By Marina Foo
Sushi is to Vancouver what beef is to Calgary. Likewise, a hip young indie band from Vancouver that couldn’t name their favourite sushi bar would be trusted there as much as a honky-tonk southern Albertan country act who couldn’t name a nearby steakhouse: not much.
“King Sushi,” says Zachary Gray, co-founder and guitarist of Vancouver’s Lotus Child. “We’re almost sick of it because we go there all the time–usually after almost every rehearsal. And do you know why it’s so great? The chef there has six fingers!”
An extra finger for a sushi chef would be a similarly large boon for a pianist. Though the curious pop-rock group doesn’t sport any genetic anomalies, Tom Dobrzanski, their piano player, is gifted with nigh-super human tone detection.
“Tom has this funny–actually, it’s kind of scary–talent,” explains Gray. “If we’re setting our stuff up before the show and there’s music playing in the bar, he’ll be trying it out on his keyboard and just play whatever’s on there.”
Often compared to the other piano-fronted indie darlings, Spoon, Lotus Child is leant a curious, standout sound by their choice in instrumentation. Though certainly not an entirely unique idea, the pianos add a layer to the melodies that recalls Paul McCartney, coupled with harmonies that conjure memories of London Calling.
“Spoon wasn’t a band I really knew until people started telling us we sounded like them,” says Dobrzanski. “Then I bought the records and really liked it because, obviously, it’s up our alley. It’s funny how we sort of sound like Spoon without ever hearing a record. We were off in our own little world and we just ended up in a similar place.”
Spoon is not the only band that Lotus Child has been compared to. Recent reviews have tagged Lotus Child to artists like the Arcade Fire, Muse and Bright Eyes, all distinguished indie acts. Although those artists are quite musically disparate, they’ve impacted Lotus Child’s album, Gossip Diet, in some shape or form.
“We listened to [all those bands] at some point in the last four years,” explains Gray. “And the writing of the songs [on Gossip Diet] were over the past three years.”
With the songs written and the album stacked across store shelves nation-wide, the the next step hangs ominously over any independent band’s head. As it goes with any good music, though, the move away from the scenester status and into mainstream labeldom is all but inevitable.
“We’re definitely getting to the point where we do want to make the move to a label,” says Dobrzanski. “We were never in a big hurry. It wasn’t necessarily our goal to sign to a major label right away. We wanted to establish ourselves and come out with a record. Learn to stand on our own two feet.”
Last year, Lotus Child did two western Canadian tours and recorded their first full-length at Warehouse Studio with producer Howard Redekopp (the New Pornographers and Tegan and Sara). The boys anticipate another busy year as they travel across the nation to promote an EP they plan on recording soon.
Even with semi-mainstream popularity well within their grasp, with any luck Lotus Child will maintain some of the indie-sensibility that provided their kick-start. Either way, they’re not likely to give up the Vancouver sushi tradition any time soon.