Portland, OR hard rockers Cobra Cobra recently released their debut album, Life After Poison. We asked the group to list five things they learned recording the record during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
01) The process of filming a music video needn’t be intimidating
We decided to do our video in an industrial setting and chose an area outside of a warehouse that had been shut down. The timing couldn’t have been any better as there wasn’t any pedestrian traffic in the area due to the pandemic. We didn’t have to worry about disruptions or onlookers when we were recording the video, we just had to focus on ourselves and playing our instruments.
Originally, we had kicked around the idea of using some CGI or stock footage of some abandoned theme parks such as Nara Dreamland in the video but we ended up really liking our filming location so we went with a more organic approach by doing a live playthrough for the video. We think it turned out great and we love the look of the interesting graffiti and street art everywhere. After incorporating some of the aerial footage we got with the drone shots we forgot about adding any other outside footage. We’ll have plenty of stuff in mind for next time though.
02) Don’t have preconceived notions about who should like your music
While we were working on coordinating and filming our music video, we discovered that we were getting a fair amount of traction in the UK which came as a really pleasant surprise. We learned that you shouldn’t have preconceived notions about who will like your music. It’s better to play the music you’re passionate about rather than worrying about writing for a specific audience. We weren’t expecting it but our album is already being played by radio stations in the UK. While it’s something that we didn’t necessarily plan for, we feel very fortunate that the album has already found a receptive audience. Since we dropped the video several other UK stations have asked to play the song and recently a US radio station on the east coast has reached out. An administrator from a Songwriters Education and Resource group has also gotten in touch and has asked to share our video with some of their hard rock songwriters. It feels like we’re already gaining momentum, even if it’s little by little.
03) When you are inspired to do something – do it!
Through making the video and watching the footage we learned a lot about the stage presence and energy we want to be capable of bringing to our live shows. It’s been said that 90% of achieving your goal starts by just showing up, the action of just that one thing carries most of the power. Lately a good philosophy we’ve put into practice is to avoid putting anything off. When you are inspired to do something, don’t doddle, just get started. When the idea to do a video came up, we put that philosophy into action. Next thing you know we had found the right place to shoot the video and found a promising local video guy who was willing to work with us during the pandemic. The rest is history.
Now we’re excited that people are finally able to get a glimpse of why we’ve been so stoked on this project. Our vocalist is such a seasoned pro and totally gets into it – you can’t always hear that kind of energy through a recording but seeing is believing. Other people have mentioned that it was refreshing to see a straightforward approach with the classic full band live style video. It’s been really cool that we can finally demonstrate the band for our fans and closest friends. Sometimes we used to wonder how effective a music video could even be unless it was backed by a major label with deep pockets but we’re so glad we went after it and got the ball rolling! We’re looking at a couple other of our tunes that would make a great video, so it might be fun to explore that soon.
04) Anything can happen during a lockdown…
It’s well documented that Black Sabbath said they have often felt like there was a (spooky) 5th member of the band guiding them over the years, and things would somehow just work out. The way things have been coming together sometimes it feels like we have our own invisible force guiding us. When it feels like you’re facing overwhelming odds sometimes you need to have faith that it will all work out in your favor. For example, in Oregon the weather can be really temperamental. As we chose an outdoor location for the video shoot, we wanted a day with clear skies but you’re never in control of what the clouds are going to do. We scheduled the video for a weekend that was supposed to be clear but the day prior to the shoot the forecast said it was going to rain after all! If we had chosen to proceed with the shoot and it rained our video guy wouldn’t have been able to reschedule after his 2-hour commute to Portland. With the risk of losing our filming deposit lurking overhead we decided to go ahead with the shoot. Luckily, “as our 5th member” would have it, the rain held off and it all came together! It was remarkable to have such a nice Saturday in December in Oregon. The sun was blinding early on and everything was running smooth and our drone guy told us there were no noise complaints from anyone in the area or driving by, even though we had our tune cranked to 11 all day over a punishingly loud PA which could be heard for several blocks. There ended up being a few locals in the area that stopped and enjoyed rocking out with us. Turns out the whole day just felt like we were in the pocket and everything was meant to work out.
05) We sound great at concert volume!
…especially our drum sound. Just before the video we had acquired some new equipment including a new bass rig and a new drum kit. We were definitely curious how our gear would sound together and we were blown away by our new live sound. The new bass and drums really pack a punch. The outdoor video shoot was a great way to find out because we were running through the song over and over at concert volume. Our drummer Chancelor is as rock solid as they come and really brought his A-game. He was incredibly consistent with his hits, his feel and attack.
He was hitting the drums unbelievably hard, totally in the zone, and he basically stayed in that zone for 8 hours doing full takes all day. Some takes were good and some were ridiculously great. It feels like a crime we didn’t have a full audience there that day to witness the magic but we were definitely inspired by how things sounded. We feel like our inspiration and excitement came across in the footage from that day and we’re now more confident than ever that our live shows are going to provide the kind of excitement and energetic sound we’ve been striving for.