Luke and Jesse Miller of Lotus to bring solo acts to River Street Jazz Cafe in Wilkes-Barre
Luke and Jesse Miller made Wilkes-Barre dance before. As founding members of the electronic jam-rock group Lotus, the brothers frequented the area before the band secured its status as a mainstay on the theater and festival circuits. What started with one successful gig at Murray’s turned into recurring appearances at the River Street Jazz Cafe in front of impressive crowds of Northeastern Pennsylvanians who showed up to rock and rave.
Now the pair is returning to the Jazz Cafe on Nov. 12 with their solo projects with a show dubbed Luke the Knife vs. Beard-o-Bees, and they hope some of the local faithful will come out and dance again. Luke Miller, who plays guitar and keyboards in Lotus, will set up behind his DJ table, sampling and remixing, in Luke the Knife, and Jesse, who plays bass and sampler in the band, will play improvisational electronic music for the house.
“Beard o’ Bees for me … started as sort of an outlet for different production, starting into remixes and things of that nature, slightly more electronic production, but kind of a way to be able to hash out techniques that I could bring back to Lotus and delve a litte bit more into the electronic world,” Jesse Miller said. “And that’s moved more in the direction of analog synth.”
Miller said he’ll bring out several sytnthesizers including a modular synth and a Moog synth, and the act will be him in front of what looks like a telephone operator’s switch board producing and writing music on the fly using rich analog sounds. He noted his style is a throwback to the work of artists like Kraftwerk and Acid House.
“(Luke’s) is much more of a DJ project,” Jesse said. “He’s playing a lot of his own edits and mixes of a range of stuff, but it’s described as pseudo-disco, indie dance, house, so he’s definitely coming at it a bit more from a pop side in a lot of ways. It’s more of that style of really well arranged edits and harmonic mixing and pushing that realm.”
The music starts at 10 p.m., Nov. 12 and the cover charge is $15. Luke will take stage first followed by Jesse’s solo act, and following both sets, the brothers will join each other for an improvisational jam set that according to Jesse could include some inventive takes on Lotus riffs.
“For both of us the solo projects are more related to our composing, and I think Luke kind of thinks this way too,” Jesse said. “We kind of think of ourselves as composers and producers first and instrumentalists second, so it’s really not a stretch. The techniques and the sounds that I start developing in Beard-o-Bees often end up coming over to Lotus studio project, and I would say the same with Luke with getting into edits and arrangements for Luke the Knife stuff has brought even more refined sets to arranging and composing for Lotus.”
The brothers have a short stint of five shows with their solo projects along with a few Lotus shows to end the year, they are looking forward to another full tour and the release of a new studio record with the band in 2016. Jesse said they feel fortunate to come back to Wilkes-Barre during this brief break from Lotus.
“Lotus relocated to Philadelphia after we finished college in 2002 and immediately started seeing where we could play around the area and got a gig up there through Tom (Moran) playing at Murray’s and that show kind of went off and we started going back on a really regular basis,” Jesse said. “We felt embraced there and it helped us move from small clubs up into theaters for sure.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or [email protected]