||INTERVIEW WITH KOBRA PAIGE OF KOBRA AND THE LOTUS
Xander: Hey! How's it going?
Kobra Paige: Great how are you?
Xander: Awesome! So you said this is the last gig of the year for you?
KP: Yeah it's been a really long year for us, we've been on the road for the last nine months. It's definitely not everyone's lifestyle, you've definitely got to love it a lot without the rests, it's uncomfortable too. I'm ready to go home so I don't have to wash my face in Starbucks!
X: Is it really that bad?
KP: Well we're sleeping in a German splitter bus so we have to go out every morning and find a bathroom to get ready. The things people don't know about touring!
X: Wowsa! That's crazy! Well I forgot my notepad so I have to try and remember and think of some questions.
KP: Well you did well last time [two hour interview]!
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X: By the way, you've got a lot of dangly stuff on there, does it get caught up much?
KP: I know, I love it. Sometimes they would get caught in the eyelets of my military boots, so I'd have to kind of stand in one place until I could unhook it. But I haven't been wearing them on this tour so I haven't been caught in anything, amazingly!
X: So you've not been caught up on the other guys?
KP: No not on the other guys, usually just on mics around the drum kit.
X: So what's with the face paint? That's new since the first time I met you.
KP: Ah, I've been doing it for a couple of years now, I really like it. It's kind of like my war paint, I'm going out to be fierce. As I started performing more and more I was figuring out what really was my style, even physically. I like to be more deep rooted in nature and as we started, which was more tribal.
X: Huh, the music?
KP: No, as people.
X: Oh! Gotcha. Well talking of things old and new, with the change in your style of vocals and the line up changes, how is the band developing and progressing?
KP: Well the significant shift was, like you said, the vocals. But it's just the natural evolution of a band; you write your first stuff and then you grow a lot because you learn about more of the direction you want to take, or at least that's how it worked out for us. It's how it worked for me. And it was more coming into myself vocally, I hadn't been singing authentically in the beginning and you have to be genuine to yourself, you can't pretend to be something else. And that's why the second album sounds so different, I was finally singing how my voice really is.
In terms of music evolution I hope we always continue to evolve and strive for it, but it's really just a growth in skills and the direction the music takes. From the direction it took there is hints of it in the first album, but you can hear it's directed more towards heavy metal than hard rock on this album. It came out just over a year ago and it is our sound. It's really what we want it to be about. It's heavy metal that doesn't put us in a sub genre and is enjoyable for a lot of different listeners. And that's what we're trying to do!
X: And being received well!
KP: Yeah so far we've been very lucky, we're having a great experience. Theres always going to be people that don't like you but that's what makes for so many different kinds of music, you know? There's got to be something for everyone because music is important for everyone I believe.
X: So you're writing new material and you played some tonight!
KP: Yeah we just wrapped up the album recording wise a week before we came on this tour! We were in chicago at Groovemaster Studios working with producer Johnny K and we were living there for two months and there every day for about ten hours doing music. It was awesome because we came with material prepared but then we also wrote a bunch of stuff, now we are in the mixing and mastering stage. So, the beginning of February is when the album is due to come out!
X: Oh really, that soon? Album number three!
KP: Yeah I'm very excited. And I can't believe it, that's pretty crazy!
X: Have the last few years gone quick?
KP: No actually it has not gone quick. The years do blur together but since the time of the writing and recording of the first album in mid 2007, that's six years! So, although everything is really blurred, especially the touring that blurs things together, when I stop and think about it we've been working really hard so it makes sense that we're on album number three. It's just crazy to think about the repitiour building.
X: The last few years you've been playing a hell of a lot of tours and especially major festivals in the summer.
KP: Yeah we would do tours right after festivals and stuff. We toured right up until christmas day last year, so this year we're finishing early! We've been heavily focusing on north America this year so we went to the states quite a few times. It was great, really awesome. You see how people love heavy metal and are excited for it every where in the world.
X: What countries have stood out for you?
KP: Oh, well, England is always amazing, we've had a really great run of shows right now and I would say Holland was great. I don't know, there's a lot of countries [been to] and they're all great, really. I can't actually pin point just one because we've had great experiences in all of Europe and also the USA.
X: Have you been to Asia?
KP: No not yet, nor south America.
X: Ah so still territory to conquer next year then!
KP: Yeah absolutely and we still have Australia!
X: Who's the best band you've been playing with?
KP: Oh man I couldn't even tell you, we've been playing with so many different kinds of bands and they're all great! That's really not a thing I can answer. We've had great shows with Black Label Society, that was awesome. Judas Priest we did one gig with and of course that was very honourable, Steel Panther was a lot of fun and Fear Factory was wicked because it brought together another demographic that wouldn't necessarily be drawn to us.
We did another tour with Sonata Arctica which was great and they were great to tour with too, but it all brought different people out. It was crazy because we were going to the same cities on every tour but you see completely different metal-heads each time but it's just because there are so many different kinds of music out there. Our most recent tour was with Amaranthe from Sweden. Really cool stuff and that was the first time I'd heard them, it's killer!
They have three different vocalists who formed this supergroup together and it's really cool stuff. And it's great on tour you met lots of people and Jake, one of the singers, has come on tour with us, he wanted to tour manage us! And Andreas, their sound engineer, wanted to come on tour with us too, so we went from going on tour with them to having them on our tour, which is awesome.
