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Exclusive Interview: Kobra Paige From Kobra And The Lotus

Kobra Paige talks about the progression of the band, the challenges of using social media, and the importance of her music making an impact on the lives of Kobra And The Lotus fans.




Kobra Paige Rock Confidential interview

photo by Dan Sturgess

Calgary-based rockers Kobra And The Lotus have returned with their new studio album Evolution, out now via Napalm Records. No longer bound by old formulas and expectations from the past, Evolution is the band’s most cohesive and confident material to date.

“The new body of work sets the tone for the music going forward. Sonically, it’s still heavy,” comments vocalist Kobra Paige. “It highlights the showmanship and maintains the edge. At the same time, it’s approachable. It pays tribute to our influences, but it takes the next step. So, it’s a reintroduction to us and a rebirth. A firm goal was to build a strong identity and update everything. We just want to be Kobra and the Lotus – that’s what we’re doing.”

Rock Confidential sat down with Kobra Paige shortly after their set at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington, Kentucky. The passionate frontwoman talks about the progression of the band, the challenges of using social media, and the importance of her music making an impact on the lives of Kobra And The Lotus fans.

The new record was just released. How did you go into release week mentally?

I feel like I was excited about this record the most just because of the amount of experiences and everything it’s taken to get to this point. I’m really proud of what we did. I let go of the whole expectations thing a long time ago. I’m just hoping the record is going to do okay for us and that people will like it as much as we do. I wasn’t nervous because I can’t control with the world thinks.

How long has the record been finished?

The record was wrapped in the end of January, so it wasn’t that long ago.

You’ve had a pretty busy release schedule – three records in three years.

It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare a launch and all the assets that go with it. We did a re-brand this time as well with a new logo. It was a lot of effort, so we needed all the time we had.

Why was now the right time to re-brand?

Well, first of all, we’re not just a heavy metal band. We’re a hard rock band. Those roots have always been there since the start. The logo and symbol we had weren’t universally friendly to hard rock and metal fans. The logo was a fairly typical metal shape and the the symbol itself had a snake and that’s not something that everybody wants to wear. I’m Kobra and I really don’t enjoy anymore, as I’ve gotten older, being referred to as the snake. It’s just my name. There were two main reasons for updating the logo and I think that we achieved that. It’s definitely a universally friendly symbol and logo.

You’ve lived with the finished songs a while now. Knowing that people are going to hear them for the first time has to be exciting.

It’s very exciting to finally have it out there for people to listen to and see which ones click for people the most. We couldn’t wait for this.

How does the band write new material?

We mostly write together in the studio. Ever since Prevail I and II, about 80% of those records were done organically together in the studio. It’s been my preference and the guys are up for it. So we did that this time around, other than the Japanese track which had a demo of some music that was used. Everything was organically created in the studio, so that was a wonderful experience. And it’s challenging and I love that challenge. You capture moments that you wouldn’t capture if you’re flying things back and forth because you’re in the studio for hours every day with each other.

You instantly see what somebody thinks instead of waiting on a reaction.

Absolutely, yeah. You hear it and you capture it. Anything can be a spark for an idea.

Can you elaborate on the lyrics for this record?

Of course everyone needs to interpret it their own way, and they will. But Evolution is about self-development. It’s about my personal journey inside my mind and just growing – trying to grow. It’s about how tough it is to have the mental capacity that we really do have and the emotions that come with it. And I just know by proximity that people relate to that. The way we think and the things you experience are never singular experiences. It never just happens to us. We’re very relational.

I feel like social media has drastically changed how we deal with emotions and interacting in real life.

I think it’s a pit of humanity. Of course it could be utilized for good things and some people do use their platform for beautiful things. I don’t think humans, in general, are responsible enough mentally to have this kind of inundation. It’s an inundation of delusion all the time and I think it’s very unhealthy what has transpired with our self-confidence and self-esteem as social media has really blossomed. I am a huge non-fan and I really have struggled with that aspect of it being such a massive part of promoting your music and bands these days. I don’t actually know how to get around getting our stuff out to people anymore because there’s algorithms. It’s super twisted up right now. I think it’s making a crisis for some genres of music. I find that we’re in a state of crisis because of the way things are going right now. We can’t even get our shows out to fans that are on our Facebook page without boosting a post. No one has endless bank accounts to pump into ads. You don’t wanna even do that, but the fans don’t see what we post on our page. It won’t show up in their feed. It’s a really difficult time. I don’t have any tips or tools for anyone because I have figured it out.

The majority of people are getting their news from social media and they don’t even read past the headlines most of the time.

Yeah, that’s what I really can’t stand about Instagram. Like it says, it’s a place for instant gratification. And absolutely the most comments come in if I post a selfie. That really bothers me. People don’t read what is written there half the time. And I’ve noticed that people on Facebook are a really different demographic than the people on Instagram. It’s usually people on Facebook that are reading what you’re posting about. It’s going to be less traffic, but they’re really interested. Whereas on Instagram, it comes with two different parts. The first part cares about why they follow you in the first place – the music. That’s mainly why I have social media. That’s how it started. Universal Music asked me on our second record to get an Instagram because I didn’t have one. Social media is part of promoting everything. I’m not selling my body or using my face in every single post with Beauty Shot with airbrushed, flawless skin. It’s not working out. It’s not working out for the Instagram crowd, which is where a lot of kids are living these days. Kids don’t need to see that shit because the truth is, “Everyone shits” and they are forgetting that. It really scares me for them.

