Interview by Miriam C.
Sometimes promote a band means sacrifice half the night spent on Skype, I’m not complaining on the contrary. Well, it was on one of this long, sleepless, summer nights that I’ve have had the honor to chat with Kobra Paige, leader of the last newcomers of the Canadian classic heavy metal Kobra and the Lotus. Let’s see what she has to tell about the deal with Simmons Records (yes, that Simmons!), the new debut album and gigging. Keep the flame on!
First of all do you mind present a little the band with some biography?
It all started when I wanted to find some musicians to jam some Iron Maiden with but by the first practice we started writing our own tunes instead. In 2008 I founded Kobra and the Lotus with drummer Griffin Kissack. We then toured extensively, trying to figure out what our true sound would be and the direction we would take in the creation of this next debut album coming out. It was last summer after hearing that album, we recieved a call from Gene Simmons saying he and Universal Records wanted the band. Right now we are in a new chapter for Kobra and the Lotus as we are no longer indie.
About the deal : On August 6th Simmons Records will publish your debut album, that’s a huge, congrats! Would like to share when you have had your first contact with your label? Did you meet Mr. Gene Simmons in person?
Thank you, we are very excited! Yes, I have met him in person several times! It is crazy to think that we work with him. When I first met him it was at Heavy Montreal Festival in Canada. Kiss was headlining and he wanted me to come down so I could watch them play and later hear his label proposal with Randy Lennox from Universal. When I got there he was fully dressed in his gear. He walked over to me without saying anthing and put his arm around my neck pretending to shake me. It was fuckin’ awesome!
Hahahahahaha Simmons is a freaking genious I mean he has the sense of business…
Yes, he’s a very clever man and a marketing maniac. He also is very passionate about keeping metal alive.
If you count that he had created the Kiss coffin too…
Even Dimebag Darrel was burried in one!
What you tell us about the genesis of your self titled album? When have you started to nail down the first lyric?
This is an interesting beginning because we had initially began writing the album 2 years ago and it was fully mixed and mastered for last April 2011. After the band signed, we went back into the studio in January to replace the slower, ballad songs with new up beat ones. These songs are the first 4 on the album and we wrote them this last fall. Our single “Forever One” was created from start to finish inside the studio.
Sorry for the delicate question : why replace the first 4 songs, in what you weren’t satisfied of?
It was not a case of unsatisfaction but a change to fulfill the purpose of the album better. The songs we replaced were ballads. Because it is a debut album and introduction for Kobra and the Lotus to a lot of the world, we decided it needed to be a very high energy, to the point project. We count on putting the unused ballads on the next album.
Let’s say it was a well-calculated strategy, right?
So, in some ways “Welcome to My Funeral” launched and introduced your selftitled album and now it’s time for “Forever One” and seems that KATL jumped out straight from the golden age of the 80’s heavy metal although you’re very young. How came this huge passion for the 80’s?
I guess for many of us in the band, the rock/metal of the 80’s was the first initial big impression that music made on us. It’s the appeal of musicians needing to know how to actually play their instruments, the rawness of the craft, the energy and feeling the music gives people and most importantly the unity it brings to metal culture by not exactly being a niche genre of metal. Now the roots of our influences are well cemented but we have moved on a long time ago to enjoying all kinds of music. We don’t sound 80’s influenced intentionaly now, it just comes into our writing without even realizing it.
Incredible, I really don’t believe that this 80’s sound come out so naturally… again congrats. Would you mind explain a little the band music influences and your personal too?
Hmm, if you were to have an iPod of music right now from our band it would contain anything from Beethoven to Devin Townsend. In our band you will be guaranteed to find someone influenced by any kind of diversion of rock/metal you can find. Technical to simple, progressive to more classic structured, all areas. I think a lot of us believe every kind of music has something to learn from even if it’s not a sound we are crazy about. It can be as easy as recognizing a song format we want to use.
So your created this mix of old and new sound thanks to your tastes quite openminded and it’s a bombastic blend of everything… but what Mr. Simmons liked of you and your band to get such an istant deal?
He liked that we were a touring band, which meant it’s not just about the music but a great deal about the live show as well. He also liked that we were classic metal with a female front.
And connecting about this (I mean the fact that you’re a female front) – the thing that hits me about your vocals are that for have such a different background (you studied at the The Royal Music Conservatory classical music) are straightforward, let me ask how these classical studies are helping you in the band and what originate the choice to found a real heavy metal band?
The moment that made me want to do heavy metal was a Judas Priest concert I went to when I was 15. I couldn’t believe my eyes and after seeing them, I couldn’t look back. The most important things I have taken from my previous training are knowing proper breath support and being able to read music. That being said, some of these stages are huge now and I run out of breath from running around so much. I thought I was going to pass out after Gods of Metal in Milan haha!
Really? I know that a huge stage also if I wasn’t never been there unfortunatly – how the gig was, what were/are you impressions?
It was amazing! We thought Italy was incredible because the people were very passionate and energized. It was inspiring to see such a great crowd on such a blisteringly hot day to stand in the sun.
I like very much the “Welcome to My Funeral” videoclip. What is the topic treated in the videoclip and is it related to the lyric?
Yes, the video is very related to the message. The song talks about self-sabotage. Many times it is easy to let fear stop people from doing something or to let a negative feeling consume them. I call this digging your own grave. In the video I am conducting my own funeral and it is the “monster” form of me that is behaving crazy.
Now a curiosity : I found also that on 2010 under Sonic Unyon you published “Out in the Pit”, can you tell us more about it and the curious fact that I would like to know why you consider this upcoming album your official debut album?
That is our first official Kobra and the Lotus album. We independently released it and toured it in the UK and Canada. It is the very first time I ever co-wrote music with anyone! It has been very confusing to some fans why it has stopped distribution and is scarcely recognized. The reason all comes down to major label politics. When we signed, they requested this upcoming album be recognized as our”debut” since it is the first to come out of Universal/Simmons Records. It’s all been very interesting.
Another little curiosity : Since I really like the band’s name, can you tell me more infos about? I mean, who choose it and how come out?
Thanks! Kobra and the Lotus is derived from two different band names that ended up coming together through comedic events. We were first called Lotus because I was very intrigued by the purity of the flower growing from mud. I thought it seemed very similar to metal which is sometimes judged to be harsh but can actually be very beautiful and melodic. The guys I was currently playing with thought it was too feminine and so Kobra became the new name. Cobras have always been seen as fierce protectors and creatures that do not bow down to cowardly ways. In the end it was the concept of fierce beauty that inspired Kobra and the Lotus.
So Kobra, we’re at end I really hope that you liked the interview (I hope also that I covered everything) before we say goodbye and greet our readers/fans, what’s are you next projects?
We are actually filming a new music video in a couple weeks and that will be for another track coming off the album! Hopefully it will be ready in time for our CD release. Otherwise we are already working on the next album in the time between touring! Thanks very much for staying up late, I hope you get to sleep in tomorrow!
Kobra Single Photo by Tim Tronckoe