X: Sweet! Well now I need to think of some more questions!
KP: Like what's your favourite cheesecake? (laughs) I will never forget that!
X: Haha. You know I asked Devin that and he said 'Dog Shit Flambe'
X: But I have to thank you for that because it was you that introduced me to the world of Devin Townsend when you came in on my show and now he's one of my heros.
KP: Right on, I'm very glad because he's amazing! He's selling out shows back to back. He's very inspiring to a lot of members in our band, and it helps that he's Canadian too, I'm throwing that in there!
X: I've decided that I want to go to Canada actually. The Agonist played here a couple of weeks ago and I've been waiting to see them for years but I ended up not being able to afford to get to a show. So Now I want to save up to see them in the homeland as they don't come here very often.
KP: Ah man that's a bummer, I'm sorry to hear that. They'll be back, they're doing very well. Well I hope they'll be back. We follow a lot of bands tours to see what they're up to and they're looking very successful, so they should come back! I hope you get to see them, or make a trip, that would be even cooler!
X: Yeah I'd love to catch you all there and travel around too.
KP: Oh you should, It's a gorgeous country too. There's so much to see, I haven't even seen most of Canada, which is crazy! I haven't seen the east coast, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Newbrunswick, they look gorgeous.
X: My sister lived in Newfoundland actually, they had icebergs drifting by!
KP: Haha yeah, I'd say so, it's pretty cold! But stunning.
There then comes a knock at the door...
Jake: Sorry, I was just... Oh, no problem. That fridge is empty too!
KP: (laughs) Oh man! That's Jake, our manager, from Amaranthe.
X: So talking of the homeland, how's the music scene at home?
KP: It's great! There's a really strong metal scene and there's a lot of things coming out of Canada right now. Bands have been working really hard and are finally being noticed and recognised and coming over sea's too! It's a great scene but the only problem with Canada is that's theres so much of a great space!
So it's very hard to tour across because it takes a couple of days to go from one city to another and there's only a couple of cities, I'd say, on opposite sides of the country to hit! There's Quebec and Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, sometimes Victoria on the west, then you have to go all the way to the east. It's a smart thing I think, that if you're in a band to put the states and Canada together because you go down one side then cross and go up the other instead of driving across the land for a few days.
X: What's the longest tour run you've done?
KP: This summer was a really long tour, I think we did two and a half months straight with Fear Factory. It was great, it was awesome! But definitely by the end of the tour we needed a break so bad, we had a two week gap from that tour until the next. But that's our position right now. We are still at a level that supports bands mainly and it's a great way to build up fans.
X: Very true, but this tour now was actually your headline tour!
KP: Yeah that was something different for us! We can't really make our own schedule so you can't make the gaps exactly what you'd like, so you've got to role with the punches of the schedule of what you're doing and what other bands are doing right now. I think it will change a little bit in the future but meh, this is what we signed up for, a never ending job and it's a one of a kind job, you can't really take a day off when you feel like it.
Before we knew it the room was invaded by everyone else on the tour screaming and cheering.
Santa Cruz: We're back and we're bad!
KP: Oh my god!
Jake: I had no idea about this. This wasn't at all planned.
Santa Cruz: He's such a bad liar!
We then ran around the entire venue inside and out trying to find somewhere warm and big enough to take a group shot loosing several members at every turn in the process in the meandering tunnels of Rock City. Eventually we got back to the dressing room.
KP: It's cool to be able to have some time after the show to hang out and wind down. Usually places try to chuck you out straight away and you barely have any time to sell any merch!
X: AND you don't have to pay a percentage of your merch to the venue in the UK either!
KP: Yeah that's really nice. In Italy we had to pay a cut on everything, and there was also tax on top of that, the merch cut was 28% so we literally gave almost a third of our money to the venue!
X: Man that's shocking. And it really catches UK bands out when they go to the states for the first time too! Switzerland will actually pull you over when going in and out and count your merch so they can charge you the tax on your sales!
X: So I noticed the tattoo on your arm of a dream catcher, what's the story?
KP: I love them! I've grown up with them all around me. When I was young my mum would take me to sun dances so there was a lot of native american influences about when I was growing up. I used to have notorious nightmares when I was little all the time, up until I was about 13. So from the very beginning my parents put a dream catcher over my bed and it works, because psychologically I thought 'yeah it's catching my nightmares' and so it just kind of stuck with me, like a protective symbol.
X: What was the worst dream you had?
KP: I had a really bad one that my dad came in and shot all of my family members and I woke up hysterical! I'll never forget that, it was quite bad!
Lord Griffen briefly enters the room.
X: So where did the 'Lord' come from??
KP: You know what this is actually quite funny, well funny for us. He had a friend that started calling him Lord Griffen on Facebook years and years ago and so I started calling him it and putting it out there. Than other people started calling him it and someone actually changed his name on Wikipedia to Lord Griffen! And so we have just left it!
X: Oh and you changed your name too!
KP: Yeah a couple of years ago now.
X: Were you getting obsessive stalkers?
KP: No I just love the band and wanted to be more associated with the project and it suits me better now. I love it, it's more hippy!
X: Do you have alter egos?
KP: No not at all. No alter egos, I'm just me all the time.
X: Thank you very much, great to catch up with you again!
KP: We shall see you soon!