Kobra And The Lotus

It’s crazy that there really is an alternate fake reality world out there.

I think comparison is totally getting out of hand because of social media being such a big part of these kids lives. It’s no longer a goal to think, “If that person can do it I can, too.” Now it’s “I’ll never be like that person.” It’s really sad. Little do they know that no one looks that way when they roll out of bed. Face-tuning and body-tuning apps really freak me out. I could go on about this. I’m so passionate about it. I really think it’s a serious problem. There’s actually Snapchat dysmorphia. It’s been added as a psychological disorder. Girls are trying to get surgery to look like the filter of their selfie. A lot of times you can’t even do what a filter can do because girls want their eyes to be bigger and stuff, but that’s physically not a possible surgery. It’s just fucked up.

What do you think about the term “female-fronted rock band”?

You know what, I have no charge good or bad towards it. Usually whenever it’s come up from people they’re saying it because they really genuinely feel passionate about female voices that are fronting a band. And they love the sound of a female voice. I’ve never actually had anyone that uses that genre use it in a derogatory way when they’ve told me like, “I love this, I love female-fronted rock.” And so I don’t really tear it apart in any way. If it’s good for them, that’s fine. It is female-fronted and I don’t know how to change the stigma. There are men and women on the planet and it’s never gonna be the same. We don’t even think the same.

Fans and journalists are hesitant to comment on the appearance of a band member, especially if they’re female. You’re easily labeled a sexist or whatever. What do you think?

I think that right now, the topic is a little over-sensitive. I think we’re having to think a little too cautiously about commenting on attraction. I’ve seen women acting like pigs on this tour with the guys and nobody says anything about that. I think there’s a fine line where it becomes too ultra-extreme. Women deal with things that men don’t. I know, coming up in this industry. I’ve been deemed as “the groupie” about five times on this tour already. And then after we play – it’s been owners of the venue – they don’t mean it in an offensive way, but I even got wristbanded by a woman somewhere. Afterwards she’s like, “I’m so sorry, I can’t believe it.” Whatever, she didn’t mean it, but it’s just funny. I kind of chuckle at it. That still happens if they assume I’m with someone in the band. I don’t know. What can you do?

What about things like the Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock?

It doesn’t offend me, but I will say I didn’t really care for the whole calendar thing. I was in one of the Revolver calendars in 2011 or something, like a long time ago. I honestly feel super proud that this band has gotten the recognition for its music first before anything because that was what was important to me. I can’t say what’s important, though, for another woman. If it is part of their body and their sexuality, and that’s what they decided to put forward – which we know there’s bands like that – it’s not for me to judge why they did that. I can’t. All I know is for myself, I would rather be recognized for the music first.

The band is 10 years old now, right?

It’s very confusing because I wrote the first demos with guys starting 13 years ago and then the band went through some name changes and toured quite a bit before the album came out. We played small gigs all across Canada in any hole that would take us. In 2010 Out Of The Pit came out, but the band really happened about 11 years ago. I feel like we’re over a decade. I feel that because I’ve been working very hard since then and driving a band van since I was 19. So for me, it definitely feels like 11 years.

Prevail I and II were super were strong albums, but I felt like they were leading up to something bigger. I was anticipating the next record and Evolution has exceeded those expectations. I think it’s a defining record for the band and for you.

That’s why the album is called Evolution. It’s not just about the journey, but the musical journey that the band has taken to get to where it was and we all feel like it’s a pinnacle and very important for this band. It finally integrates all of our elements in a very strong unified front and also presents to people that we’re not really dictated by one thing. It’s really hard to put our band in a music box and say what it sounds like exactly.

You just mentioned on stage about how important it is for people to find songs they relate to. There’s something for everyone on Evolution.

That’s what it’s all about and why I want to do it. It connects to people, so whatever is gonna connect the dots for them and make an impact in their life and in some way give them some sense of good feeling. What I wanted from this record was for people to have a really good empowered feeling from the music.

How have you changed over the last 11 years?

Oh, man. I’ve changed a lot. I’ve learned a ton. I love a lot of different music and that probably is what has made me develop as a vocalist as well. Learning new tricks, trying on new things, and trying to hone my identity further as whatever Kobra sings like. And I think there are some isms that I have. I think every singer should have those and find them and just become more solid on vocals. I would also hope after this album that people get a good sense of what I can do and what I’m capable of.

What would you like to say to wrap things up?

I’d just like to say thank you to everyone that has supported this band along its journey. To new people coming in to the new music, I’m so glad you’re here and that you found us. We’d really like to keep going and continue rocking out with people around the world and hearing how songs connect to them. We really appreciate when people purchase the albums or use legitimate streaming platforms because these things do really impact bands these days. If you torrent instead of stream it means we can’t use our streaming numbers to apply for tour support. We really need people to use legitimate platforms and we’re grateful to everyone that does make the effort in doing that.

Kobra And The Lotus Evolution

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