Lotus Kid is a five-piece angsty pop punk band from Pittsburgh, PA. Live, these guys are energetic, able to hold witty stage banter, and keep things generally relatable. I had the chance to catch up with Mikey, who does vocals and song writing for the band, to discuss everything from pizza and local businesses to the creative process and advice he wishes he had gotten.
Q) What is Lotus Kid working on right now?
A) Our current short term goal is playing our Fall Out Boy cover set at the Emo Prom! It’s this weekend, so this week we’re running through the songs and perfecting the little things. We regularly play as a five piece band (two guitars, bass, drums, vocals) but don’t have a permanent drummer and none of the fill in drummers we have been working with are available the day of the show, so our guitarist Zack will be playing drums and I will be playing guitar while singing to make up for the lack of a member. I’m stoked to sing these songs because Fall Out Boy always had lyrics that really spoke to me when I was a teenager. We’re trying to convince Doug to shave his beard and wear some eyeliner but he’s being noncompliant.
Once the Emo Prom is over we will be wrapping up recording our debut EP and then sending the tracks out to get mixed and mastered. It only needs a few more hours of vocal tracking to be ready to go! We want to make a music video and have a release party this summer, then after that do some weekenders and hopefully do some touring in support of the EP.
Q) Are your songs generally written collaboratively or is there a point person?
A) The music is written by all of us in a room together, followed by me coming up with the lyrics on my own, and then us working the kinks out over a few practices. I wrote all of the music on “Grow” and brought it the band, but that’s the only exception.
Q) What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality/helps you unwind and stay creative?
A) I don’t think that any one specific thing that I do contributes to my musicality, helps me unwind, and stay creative collectively. However, some individual things “outside of playing music that contribute to my musicality and my creativity” are: having relationships with people, dealing with my mental health, and the inner struggle to understand my identity.
Those are the only things that I have written Lotus Kid lyrics about so I guess I could say that’s my non-musical inspiration. It works well in this band to write lyrics as more of an outlet for my personal life, rather than trying to be a poet. I am honest and people seem to relate to that. I have written things based on other topics but they have never worked their way into Lotus kid.
As far as “unwinding” goes; I like to drink to calm down. It’s also a lyrical theme in our songs but it has never helped me with creativity unless in small doses. Some people write great stuff when they are drunk but I am not one of those people.
Q) What is your favorite Pittsburgh venue(s)?
A) Although we never played there as Lotus Kid, I would say Altar Bar (RIP) because it was just the funnest place to be.
Black Forge is great because it’s super enabling for bands. It’s inexpensive to book and that encourages the DIY scene. I think Pittsburgh needs more places like that.
We also like the Smiling Moose because we’ve played there a bunch.
Q) Where can people access/acquire your music?
A) We have 3 demo songs on bandcamp and a cover on our YouTube channel. Once the EP is released we will be on Spotify and all of that good stuff, but for right now we are taking baby steps and just laying the ground work. Our handle for everything is “lotuskidband”.
Q) What are some upcoming shows you have planned?
Q) What local bands (other than yours) do you think should be on everyone’s radar?
A) There’s so much quality stuff going on right now, but I’d have to say to look out for Swiss Army. Not that other bands aren’t writing great music and making moves, but Swiss Army is still a fairly new band and has a show lined up at all times it seems. Those dudes work hard and should be a more well known band within the next few years, especially with this emo revival thing that’s happening right now. They write great songs.
Q) Just for fun: Chucks, Vans, or New Balance?
A) Zack and I fight over shoes more than we fight about anything. He’s always giving me shit for wearing my black leather boots because “they don’t match the rest of the bands style” even though I think they look good on me. One time just to piss him off I played a show in my man Uggs, but since then I switched to Vans so he shuts up about it. I do like Vans and the rest of the band does too. Here’s a picture of a chili cheese nacho stuck to one of mine. I lost the other one, so I left this one in a parking lot after tour. (#chilicheesevan)
Q) Are there any local businesses (especially music) you would suggest?
A) I work at Munhall Music Academy so I gotta plug it. My uncle Steve is actually part owner with his buddy Jason! It’s a really great place for kids learning to play music to take lessons because the instructors are qualified school teachers, but are also relatable and hip. They know how to engage the students, make progress, and truly achieve getting these kids to understand music. We also teach adults, have a show room with guitars and amps, and sell all sorts of musical accessories. I will hook you up with the best deal you can get on a guitar, I assure that!
Q) What advice do you wish someone gave you when you were first starting as a musician? When you were first starting this band?
A) Trust your gut.
That can apply to many things but mostly when it comes to the people you decide to work with. If somebody’s blowing smoke up your ass, that’s all it is and your gut knows it from the beginning. Regardless of how excited you get about that smoke, your gut already can see through it even if your aspirations don’t and you convince yourself that you are making a good decision. If somebody is name-dropping and bragging to you about what they can do for you, they are either just pretending to be in a position they’re not in to make themselves feel important (which leads to you being let down) or they’re trying to use you for something to their benefit.
I’d suggest to not find that out the hard way, but I don’t value advice until I’ve learned the lesson myself so who I am to say?
Q) Do you have a favorite chord progression? And/or a favorite key to play in?
A) We have been playing together in various bands over the years and wrote so many 1-5-6-4 based songs in the past that we try to avoid that one at all costs now. A goal we always have in mind is to come up with parts that we haven’t done before, so we don’t often use the same chord progressions. We do play all of the songs on the upcoming EP a full step down from standard and drop tuned. Self Worth aside, which is still a full step down but in standard tuning.
Q) Because this is super important to know, what is your favorite local pizza place?
A) Coming from the south east of the city, I’m really super into DiSallas and Pizza King‘s square cuts in Munhall. DiSallas needs to step up their game though, when I was a kid it was to die for, but now it’s really not the same. Pizza King is consistently good though. Zack and Doug like Fiori’s and Pittzarella, and Mimbaqueë texted me back with “Shit idk, maybe like Gianni’s pizza“.