Luke and Rachel’s musical collaborations began when Rachel was a guest vocalist on Lotus’s 2016 album Eat the Light, and they collaborated again on Luke’s debut solo album Disco Nap in 2021. The songs paired Rachel's rich, euphoric vocals interwoven with Luke's solid electronic production. These efforts inspired them to work together on a bigger long-term project and in a more pop-oriented realm. With influences such as Little Dragon, Odesza, and Sylvan Esso - Sugar Nova was born.
Halogen is Sugar Nova's debut album. The collection includes “Send Me Higher” a sexy disco-tinged dancer, “Gospel Hour” a tropical percussion-heavy track, “Tiny Helicopters” a euphoric anthem and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt.II” a smokey downtempo-electronic cover of My Morning Jacket.
The sound of the album combines soulful vocals on catchy pop melodies with tasteful electronic production and touches of funky bass, vintage keyboards and live guitar. Hints of Dua Lipa, Kaytranada, Rufus du Sol, and Little Dragon course through the tracks.
Halogen is the first album from Sugar Nova. The collection features nine songs including “Send Me Higher” a sexy disco-tinged dancer, “Incense & Clover” a slinky R&B house track, and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt.II” , a smokey downtempo-electronic cover of My Morning Jacket.
The sound of the album combines soulful vocals on catchy pop melodies with tasteful electronic production and touches of funky bass, vintage keyboards and live guitar. Hints of Dua Lipa, Kaytranada, Sylvan Esso, and Little Dragon run through the songs.
It’s no surprise that Luke Miller and Rachel Eisenstat combined forces to create Sugar Nova. Their debut album Halogen radiates with brightness and floats in dreamy sounds. Eisenstat has been part of the indie rock Denver music scene for over a decade as the solo artist Raven Jane. Miller is the co-founder, composer, guitarist & pianist of veteran jamband Lotus. Miller says: “Lotus did a show at Red Rocks where we re-imagined Talking Heads songs. And seeing the crowd singing along with words collectively was something that doesn't normally happen at Lotus shows. So I've always wanted to do a project that was completely vocal forward.” Sugar Nova offers soulful vocals with pop-oriented beats, delivering music for the headphones and the dance floor with music that bridges Indie-Dance, Electro-Pop, Dance/Electronica, Dream Pop, and Chillwave.
Miller has played in the band Lotus since its inception–on keyboards, guitar, and composing, playing numerous festivals and venues around the world, including fifteen performances at Red Rocks. He also DJs and produces under the moniker Luke the Knife; his edits and mixes have racked-up hundreds of thousands of streams, and he has performed at venues such as Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, Ultra, and Fuji Rock. Eisenstat performs throughout Colorado for private events and as a guest vocalist and backup singer for multiple bands. Miller and Eisenstat have known each other for years—both are graduates of Goshen College, a small liberal arts school in Indiana. Their musical collaborations began when Eisenstat was a guest vocalist on Lotus’s 2016 album Eat the Light. Wanting to continue their work together, Miller invited Eisenstat to sing guest vocals again on Miller’s debut solo album Disco Nap in 2021. The result layered Eisenstat’s rich, euphoric vocals with Miller’s electronic production. With influences such as Dua Lipa, Sylvan Esso, Rufus du Sol, Big Wild, Odesza, Washed Out, Little Dragon, and Disclosure, Halogen is the first album the two have written together, and the result is a vibrant and ethereal nine-track collection.
Both Miller and Eisenstat have long-standing relationships with music. Eisenstat was a kid in a Zeppelin cover band in her small Appalachian hometown long before she hit the stage as Raven Jane. Miller’s interest in composing developed after hearing the four-part acapella singing in the Mennonite church each Sunday. “I wasn't a great singer, so I gravitated to guitar and keyboards. But hearing how the voices moved contrapuntally around me opened me up to writing interlocking melodies.” Miller went on to start a ska band in his Colorado high school before heading to Goshen College, where he majored in classical guitar performance and went on to be a founding member of the band Lotus. For Eisenstat, performance has long been a key part of her life; She joined the GNP Music Festival stage at 10 years old. This talented group of musicians, she says, essentially raised her as a singer and performer, and she was a part of this project every year until its final show in 2022. Eisenstat arrived at Goshen College a few years behind Luke, where she studied classical voice performance. Eisenstat was already a Lotus fan by that time, and explains, “Lotus was writing really accessible grooves and melodies that just made people want to dance while also giving music theory nerds something to make their heads spin.”
Miller is used to touring around the country with Lotus, and with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, found himself creating and producing music as a solo artist. “After Rachel and I did the song "Better Mind," people told me they couldn't stop listening, and it helped get them through the pandemic.” Eisenstat had been diving deep into more electronic music for the last decade. Excited to make more music together, Miller and Eisenstat formed Sugar Nova.
Through the early pandemic, they often worked virtually to build each song in their separate spaces before uniting in-person to record, with Miller serving as producer. For Eisenstat, songs like “Send Me Higher” and “Tiny Helicopters” open up her stunning voice. For Miller, creating minimal, yet unique compositions to showcase the vocals was a new realm. SUGAR NOVA’s music is an experience in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Lotus is an instrumental band, so I’ve long wanted to do something that was very vocal-focused. Rachel brings a very pure singing voice that isn't hidden by artifice or pretension. Rachel has an excitement and joy for music that comes through in her performance that made me want to work with her.” - Luke Miller
“Luke has a compelling talent for conducting the arc of each song, adding tasteful touches with instruments, pads, or samples that I don’t even realize are missing until he adds them.” - Rachel Eisenstat