I had the great pleasure of speaking with Kobra Paige, lead vocalist of UME-signed heavy metal quintet Kobra and the Lotus. Check out the interview below where I speak with Kobra about her band's new record, touring, the new 'rockumentary' TV show they'll be a part of this fall, and much more. Check it out below!
1) How did Kobra and the Lotus begin? How long have you been around?
When I first started Kobra and the Lotus, I was 17, so that was in 2006. It wasn’t called Kobra and the Lotus then, but the songs were being written for it. Over the next couple years, we started to play more shows and gain some momentum. Next thing we knew, we decided to give it a full on try. We recorded an album and released it in 2010 independently. Kobra and the Lotus came to be in North America first, and the UK second around 2010.
2) Who were some of your main heavy metal influences growing up?
I first started in classical music, so that was my main influence growing up. Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi. As I moved into my pre-teens, it turned into Queen and Led Zeppelin. I really loved Robert Plant’s voice. He was the first person whose voice I hooked onto and said, “Wow this is awesome”. I thought The Doors were dark, but it was still rock. I then went to a Judas Priest concert here in Calgary, where I’m from. That was the moment were I realized “this is what I want to do”. I also found the genre that I wanted to be involved with.
3) You have a really powerful singing voice and tone. When did you first begin singing? Were you classically trained?
Yes I was! I started singing when I was eight years old, and I continued to do that for eight more years through the classical studies. I really thought I was going to do opera when I was growing up. It turned out to not be my forte, but I found somewhere else to fit in.
4) What was it like working with Kevin Churko on the self-titled record?
It was an amazing experience. Kevin is a very involved producer. He was very passionate about the project. It was non-stop working on things and trying to get the right vibe. He would light candles in my recording booth to try and get me in the mood (laughs). Whatever it took to get the best out of us. We did some stuff that was really different for us. We created a song out of five different demos that weren’t being used. That song turned into “Forever One”. We created the bridge using a template from another song we hadn’t used of ours. Kean Churko was involved as well. He was actually the first person that came in and spliced these songs together. He said “If you use your imagination, and put them up to the same tempo, we can create something out of all these different pieces”. It was very cool because this was something that we had never done in the studio, and had never thought to do before.
I think there are things that you go to specifically to get out of a producer that you can’t get out of yourself, like a different perspective.
5) What’s the process like for you when it comes to writing a song? There’s definitely an anthemic, theatrical style to some of the songs like ”Sanctuary”.
They’re always different process. Sometimes I write predominantly on the piano, and then I’ll transfer it to guitar. Other times, I use GuitarPro as a tool. I’m not fantastic at playing guitar, but I can play well enough to show the guys my ideas. I really like using a lot of different flavors as well. If there are guys outside the band where I really like their sound, I will go up to them and ask them if they would like to co-write together. Sometimes they’ll write all the riffs and I’ll write all the lyrics. Other times, I’ll write the verse, and they’ll write the pre-chorus, or the chorus riff. There’s a lot of co-writing, it doesn’t just come from in the band.
We never creative block anyone. If anyone has ideas, we all put it in a DropBox. We think it’s better to keep writing and have more to choose from. No one blocks anyone, and we all try and work with each other. Right now I’m working a lot with Jasio on the new record.
6) You guys are co-signed to Simmons Records and UME. What drew you to those labels more than any other label out there on the market?
It comes down to how much the label can help you, and how much the team is willing to help you. UME came forward with such an exceptional team. You look at the factors. It’s hard to be in a band. There’s so much traveling involved, so many expenses, and there’s so much organization. You need publicity. There’s just a lot of things you need to look at. There are a lot of great labels, and UME stood out to us. I actually visited all of our team for the first time on Friday. I was blown away because their enthusiasm is through the roof, which makes you believe in it even more. I came out of there thinking “I’m pumped, we’re not alone. We’ve got people that are really into it!”
7) The band will be featured on a show called Rock City this upcoming fall on Spike TV. How did the process of putting the show together come about? Who approached who?
India Allen, who is the director for the show, approached us. She wanted to do a rockumentary style show, basically. The show is a documentary of what it’s like to be on the road. People have an idea if they’re not involved in the industry, but they will actually never know unless they see it or do it. It also shows the baby steps, and how much they mean after doing so much work. She approached us and we’re gonna try it out! Hopefully we can capture the reality of it. We’ve never done a TV show before, so this all new for us.
8) Where do you take inspiration from writing lyrics?
This particular record was based around strong emotions that I think a lot of people can relate to. Battling addictions, having pieces of history in your family that you descend but you weren’t even a part of, empowering yourself and making your own choices. That’s basically the entire theme of the album, and [all of the songs] have different stories. “Nothing Good” is about divorce and separation in families, but the way I try and write lyrics is so that people can stick their own story inside it. “Fifty Shades Of Evil” was about all-consuming greed. “Heaven’s Veins” is about waking up from an addiction. “Welcome To My Funeral” is about fear and how to overcome it and not let it eat away at you. “Sanctuary” was inspired by how lonely sometimes it can feel, even if there are people always around you. For me, that was inspired on how this lifestyle feels sometimes. I’m around people all year, but I don’t know everyone very well. I’m around my band mostly, but we’re our own entities and in our own space when we’re on tour. It can so lonely even though there are so many faces out there. But it’s a sanctuary, because you are doing what you love.
9) What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I would mostly like them to walk away feeling like they should never be scared to go after what they want. Even though it will take a lot of work, they should never let anything stop them. Really though, the message that I want for them is in the song “Aria of Karmika” which is basically “the song of life”. The message is to use your actions wisely because you only live once, and if you move forward with good intention, the cycle comes around in a good way.
10) What are the future plans for Kobra and the Lotus?
We have a lot coming up, actually! We’re getting prepped for our next tour. We’ll be heading to the states. A fourteen day tour. Toronto is included, but that’s the only Canadian date. That tour will filmed, so that will be our first time being with the Rock City crew on the road. After that tour, we’ll be going back into the studio, so we’ve been working really hard on new music. We’re planning on recording a record to release in early 2014. In mid-October, we’re actually heading to Europe! We’ll be heading through five countries. Belgium, Germany, France, I’m not sure what the other two are yet. We’ll then be doing a UK tour because we haven’t been there in over a year, so it will be fun. When we come back, we’ll have some more studio work! Our studio time will probably be in chunks throughout October, November, and December. In January, we’ll be in the mastering and mixing stage of the album so that it can be on its way before the next cycle of touring.
Be sure to check out all of the latest news and music from Kobra and the Lotus by liking them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KobraAndTheLotus
Their self-titled album, Kobra And The Lotus, is available now. Pick it up here!