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Without a doubt, one of the best metal bands to hit the scene in the last ten years has to be Kobra and the Lotus. If you’ve never heard them, stop reading this now and go to iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify or the KATL Official site and check them out. I’m positive after hearing them, you’ll want to come back and read this interview, so we’ll wait for you here while you prepare to be blown away. If you’re one of the countless numbers of fans that they’ve picked up over the years, then you already know exactly what I’m talking about. The band is releasing the first part of a two part album entitled Prevail on May 12th and it’s simply incredible. KATL is one of the hardest working bands out there. I recently had the chance to sit down with lead vocalist, Kobra Paige and discuss the new album. Not only was she was great to interview, but I also enjoyed her true passion for music that comes through in everything she does. Check out what she has to say about the new album, her influences and how she feels about being considered a sex symbol in the metal music genre.
XS ROCK: So I’ve had a chance to listen to the new album Prevail I. And I have to say that it’s an incredible record. Can you tell me about the new album?
Kobra: The new album is quite an ambitious feat that we decide to go for. It was initially intended to be a double record that would come out all at once. All of the music was written at the same time. But, as you know now, Prevail I is coming out very shortly here on May 12th. Prevail is essentially an album written about the human experience. It covers all different emotions and hopefully people can find their own way to relate to it. It’s the most musically dynamic and virtuous album for Kobra And The Lotus to date. After we finished this album, I was just so immensely proud of everyone that was involved in it. We really pushed ourselves so hard on this record.
XS ROCK: Can you give me some insight to some of the songs as far as lyrical content. Like for instance, what was the influence for the track Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)?
Kobra: That was literally about self-agony and feeling trapped inside your own pain. The pain that perhaps you are also putting on yourself. It’s about how you can be your own worst enemy. Your brain can sometimes not serve as the best tool, if you think too much about too many things. That’s essentially what it’s about. Just this struggle with inner torture almost.
XS ROCK: After listening to Prevail I, I am really excited to hear Prevail II. Do you have a tentative release date for it yet?
Kobra: Well, you know, We haven’t even actually discussed it with Napalm Records yet, since we started full steam ahead with this first launch. I’m predicting that Prevail II will not be released until the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018.
XS ROCK: Will you plan two separate tours for each release?
Kobra: I’m thinking it will be a long tour and it will take 2017-2018 to reach all of the areas that we want to hit. I think we will still have more touring to do for Prevail I, even in 2018. And then you put Prevail II on top of that and I think we’re looking at a good 2 to 3 years of touring for this release.
XS ROCK: So what’s the set list look like for your upcoming tour?
Kobra: We will be playing about half of our set with Prevail I and the other half will be all of the favorite songs that people have come to know us for. It’s important to integrate it a little bit. Of course tracks like Gotham and TriggerPulse from the new album will be played in the set because they have been circulated for a while and people have gotten to know them.
XS ROCK: So let’s talk about early musical influences. Who influenced you to want to get into music in the beginning?
Kobra: The first thing that impacted me or influenced me musically was Vivaldi. I grew up in a household that was full of music. That was the first thing that I ever heard when i was young, was classical stuff. Bach and all those great composers. And then it started to become Queen and The Beatles.That was the thing that my dad really exposed us to. And then the thing that changed everything for me, as far as wanting to be involved in music, was when my dad took me to see Judas Priest. I was 15 at the time. I loved alternative music but I had been listening more to the punk rock type of thing, you know…people like the Distillers, Misfits and I liked Arch Enemy and bands that did a lot of growling. It probably had a lot to do with the state of my attitude at the time…and then I heard Judas Priest and saw someone sing clean vocals that way. So, I was like Oh my god! Maybe there’s a place for me in this where it feels authentic to who I’m becoming, but I can use the voice that I’m born with. And that opened my mind up so much towards metal. And that was one of the coolest things that my dad ever did was to take me to that concert. My father is a musician. He’s a great pianist. He also had a new wave band when he was younger. It kind of that Tears For Fears mixed with The Spoons sound. With the spandex outfits and everything. Umm, I’ve seen the pictures. (laughs).
XS ROCK: Kobra and The Lotus released the EP Words Of The Prophets, which was a really cool EP of cover songs. Any chance you’ll do any covers live or release another album of cover songs in the future?
Kobra: We did play Rush’s Spirit Of Radio and April Wine’s Sign of the Gypsy Queen live for almost a year during our set. I think we’ll bring them back in the future because they are so much fun to play. And maybe, further down the road after touring for Prevail I and II, we might consider going into the studio again and recording an EP like that. I think it was a really unique thing for us to do and I would love to continue doing these fun things, that are not only fun for us, but are fun for the people that support us. It is tough to do though, I was super intimidated to do Black Velvet by Alannah Myles. Her vocals, the feeling and the vibe is something that’s untouchable. I really wanted to try my best to pay tribute to how much I respected that sound.
