarded as a “digital collectors item”…

Your second full length “SO Close So Far” was released at the end of 2012, and I think a lot of people were waiting for it. (Feel free to explain every song briefly.) Can you tell us something about the process between “From A Different Place” to “So Close So Far”?

SO CLOSE ...SO FARDoc: The title of the album is literally. We chose it because the production of “So close …so far” was accompanied by many technical problems and we often had that feeling of: “Damn… all seems so close, but also things are so far (away)…” A very simple thing, haha… In general I can say that most of the songs of the album have been written in the period after we had signed with afmusic in 2011 and we had many occasions to test them on stage long before recording them. The audience seemed to like the stuff very much and so we decided to step into pre-recording sessions in autumn/winter 2011.

The main difference to our debut album is that we did the drum recordings via MIDI drums this time. So we had much more opportunities to edit the sound afterwards, even miking and experimenting with lots of different drum sets. But that wasn’t as easy as we thought in the beginning. When we were quite deep in the recording phase our workstation broke down and so later on we had to do dozens of installations anew, files were destroyed… all that shit you do not want to handle during the recording process. So in the end the sessions lasted from march until summer 2012. after that I did the mixing and I can say this time I seem to have managed my master in sound engineering, haha… It took very much time for me but now I can say that I’m able to produce on my own. I’ve learned my skills in these days. Regarding the songs I would say that they are way more complex and have more depth and richness in sound. We wanted to give them something huge and majestical. I think it worked… On the next album this will be completely different!

I don’t want to comment on every song of the album, only a few words on some of them, because I think generally they speak for themselves.

DRIFT: The “majestical” opening track – Preparation for what is to be expected on the following.

LOVESHOCK: A completely new interpretation of a song with the same title we originally had on our first EP (important for us, because we didn’t like the original version).

HOME OF THE WATCHMEN: 80ies sound at it’s best I think, quick, danceable, full of energy.

UPON A HILL: Groovy, melodic and an essential song that is very typical for Lotus Feed!

SECOND SKIN: Our most loved song by our all time faves THE CHAMELEONS – our interpretation… not too far from the original but with a bit of LOTUS FEED-”Skin”. It was my personal wish to have that song on the album and I’m proud of it!

I know there will be some surprise for the next spring. Can you tell us something about it?

Doc: If I would tell you about it wouldn’t be a secret any more, haha… So please be a little bit patient and you’ll hear soon… One thing: We plan to release an EP following up “So close …so far”, which will include one very special track with guest vocals performed by a friend of us who might be quite well known in the scene…

What are the plans for the band this year?

Doc: We will promote our new album of course! There are plans for lots of gigs and hopefully festivals too… Besides that we have already started with working on the next album. We have lots of new songs already and pre-production has begun… be prepared!

I heard from someone that you have a plan to make a professional video clip. Is that true?

Doc: Yes there are plans and we are already dealing with ideas for that. We are still discussing which song it will be… depending on the choice a plot must be written but I’m very sure this won’t last too long! In the end it is always a question of budget…

Any plans to re-release your debut EP, since you now have a certain reputation?

Maybe at a proper time… We have no plans for that. There has also been the idea of re-recording “A different place” in a more professional manner, but I’m of the opinion that we have to focus on other things. We have so much ideas and material to work on and as long as we are that creative I don’t see a necessity to put energy in already incubated eggs…

Do you have any favorite artist or band in this new millennium?

… for me the most underrated band of the last years and sadly they disbanded too quick! In my opinion the result of a maximum of ignorance the scene could show when an interesting new act appears without all that hype shit going along with it! They didn’t need any posing or artificial attitude – same as us…

What do you think about the revival of old school and the new third wave?
Doc: To be honest I must say I have never heard about that term “THIRD WAVE”! What exactly does it mean?
My interpretation is the following: The FIRST Wave could be what started in the late 70ies when Punk was dead and that thing Post Punk/New Wave/No Wave etc. started…right? Then, after nearly a decade there came probably a SECOND WAVE dealing with some familiar aspects. Bands as LOVE LIKE BLOOD, LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, ROSETTA STONE etc. came along… nothing new but nice sounding and fortunately no Grunge or other 90ies stuff like that… THE THIRD WAVE might then consist of bands having appeared since the Millennium.

For me personally relevant acts would be EDITORS, INTERPOL, A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS, HORRORS, DRAGONS, MISERYLAB only to name a few…

None of them did something really new. And that’s okay! They all try to play music that has its roots very very deep in musical history by giving it their own special label – as LOTUS FEED do! I dare to say that all was heard and all was said already and it is only a question of particular aesthetics and attitudes going along with new acts and releases. Promoters and DJ’s decide what is to be “hip” and to be listened to. It depends on artists wether they follow or do not! We don’t!



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