Canadian heavy metal band Kobra And The Lotus will shortly release their new album Prevail I and it is a prime slice of pure heavy metal. We had a chat with vocalist Kobra Paige to hear all about the album, its creation and themes, and also what the band have planned for the future, both with touring as well as a follow up album.
Your new album Prevail I is out later this month, how did the recording of the album go?
The recording of the album was an amazing experience. It was the most also the most challenging experience because we really pushed ourselves out of the box and also pushed ourselves to expand and give the best we could with all the stuff we’ve learned over the past three years, since releasing the last album so I would say, overall, incredible! Tough and incredible!
You worked with Jacob Hansen on the album. What did he bring to the Lobra & The Lotus sound?
Jacob has a phenomenal mix for starters, I’m a really big fan of Jacobs work in the past, specifically for how big and clear the sound is, you can hear everything going on in the music in a very clear and full way so he brought forward a lot of suggestions and new ways to help us look at things such as chord structures, progressions and breaking out of our old patterns so that we could create something fresh while still keeping our authenticity.
Is there any story behind the title of the album, it’s the first part of a double album isn’t it?
Yes it is. It’s quite an ambitious feat and I think everyone thought I was crazy at first, when I said that’s what we’re doing but then we all go onboard with each other and we pushed it out and recorded it and finished it at the same time.
When can we expect the second part to come out?
We haven’t set a launch date yet for the second one with Napalm. We’re kind of waiting to see how it goes with Prevail I, to see what a guideline will be like for the second one. The biggest thing is allowing enough of a gap for people to digest it enough, so it’s not going to be a big wait but it’s probably going to be six months or so so that people can really listen to the first one.
The album has a very anthemic sound with a very upbeat and positive vibe running through it along with the heaviness, was it your intention to have it sounding this way with the mix of styles or was it an ongoing process to develop that sound?
Absolutely, I mean the creative experience this time around really unfolded in a very unique way. We all went to the studio and we were in there isolated with each other in the smallest and oldest town in Denmark for a whole month, just writing. I think I was a little bit mad at that time, as in insane as we weren’t sleeping very much but man, we sure made some new ways to express ourselves, and that was one of the biggest things for me. This album was supposed to be about the human experience and it’s supposed to lift people up and also give people strength so I think we’ve accomplished that with the content on this, especially the lyrics. I was very, very focussed on making them more vulnerable and relatable to people in real life situations so if I was feeling it, then hopefully, possibly other people are feeling it just as much.
A song like Light Me Up has a definite defiant quality as well. Would you say that is a theme that runs through the album?
Yeah, Light Me Up is a song that is very near and dear to mine and Jasios heart, particularly. This is a collaboration that took a lot of work. First we went to Johnny K and then we went to Jacob Hansen with the song. Light Me Up is specifically about not letting go, don’t give up and you’re not alone in what you’re going through. There are people that have compassion for what you’re going through. Every life is significant.
The opening song on the album is called Gotham. Is that about Batman or has it got a different meaning behind it?
It’s about Gotham City. I thought it was a total parallel to real life cities actually. Things that are happening nowadays are pretty dark. There’s still hope though inside the cities and also inside humanity but it’s hard to see that sometimes because of all the destruction and the seduction from this darkness that is all around us so there we go, Gotham City, the city of evil and also everyone’s childhood familiarity which I thought was cool .
Are the band big Batman fans?
The guys were definitely down with it being called Gotham once I told them what I was making the lyrics and vocals about so I would assume they are, I am, definitely.
Who’s your favourite Batman character?
I actually really liked Poison Ivy when I was young. I thought she was so cool, now I realise she’s pretty evil so I don’t know if her personality is the greatest! It’s lacking some stuff for sure but I still like her! She’s a super villain you know!
You have an amazing instrumental on the album in Check The Phyrg. Did you always plan on having an instrumental on the album?
I did, I fully intended on there ending an instrumental. I really, really wanted to highlight the guitarists potential on this album because I know that people can see that the guys can really play but they never saw the extent of what they can do with the guitarist. I collaborate with Jasio on songwriting and stuff but you don’t really get to see other aspects of him as a guitarist so on this album I told him and Jake who was a guest guitarist, you guys write your guitar masterpiece cos we need to put this on the album and I love guitar instrumentals personally, from Jato Unit From Jeff Loomis inspired me, when that came out. There’s a lot of stuff from the past as well by Paul Gilbert and Steve Vai that I just absolutely loved and enjoyed so I thought, yeah let’s do this for a new generation, let’s also put this out.
Do you have a favourite song on the album yet or is it all of them?!
It’s kinda all of them! They’re so different from each other. I really enjoyed making every single one of them. That’s really tough you know, we only also picked songs that we all enjoyed and loved and believed in so we cut a lot of fat off. We wrote more songs as we needed it for both albums. We picked the songs intentionally. I think, if anything, I’m really looking forward to playing the newer sounding things that have a little more of this heavy, hard rock vibe like You Don’t Know and Gotham is a hybrid between High Priestess and this new sound we’ve been playing with, just because it’s fresh to me and it’s exciting for us to play something fresh.
What is the song Hell On Earth about, Is it about the state of the world presently or is it about something else?
