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Interview conducted July 14 2017
Interview published July 26 2017

"I honestly feel like it does need to start shifting, because it's coming close to 10 years of touring."

Canadian outfit Kobra And The Lotus put out the first part of a double record, entitled Prevail I, on May 12th. Metal Covenant met up with the band's adorable frontwoman Kobra Paige after the band's show at Gefle Metal Festival to talk about the new effort, the band's and her personal progress over the years, the pros and cons about being a woman in metal and also a little bit about her tenure in Kamelot and her home country.

"I'm not gonna lie about this, but every woman that is fronting a band has an advantage with her image."

Tobbe: Your new record. Let's talk a little about it. It was out in May and what does that record have that your competitors' work don't have in 2017?

Kobra: Oh, that's an interesting way of looking at it. I guess the thing is I don't see it more as a competition, but I see it as how do you fill a space that hasn't been filled yet. Because I think there's still space for music, but you have to figure out how you have a freshness and somehow an originality that is enough to be part of filling the space that's still there for more music for people.

So that's what I think that we have done in this album. We really brought some freshness into our sound and it's also more palatable for more people, I believe. It's not just pinpointed into heavy metal; it goes into a hard rock vein and also there's a lot of different flavors within the metal and the rock, so we're seeing that more people in general are just enjoying it, as well as many new people that wouldn't have found us before.

Tobbe: The sound picture on the record is more grandiose, or even bigger I think, than your previous work and was that kind of what you were looking for when you started writing for the record and so?

Kobra: Yes, it really had an ambitious goal behind it. And that goal was not just in the writing, but also the production. I really, really sought Jacob [Hansen] out on purpose, because I loved the sound of the work he had done with Volbeat, particularly because it was very clear to me. And he's done that with our music. I think that he has brought clarity into the bigness and layers of everything, which is so hard to do.

Tobbe: And if we look at your personal development. I think your development is quite impressive over these 8 years that you've released records, so how do you reflect on your old material nowadays, like singing style-wise?

Kobra: It's so wild, because yesterday I was talking about Out Of The Pit [2009] and I don't even know how to relate to it as the person I am now. I don't even know if I can transport my brain back to 17 years old, you know, and that's when I started writing with the guys, that music. I think it's really entertaining to see this evolution and it's also something that I can be proud of, to keep in check that I can see growth and evolution, and also myself as a person and just the music in general. I can't imagine if it stayed like that, the first album, you know. [Laughs]

Tobbe: The music has quite a progress too, because in the beginning you were more like any heavy metal band, but now I think you have more your own style?

Kobra: Certainly. And the interesting thing too is there's really little hints to how we were gonna evolve, all along the way. So in the very first album you can hear dual lead guitars. I think that's the most similar thing that carried forward. Otherwise a lot of it is very different. You know, as you said, the tone of my voice, everything, the attitude, the [Laughs] lyrics.

And then the self titled [2012], you really hear the first evolution in where we strengthened our songwriting around the metal. And then in High Priestess [2014] it was the metal, but it was also some integration of more creativity, like Hold On, I think sounded not like something typical, exactly. And then Prevail is just taking it in that vein hardcore, like "OK. Then how do we just run with that?".

Tobbe: It's the band's fourth record now, so does it have to happen now?

Kobra: I honestly feel like it does need to start shifting, because it's coming close to 10 years of touring. I mean, it's gonna be impossible to continue on, like, in this fashion. It will become more like a hobby eventually, if it stays the way it is, you know. And that's unfortunate, but it's also the fate of many good bands and musicians out there. So that was also a goal with Prevail. You know, we need to just put everything we have into this and also think smartly about how we can keep our authenticity, but also how we can open a door to the world.

Tobbe: So what about Prevail II? You have a release date?

Kobra: Prevail II. I know, it's so exciting. No, we don't have a release date yet. [Laughs] It's all in the hands of Napalm [Records]. But it's gonna be in the early new year, most likely. We have already started all of the process for it. So we did all the photos and now we're doing music videos. Right after this festival we're going to Serbia and we're getting all the videos done for that album. And we're working on the album art already.

Tobbe: Will it be any different or will it just be a part 2, if you know what I mean?

Kobra: It's similar and different in different ways. That sentence is crazy. [Laughs]

Tobbe: That's cryptic, yeah.

Kobra: It's specifically similar in the amount of hard rock and heavy metal there is, with freshness in the evolution of the sound. That is the same in Prevail I and II. What's different are the songs. The songs are entirely different. You will not find another Gotham or Trigger Pulse coming on this album.

