Music is a very powerful tool for connecting people
Canadian heavy metal band Kobra and the Lotus has traveled a long way to take its place on international metal stage. Heavy modern sound, melodies, socially oriented and emotional lyrics piercing right to the bone earned the band fans and critics recognition. The only thing that is more amazing about Kobra and the Lotus than their professionalism and talent, is their powerful message of love, compassion, kindness and struggling for each living thing they are spreading through the whole world. The new Kobra and the Lotus album “Prevail II” has been released on 27 April 2018 and now the band is actively touring. We got a chance to talk to “the heart” of the band, its lead singer Kobra Paige about “Prevail II”, women’s position in music industry, charity, the first band’s visit to Russia last year and some other interesting things.
Kobra, let’s start with your new release “Prevail II”. You released your previous album “Prevail I” only 1 year ago, and now another one is presented to the listeners. How do you manage to work so productively?
These two albums were written, recorded, mixed, and mastered at the same time! ‘Prevail I+II’ is a double album series and we poured 3 months of solid, focused creativity into them!!
Could you please tell us more about the working process you’ve had having during this year (or more)? Is “Prevail II” logically the second part of “Prevail I”, or we’re going to percept it like a separated album, story and conception?
Both of these albums are definitely cohesive with one another and belong together. They both encompass the same blend of hard rock mixed with heavy metal. The general theme in the lyrical messages carry throughout but contain an entirely new set of emotions in each song. The guitar tuning also remains mostly in drop C which is a new characteristic that we’ve introduced in the ‘Prevail’ albums lending to a crunchier and more updated sound.
‘Prevail II’ is a whole new set of songs entirely. It also touches on a darker look into the corruption of our humanity. We will take you on a sonic journey through ballads, hard rock, heavy metal, and also some surprises that ‘Prevail I’ did not have. This album is longer and has two
What is metal music for you – a way of life, way or thinking, or something else? Why did you choose this particular genre?
I think it’s very personal to the individual and you will get a different answer from person to person. Metal at first became a place where I felt like I could express myself and fit in. I chose this genre because I saw an alternative form of music that could embrace the kind of voice I naturally have. I also thought the energy that the artist and the audience were creating with one another was specifically immense in metal. Now I believe that if people are connecting to any genre of music in any moment, a live concert will have an immense energy. More and more, metal has become mostly ‘music’ to me. A plethora of creativity among endless plethoras. I enjoy and find so many other genres of music enriching that it doesn’t define any part of my thinking or way of life.
Kobra, you write such true and emotional songs with a very powerful message. Seems like music is your tool of changing the world and supporting people, not only telling stories. Where is the line between expressing your own experience and formulating message to others?
That’s beautiful and very warming to hear!! I can only do my best and yes that’s my intention! I think music is a very powerful tool for connecting people and that art
ists have a responsibility with what they choose to project to the world. For me, I need the songs to still be able to be read as if it’s the reader’s own personal story so they can fill it in with their own life and relation to it. Their story immediately relates them to others, to me, and vice versa even if not realized at first. Anyone connecting with a song is relating in some shape or form to anyone involved with feeling something for that song. How powerful is that?!
Nowadays the whole world is concerned about the women’s rights in the film and music industry. Being a woman in music yourself, especially, in metal music which used to be considered as “men’s genre”, have you ever experienced any disadvantages of being a female musician?
Yes, I have encountered many. I have had recent issues with promoters treating my band very poorly until I “prove” my worth. We had an experience where a promoter would not even give my band water because he wanted to see if I really deserved to be there. My whole band was penalized for me being a woman. We have encountered radio stations that refuse to play our music because they judge my image and decide we shouldn’t get a chance. The more and more the band has grown, the more experiences I have also had with certain fans grabbing me aggressively, or physically violating my body. I have had my ass slapped too when I have walked out of our bus
. We also still receive comments sometimes underneath our YouTube videos that state how women don’t belong in metal.
All in all, the majority of people, men or women, support whatever music they like, female-fronted or not but there is always a minority of men that will traumatize/challenge that safety for me in the industry and I do believe it is still almost twice as hard for a woman to get somewhere in metal/rock. Especially with clean singing instead of growling.
