Lil Lotus: “The more I got to know myself, the more I started saying things that I really felt. It came out pretty dark”

“At first, it was just light-hearted ‘Sad Boy’ type stuff, but the more I got to know myself, the more I started saying things that I really felt,” says Lil Lotus. “It came out pretty dark. This has been a big transitional period for me.”

Lil Lotus has had to change his approach in order to become the burgeoning rock star he is today. Real-name John Elias Villagran III, Lotus’ origin story is a pretty common one amidst his peers. Starting out on Soundcloud in 2016, he recorded, mixed and uploaded tracks online, collaborating with and starting a number of projects alongside fellow Soundcloud artists like Lil Aaron and Smrtdeath.

Where he differs, though, is in his love of the concept of ‘the band.’ Having already formed the metalcore group If I Die First in 2020 to satisfy his appetite for all things heavy, Lotus is now determined that his solo work – which leans more into the realm of emo and pop-punk – be considered as that of a collective in all but name. It starts with taking a more methodical approach to his craft.

“I’m spending a lot more time writing than I used to in the Soundcloud era,” Lotus reflects, pondering how his second LP Nosebleeder, released on Dec 1, differs from 2021 debut Error Boy. “Where in the past I’d freestyle, tweak it a little and then run with it, I’m now going into much more detail and being more creative. It’s about the connection to the songs – when I’m performing, I’m finding that I feel so much more connected to those tracks where I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting them.”