Yeah, Hell On Earth is just a direct story about victim mentality in the way that sometimes we as humans, there’s people puttered more than others that can use a bad circumstance in their life or a hardship that they’re dealing with as an excuse to treat people really badly and that is what that is specifically about. It’s also about someone that doesn’t want to help themselves, maybe they have an opportunity to get better but they’re choosing not too, they’re staying in hell and they want to stay in their misery because it’s comfortable so I would have to say it is about the present too.its just a hell of a metal track and that’s why it’s written in that more dramatic way. It’s so fun and that’s actually one of my favourite parts on the album, the breakdown on Hell On Earth. I can’t wait to play it with the guys.
Will you be hitting the road in support of the album when it comes out?
Yeah we have quite a tour planned already, I think we’re going to be on the road for almost three years with this material! We really want to promote it and share it with everybody at least a couple of times so it’s gonna take some time. This year we start in May in North America, a little three week tour with Xandria and Once Human, I think that will be awesome and then in the summer as we have announced, we have a handful of festivals in Europe and we’re using the time in between to get a lot of the material ready for Prevail II that hasn’t been done such as music videos, artwork, stuff like that and then come the Fall, it’s looking like we’re gonna be back in Europe, possibly the UK too and we probably won’t finish touring until two days before Christmas! We have a lot of dates still to announce to everyone so it will good to start announcing those so people can actually see where we’re coming and not just think we’re going to launch a bunch of new material and they’re never be going to get to see us!
Will you be playing much of the new material at the shows?
Yeah, right now, we’re planning to play at least half of the album so that’s quite a bit of a set, do hopefully everyone enjoys it because other than the most popular tracks which we try to pick but it’s hard now we’re getting less space with the new album to include everything. We have to test it out on the road and experiment to see what’s going better for people or not but we’re playing half the album at least, right off the bat.
I think the new material will definitely sound great live by the way!
You’ve toured with everyone from Kiss to Judas Priest to Fear Factory but what is the best tour that the band have ever done and what made it so memorable?
You know, we’ve had such amazing tours with so many different bands. I could day something great about every tour we’ve been a part of because we saw completely different people at shows because the demographics shift, you know, the Fear Factory crowd are completely different from a Sonata Antartica crowd and I think that’s awesome because we wouldn’t even have had an opportunity to play for those people if we hadn’t been introduced to them that way. Kiss and Def Leppard, I mean that’s just another level of touring that I don’t even know we’ll get to experience against we cherished every moment. It was such a big production backstage, it was really amazing that way but the performances were probably not my favourite in the world, we were playing in these amphitheatres that had ten thousand people spread out over twenty thousand seats because we’re opening the show and that’s a lot of people but spread out because they’re coming to see Kiss and it’s pretty hard to wrangle in their attention you know so interestingly enough I don’t how much of our fan base actually grew from that tour because of that reason but the tour was magic so that will will always sit good in my memory and then I have to highlight one other one, Steel Panther, which really took me by surprise. When we toured with Steel Panther in the fall of 2012, it was amazing because not only was it just a great tour for us, they were really polished musicians and performers, we were just really impressed, we had no idea actually. We learned a ton from watching that band every night, just how it was to have a really well oiled machine.
You have a very powerful singing voice, who are your inspirations as a singer?
You know, you would never actually guess! I really just trey to master as best I can, the voice that I’ve been given and I think some people have found similarities in other metal musicians out there from the traditional side of things like Bruce Dickinson, at least that’s what I’m hearing and it’s not even my choice, you know, it’s just how my voice is and if I was going to say my inspirations, it’s people like Robert Plant, I love Fleetwood Mac, I love Rainbow, that’s not a surprise! Ronnie James Dio, I still think is one of the most magical people to come into rock n roll and metal that there ever was.
You toured with Kamelot as a guest vocalist a few years ago. How was that experience, singing with a different band?
That was amazing, I was so grateful for that opportunity because it was really wonderful to be part of the background and not up front. It made me see things from a totally different perspective. It made me feel, probably how my band feels which is you’re a colour, inside this paining which is really important for how the whole picture comes together and I just loved it. I think it made me a stronger performer after that. It also made me think about using my voice in different ways because a lot of Kamelot material called for a more feminine sound and not for that full on, powerful tone that I let out in a lot of our High Priestess material so it was wonderful.
Which other bands would you like to tour with, if you had the opportunity?
Oh man, you know a band that I would actually love to tour with is Disturbed, I think it would be really cool. I saw them at the House Of Blues two years ago as a guest with our producer from High Priestess. I think he had produced their first record that did well for them, and so he took me there and I’d never really listened to much Disturbed but man, did I gain a lot of respect for them that day because it’s metal, I really didn’t pay much attention to how metal it was until I saw them singing live and that guy can really sing and the guitarist is really coming up with a lot of tasty riffs going on underneath there and he can really play his guitar so i’d love to tour with them, give that a try. That’s not a flavour we’ve toured with before and it’d be nice to see what happens if we did.
Have you got any final words for your fans in the UK?
Always, I always have something to say to them and it’s always along the lines of I love you, we love you and I’m immensely grateful for all your support . The UK is where the little fire started for supporting this band in the world and for that, I will be forever grateful and I can’t wait to see you guys soon with all our new material.
Hopefully it’ll be this year!
I sure hope so too! Cross your fingers, we’re working on it.
I would definitely come and check it out, I’ll bet the new material sounds great live.
Which song would you want to hear live?
Definitely Gotham and Light Me Up as well.
That’s super cool, well those will definitely be in the set!