Post-industrial project Lotus Thrones continues its cathartic journey of channeling darkness and inner demons into self-acceptance and healing with the video for “Codependent Arsonry”, a song featured on the forthcoming Hibernal EP.

Formed in the wake of a five-year hiatus from releasing music, Lotus Thrones’ Heath Rave took action during the pandemic to create music that explores and genres of music he grew up on, such as Killing Joke, Sisters Of Mercy, Neurosis, Danzig, Justin Broadrick, Portishead, The Cure, and more.

The Hibernal EP is the second in a series of seasonal EP’s inspired by the artwork of Toby Verhines/Shadowcartography. The first one for fall, Autumnal, was released in November. 

The lead track from the EP, “Codependent Arsony”,  is the story of two firebugs and their arsonist suicide pact at the end of the world. The song also includes saxophone from Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House).  

Along with the video premiere for “Codependent Arsonry”, We spoke to Lotus Thrones Heath Rave about the song, the EP, his writing process, inspirations, ambitions, and more.

With your last EP, you mentioned that you took the opportunity of lockdown to reassess your artistic voice within your own personal growth, and explore possibilities with your musical direction. How has that evolved with this album?

This time I feel like I really got to stretch into some deeper and darker territory. I wanted to delve harder into the synth and piano stuff on these songs as well as experiment with some more programmed drums and beats. This time I took the chance to touch on my more industrial and darkwave influences along with some dark rock, ambient elements, and even a nod to my black metal background.

How were you introduced to Toby Verhines/Shadowcartography, and why did you choose this artwork as an inspiration for your songs?

Shortly after the first singles were released for the full-length “Lovers in Wartime” last summer, Toby followed my Instagram and I think he even commented on something. I found the name Shadowcartrography intriguing and strong. Immediately upon investigation, I was taken with his artwork. Visually his voice just looked like how the new songs I was writing sounded. We started talking about the next full length, but I was going back in his feed and saw these four particular images that felt very seasonal and comforting in their organicness while being completely alien at the same time. I had these few batches of songs that didn’t feel like they could fit in a full-length format, and the lightbulb went off and I started planning and writing more songs as well as developing ideas that all of the sudden had found their homes and directions through his visuals.

Why a seasonal choice of EPs? And what do the winter months evoke in you creatively?

It all comes back to the images. They almost made the choice for me. It was like the last four pieces to a puzzle that I didn’t even realize I was trying to solve. The winter months tend to be a very strong creative period for me in general and the art that comes out, whether sonically or visually, seems to have a few extra sets of sharp teeth. Winter is cold and ugly. I quite like it.

Are there any stories in particular behind the lyrics of the songs on the EP?

My favorite track on the EP is “Christmas”. It was actually written during the holidays. I wanted to explore a piano-based song. I’ve been a fan of Chris Connely, Nick Cave and stuff like The Black Heart Procession for a long time, and wanted to try to get a vibe like that. I had this line sitting in my notes, “it’s cold as the Dickens. Said Charles…” I started elaborating on the wordplay for this song and the story fleshed itself out quickly. Joseph, actually an abusive alcoholic father, tired of the lie of raising Jesus, incurs the sympathy of his bartender Charles Dickens. Charles sets out to “take care of” Jesus and Mary for his tired friend in the true spirit of giving.

Where did the story of the two arsonists come from?

That came from another line in my notes, “Asleep in the basement of a burning house.” It seemed so beautiful, like it should be a love song, something of longing. Instead of continuing to endure the world outside, these two firebugs that had found each other, choose to end their existence together enveloped in the warmth of their favorite energy while listening to favorite songs and enjoying a cocktail of wine and Xanax.

Has your songwriting process changed with each new release What invigorates or inspires you?

I would say my workflow has gotten more efficient, but nothing has changed as far as how it starts. These are almost like abstract paintings. I might have a rhythm idea or a melody in my head. I might just play drums for a few hours and record them and a great arrangement will happen, then I’ll do guitars or synths around that. In the case of this song, I wanted to do something based on synths and bring in an 80’s vibe with the saxophone although that was probably me hunting for another reason to get Bruce Lamont on a song again.

After years in the hardcore/metal scene, it must be refreshing to try new avenues with other genres. What would you like to try next?

It certainly is, but I don’t feel like Lotus Thrones gets too far removed. It’s still meant to be heavy, but in a more challenging recipe. I’m currently wrapping up my spring EP, “Vernal”. It’s very much a shoegaze rock record, very lush and ambient, more organic. It definitely shows my love for Bloodflowers from The Cure and my deep affinity for Failure and the spacier rock sounds of the ’90s and early 2000s. I really want to do some longform ambient stuff, less rock-oriented. Soundscapes and minimal beats. I’m writing for my 3rd full length now, and I’m delving deeper into the 90’s industrial vibe.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate or perform with in the future? If so, why?

I would love to have Chris Connely on a song. I’m heavily influenced by his use of language and I just adore his voice. His catalog is prolific, there’s Ministry and RevCo, but I always go for his solo record Shipwreck and this project he did with Sanford Parker and Steve Shelley called The High Confessions. It’s some incredibly challenging experimental stuff and their one record is definitely in my top 10.  Another person I’d love to collaborate with is the rapper Backxwash i just discovered. They are so aggressive and confrontational while being honest and vulnerable. If you haven’t heard them, their record “I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses” is fucking incredible. One of my favorites from 2021.

How has the mindset of your artistic process manifested in your music? What’s different?

I’d love to answer this question in a few years. I’m so new to this, I’ve been writing and recording on my own for a little over a year now. I’m still not quite sure on what my process is! It just happens, it’s like the music just wants to exist.

Anything interesting behind the scenes of production?

I’m a 5 years sober father and husband so I’m definitely not that interesting while I’m working! The thing I find most interesting about music production in our time though is the limitless ability to make music with other people without being in the same room. We are making music without borders, through the use of satellites and fiber optics. Digital recording is amazing and practically limitless. I’m just enamored with learning and making sounds. It’s just a reminder that it’s such a cool time to be alive while also being completely terrible. The art that’s coming from everywhere is insanely good and honest.

Watch the video for Lotus Thrones “Codepeendany Arsonry”, created by Sentimental Robots, below:

Lotus Thrones Hibernal EP is out on February 25th, 2022 Digitally through Disorder Recordings and on Cassette in late March/early April through Seeing Red Records.

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