by Akii Butler

At the end of March, “live electronic music group” Blaak Lotus released their debut self-titled EP. Filled with live instruments such as saxophone, guitar, bass and drums, as well as perfectly placed synths and excellent production, the four-song EP is their perfect introduction into the music scene.

But who is Blaak Lotus?

The band, comprised of Jeremy Wolfe on guitar; Nicholas Nauden (also known as NJN) as a producer and DJ, Ashton Blake on saxophone, Dinareo Hill on drums, and Nick Nonno on bass/synths, was founded in 2017 in Northeast Ohio.

“We all went to the same school, Kent State Stark, and we were actually studying the same degree of music technology,” Ashton says. “I had the idea of, ‘Let’s just do something different with a guitar player and a producer.’”

The band describes themselves as a genre-fusing group, and that description is definitely accurate. In the EP you can hear a mix of different sounds from jazz, electronica, progressive rock and more.

“When I was really young, I listened to 98.1 and it was all like Coldplay and stuff like that,” says Jeremy. “I listened to R&B for a little bit and I pretty much went back to metal… That’s the stuff I’ve always been writing, so when my friends approached me to do something with electronic music and some jazz, that was my opportunity to get away from all of that.”

“No Fair” opens the instrumental EP filled with electronica. The song eases in some keys and drums to build up to a range of instruments meshing together beautifully.

“Of The Essence” follows with what seems to be a guitar, then a saxophone takes the lead just before a build-up, which feels like the instruments coming together for a hard-hitting chorus.

The upbeat “Smooth Talks” features a breezy, lighthearted saxophone. Beware: the guitar solo between 2:07 and 2:39 might save your life.

The final track, “Lost Luv,” is the EP’s most electronica-infused track and fits perfectly as a closer.

“I like ‘Lost Luv” the most,” says Ashton. For Jeremy, “No Fair” is his favorite. When you ask Nick Nonno, he gleefully says, “All of them.”

The great thing about Blaak Lotus’s EP is that, somehow, every song is able to incorporate every instrument without it sounding forced. It runs smoothly and before you realize it, you’ve looped it about three times.

Blaak Lotus’s self-titled EP is available for purchase on iTunes and for streaming on all platforms. Follow the band on Facebook at facebook.com/BlaakLotusMusic.

Akii Butler is a senior at Kent State University. He studies journalism and is an avid fan of music.

Photos by Megan Wanderer. Used with permission from Blaak Lotus.

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