Kobra and the Lotus: 'Gene Simmons is on our team!'

Meet Kobra Paige, Metal as Fuck's new favourite metal chanteuse...

 

Kobra Paige has a big voice. A huge, stentorian bellow so full of metal on first hearing you’d think she was built entirely of steel, circuits gleaming under blood red skies… so imagine MaF’s surprise when, out of the baleful glare of the spotlight and into the pressure cooker atmosphere of the ‘MaF Interview scenario’ our new favourite metal chanteuse is a softly spoken, humble model of solicitude and erudite good manners…

Why that came as a surprise I don’t know, but you’ll agree it was a good entry into the piece. Ms Paige and her semi-eponymous band Kobra and the Lotus have been holding our attention recently through the good offices of their new album (their second, of which more later), called, conveniently for colander-memoried oafs like ourselves, Kobra and the Lotus, a blustering, bellicose blast of metallic fury that has managed single-handedly to defeat our usual winter ear wax build up within the span of only two spins… when we were offered a chance of a chinwag with la Paige we clearly would have been mugs to turn it down, so here we are, MaF feebly enthusiastic in the cold nine AM sunshine, Kobra still basking in the afterglow of a sold-out show at London’s famed Borderline Club just a matter of hours before – good show? “An amazing show! It was really great to play in such an intimate atmosphere, to be able to see all the faces of the fans, to see them singing along, it was great!”

You’ve been playing a lot of big support slots and festival dates – do you find yourself changing the way you perform between the big shows and the club dates, or do you try and play them the same way? “It’s a completely different dynamic in as much as the way the crowd relates to the band is different. At festivals it’s like one huge ball of energy coming together, not necessarily directed at you, that you want to harness. Obviously the smaller shows are great, like I said, the connection is greater.”

And of course they (the club punters) are your people aren’t they? “Yes!”

KatL is your second release, a couple of years after you released your debut effort (2010’s Out of the Pit) – can you highlight the differences between the two, and the progress you feel you’ve made in that time? “Well, this new album I think we see as a definite starting point for where we want to be going, career-wise. The first album was more of a rock album with hints of metal – the new album is just classic metal!”

It most certainly is. You are now at home on Simmons Records, which our finger-on-the-pulse readership will immediately identify as the record label run by the God of Thunder himself, Gene Simmons of Kiss renown – How has it been working with him – do you ever see or hear from him? I know he contacted you personally to persuade you to join the label but was that it? “Well, Gene’s part of our team,  we speak regularly and he’s party to all the decisions we make. He’s been great. He’s very dedicated to keeping metal alive, and it’s great to be able to use all his business and industry knowledge!”

Has it been a big learning curve, moving from being an essentially self-driven outfit to working with big names like Simmons and producer Kevin Churko? “It’s been amazing!”

How big a deal was it to work with someone like Churko? I know a lot of ‘young’ bands who find working with people like him for the first time to be a big shock, purely in terms of the work ethic and the forensic attention to detail that these ‘big time’ producers seem to employ. “Absolutely it was a shock! The amount of hours that man puts in… sometimes we were shouting at him to go home because he’d been on the job for too many hours! But it is great to work with him. He is a top producer, but because he’s comparatively young he still takes a great pride in his work and wants everything his name is associated with to be good, which is great for us. You know, you hear stories of established producers who get lazy, or go to the studio and produce very raw material, our record sounds very polished, which is just what we wanted. He did a great job.”

As I intimated earier Ms Paige is talking to me from London, England, rather than London, Ontario – you seem to be spending most of your time in the UK and Europe now, Kobra – what prompted the move? “Actually Metal Hammer contacted me, they’d found the band on Myspace, which we thought was dead! And they asked me to take part in the Metal Maidens Calendar for 2010. So that sparked some interest for us. It gave us a little bit of momentum to come over to Europe. There are so many people in such a small area in the UK and Europe that love heavier music it just made sense for us to concentrate our effort here.”

So it’s hard to break a metal band in Canada? “It’s hard to break any kind of band, especially hard rock or metal music… There are only four or five big cities for you to target, we did have a fan base in Canada but the distances involved in touring make it very hard.”

Just like Australia eh? “I guess that’s right! We did do some tours, and were building up momentum, but it’s just easier to be in Europe.”

Your PR blurb says that your influences are all present and correct – Maiden, Priest, Dio etc. But I’m surprised that no female names crop up – surely you must have some metal heroines who inspired you? “None.” For the first time in the interview, Kobra becomes a little brusque, bristling at my attempt to do a bit of gender stereotyping. “There are no female names on there because I really don’t have any female influences. I was asked on to a panel in Caneda, some sort of ‘Women in the Workplace’ thing, and I really didn’t know why they asked me on because the whole thing really isn’t an issue for me, the woman in metal thing.”

And there’s no reason why there should be an issue  - we are living in the 21st century after all, and its only old fools like myself asking questions like that that keep that particular plate spinning. Anyways, on to some speculation of a more profitable nature – more touring in support of the album in the offing? “Definitely, all through Europe, and we’re looking to come to Australia in the early part of next year!”

The early part of next year? That’s when our Soundwave tour rumbles across the nation! “ I know. We’re gunning for it.”

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