Moving closer to you, if you don’t mind. How did you learn to sing? Do you have a classical education, or you found your voice and style by yourself?
I do! I began singing at 8 years old with a classical coach. I pursued classical studies and training for nearly 8 years before metal came into my life. Since then, I have shaped my own style and still rely heavily on the fundamental technique of classical training. I see the same classical vocal coach in-between my tours to check in with what I’m doing. Many times with metal, I have become lazy in my practice and slip into bad habits regarding breath support. It’s mostly important to me to make sure I’m not taking on any behaviors that could injure my vocal folds and prevent longevity.
In your opinion, is it important to have a classical education in singing (and in music in general)?
Perhaps not classical but
no matter what kind of music is being sung, the basics for good technique and breath support will be the same. I believe proper technique is very critical for the longevity of a voice and that it’s something to take very seriously. I see many people injure their voice in my genre and it really affects them when they start approaching their late 30’s.
How do you spend your free time? What is your way of keeping fit having such tight schedule and being on the road? What kind of sports is your favorite one?
I love to travel to new places, see new cultures, and spend time with my family. I love all and any outdoor exercise, particularly hiking. My family is very adventurous so we are always up to something crazy somewhere in the world.
In terms of fitness, I find it very hard to balance this sometimes within my lifestyle on the road, especially if I’m tired. For me it’s all about efficiency which means circuit training! I will include body weighted exercises, plyometrics, and intervals.
Hmm well I’m from Canada so I guess my favorite sport is snowboarding!!
As I know, you’re engaged in charity work. Could you tell us more about this aspect of your life?
My family has always been involved with various charitable things growing up and a lot of this was done in India. This involved helping with: cleaning the temple groun
ds, serving hot meals and food, and basic registrative help within the local hospital. We were also there helping after the tsunami hit the coastline of Chennai.
In my recent years, I haven’t been nearly as involved in the community as I would like. I have only had short pockets of free time to work with so I try to use whatever moments I can to jump in somewhere. This year I was home for my birthday so I gathered my family and friends to spend the day making sandwiches and cookies for our local drop in center. I will also choose a specific charity to donate to instead of giving gifts at Christmas. One year it was providing clean water, education, and various farming tools to families in third world countries. This year it was donating restart packages to young women who have been trafficked into the sex trade in Canada and taken under protection. I also did a small charity drive on my fan page for the Ronald Macdonald House this holiday season. People really stepped up on my page, I was so impressed with the kindness.
In the near future I intend to focus heavily on mixing charity with music.
How would you describe the influence music has made on you personally, on your character?
It’s been a very enriching and interesting part of life for me. I’ve always grown up with music around me. My dad would play piano all the time while I was growing up. My family
would all gather around the piano every Christmas to sing Christmas carols and throughout the years we would also sing songs from Les Miserable or Queen together at the piano. Music has inspired nostalgia, culture, and familiarity for me. It reminds me of a moment in time and keeps me connected with the world.
Last November Kobra and the Lotus visited Russia as a special guest of Kamelot. Audience liked you very much, I heard and read many enthusiastic comments! And what is your impression from our country?
IT WAS AWESOME!!!!! All of us are dying to come back, it was one of the biggest highlights of the year for us.
By the way, you’ve been performing with Kamelot for some time already. Was it easy to adapt to their style and way of working?
It was very easy to adapt to their way of working. They’re a friendly, cooperative, and a professional group. In terms of singing the style of the vocals in their music, it involved a softer, more feminine soprano range and tone. I have that part to my voice but I had not been using it for a long time. It was another new learning experience and a welcomed challenge for me.
And, at the end of our interview, could you please say something to your fans in Russia?
Russia was absolutely amazing to visit and it quickly turned into some of our most favorite shows of all time. We appreciated the energy and passion that everyone brought forward. Thank you, we love you, and we can’t wait to see you again!!
Kobra, thank you very much for the interview! And thank you for your music and for all that you do, it’s really important! Can’t wait to see Kobra and the Lotus in Russia again!
Thanks very much for having me Jane! We very much look forward to next time!