Tobbe: Yeah, let's see about that.

Kobra: Yeah, it's pretty interesting. There's some surprises too.

Tobbe: A lot of girls sing a lot when they're young, so did you sing a lot too when you were sitting on the floor playing with stuff when you were young?

Kobra: I did. And I also apparently cried my head off and I just about made my mom wanna kill me 'cause I wouldn't stop. [Laughs] I wanted to sing from a young age and I told my dad "Please, give me a vocal teacher." when I was 6. So they took me there, but the teacher said, you know "It's a little too early for her. Bring her back when she's 8.". And then I was actually her youngest student.

Tobbe: When you're on stage or on your records you have a rock style or a heavy metal style when you sing, but a lot of women tend to sing symphonic stuff and, you know, opera stuff. So why did you become more a heavy metal singer than just another woman singing symphonic stuff?

Kobra: Well, see, the ironic thing is I didn't even know the symphonic stuff existed until way later and the reason I got into metal was because I didn't wanna do opera, you know. [Laughs] I was doing classical music and I saw Judas Priest and I was like "Ha-ha! There is a place where I can use my voice, that I was born with and the vibrato it came with, but I don't have to sing opera. I can just frickin' use my voice.", you know. 'Cause I can't change my voice and I think it fits really well with this genre. I'm still uninterested in singing more operatic. So, it's just not for me. It's not my calling.

Tobbe: Women supposedly have a hard time being accepted in metal, but is that really true?

Kobra: You know what? It is true. I think it's significantly improving and it has improved even while I have been doing this. And I am part of a newer generation, but just a week ago I was telling the guys about these comments on our new video for You Don't Know. There was one guy that wrote "No, I don't know what it's like to have boobs and the "thing" and lack self-control." and then the next guy comes on and goes "This is just stupid! Women don't belong in metal!" and then he went on a whole rant and we get this stuff still, you know, and I'm just like "Oh, my God!", like "Who made the rules?", you know. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So in what way can you benefit from being a woman in metal then?

Kobra: Yeah, there's also a benefit, I think. I'm not gonna lie about this, but every woman that is fronting a band has an advantage with her image. So there is that. And, I think also there is a chance for first situations still with women, like there's not so many women that have reached the points of success as men, so there is still a lot of opportunities for a woman to go further if they do get there.

Tobbe: About singing with Kamelot. It must be a very different situation to come from being a frontwoman of a band and then just being "reduced" to a background singer.

Kobra: You know what? I thought it was wonderful and I really enjoyed myself. And I actually learned a lot about myself in the process. But it was actually a true joy being in the background a little bit and just being a color in the whole picture of everything. It was cool to also think of almost being like what my guys do in the band, you know. Everything is necessary. And yeah, I loved it. I thought it was so fun.

Tobbe: Even if Kamelot is not a huge band, did you notice any difference on your social media when you were out with them?

Kobra: Yeah, definitely. There were some people that found us because of Kamelot and people seeing me perform with Kamelot. And now we have some very, very faithful supporters that came out of that. People that have started pages, like Kobra And The Lotus - Argentina, she was a Kamelot fan. Kobra And The Lotus - Netherlands, Kamelot fan. Yeah, so definitely some great things came out of that.

Tobbe: So if your band gets bigger along the road, at what point of success won't you do anything else musically than concentrating on your own band?

Kobra: Well, currently it seems to be everything that I do in my life already. You know, everything is going into it and every second of my time is going into it. [Laughs] So I would say I'm already at that point right now.

Tobbe: So, 3 quick questions to end this with. First: Being from Canada: Good or bad, musically, for a heavy metal artist?

Kobra: Great!

Tobbe: Being from Canada: Good or bad for the business and economy related stuff?

Kobra: Well, personally I'm in a province that just switched from capitalist to a little socialist and so when those shifts happen the economy always tanks. So where I am it's suffering a little bit, but there are other places in Canada where the economy is great. So I think it's both. It's good and bad.

Tobbe: Being from Canada: Spring, summer, fall or winter? Which is the best one?

Kobra: Ooh. I am a fall baby. Yeah. And actually I would say winter too. I like to be bundled up in winter clothes and I love what it looks like outside. But in the fall you can still bear the cold weather. In the winter, not so much. You have to stay inside. [Laughs] I'm born in October and usually that means nothing, but I actually really, legitimately love the fall. Yeah. And the leaves change. It's wonderful. It smells so good too though; when the leaves fall and they get wet, yeah.

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