XS ROCK: How about the current rock scene? Are you liking any of the bands that are making headlines these days?
Kobra: I really like Unleash The Archers. It’s a pure power metal, heavy metal sound. I just think her voice is so powerful. They’re really talented. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff that isn’t exactly falling into the vein of hard rock or metal. I saw a band yesterday in Toronto. I had know idea that it was an actual band. I was hearing these poppy kind of hits songs on the radio. So, I thought it was going to be a pop artist, set up like a pop artist on stage. But when I went and saw them….They’re called Walk Off The Earth. It’s like six and sometimes seven people and they’re all switching instruments the whole time. There’s like trumpets, tubas, pianos, guitars, mandolins, they all sing in harmony together and then one guy will just switch with the guy on the drum kit. I thoroughly had my mind blown. And that doesn’t happen very often. They did it so seamlessly. You couldn’t tell that anyone was changing from song to song for either the quality of the music or the style shifting. It was really, really cool and different. I just listened to a great metal album by a band called Righteous Vendetta. I’ve been really enjoying bands like Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch. I really like the Disturbed cover of Land Of Confusion. I get excited and think “Yeah, Let’s Go!” Disturbed was a band that once I saw them live, my whole perspective changed. Great guitarists and great vocals. I will fight anyone on that now. They are a real metal band. They were on of those bands that got labeled with a lot of other bands by people who have ideas about what metal is or what it should be. But, they are one of the most metal bands out there to me.
XS ROCK: So who would you like to tour with if you could design your own dream tour?
Kobra: (laughs) Well, I want to tour with Disturbed. It’s become a life goal now. Especially with our new songs on this album.
XS ROCK: What are you most proud of at this point in your career or what would you consider your greatest achievement so far?
Kobra: I am most proud of the music that we just created. Also, I am very proud that we’ve kept hanging in there. It has not been easy. We had a tour manager when we were out touring with Fear Factory, and he told us this sentence that really stuck with me. He said 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2 in this industry. I really believe that. It’s been a lot of steps backward to take one step forward. It’s been a really huge test of faith, so I’m proud of us for hanging in there. I can see as we are coming close to our ten year mark of the band being around, a lot of our peers are quitting or dropping off. We’re in that critical moment where people quit right before something happens or they keep going. And it’s fewer that keep going than stop. I’m proud of us for keeping on keeping on through everything. This genre is so organic and you have to keep being in front of people’s faces, growing your fan base organically. This is the first time we’ve had mainstream radio airplay. And I think we’re doing it all for the right intentions. We’re definitely not in it for just fame and fortune. That is for sure. I’m having fun right now.
XS ROCK: So I ask this question to everyone that I interview…What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from a fan?
Kobra: You know, actually, just recently I had a fan that was very persistent about requesting money to be sent to them so they could get tattoos done.
XS ROCK: Please tell me they were looking to get a big Kobra and the Lotus tattoo…
Kobra: No. I don’t think so. They were like you’re my biggest idol. It’s really important for me to have tattoos on my body like you have….and if you could just send me some money I can get you my banking info to wire me the money. And I was like Holy crap! This person is really serious. And then there were two more messages after that, over the next two days because I never responded. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to open up a whole can of worms or anything. It was a younger person, so I think she meant well, but I was surprised at the sense of entitlement. I had to save my own money when I started getting tattoos and that’s what she needs to do too.
XS ROCK: I’m sure you have people recognize you in public and come up to you now. So how do you deal with being a celebrity?
Kobra: Oh, man. It’s strange to hear the sentence. I don’t really think of myself in that way. There have been people come up to me and I’m a little speechless, you know, because I’m like Oh My God, they know me. It’s mostly really humbling.
XS ROCK: And what about being a sex symbol? Anytime, I see one of those hottest female rockers list, you’re on it. How does that make you feel?
Kobra: Yeah. I guess it was something that I really tried to minimize as much as I could. I started dressing more androgynous and everything. I’ve gone through so many phases in this short period of time. Something that I did come into finally realizing. At the end of the day, I feel like I’m a woman and we can’t help the way that we’ve been shaped. I don’t feel the need to cover that or anything. I can still be authentic to myself and for me that’s not promoting my sexuality in a provocative way. It’s a personal choice for myself. I want to not hide my curves, but not promote it anymore than it already is naturally. And part of me singing as a guest with Kamelot for a couple of tours had a lot to do with me realizing that. I really embraced my image in a different way. I wore an outfit that was much more feminine and yet still badass and it let me be a little bit more of a woman. So, I embraced who I am. A lot of what we’re doing is really about the music for people and I think that’s just wonderful.
XS ROCK: Thanks so much for taking time out to talk with us at XS ROCK.
Kobra: Thank you so much for having me!