Kobra and the Lotus are gearing up to release Prevail II on April 27th via Napalm Records. It’s the second part of their double album series as Prevail I was released around this time last year. While the group are getting ready for their upcoming North American tour, supporting Texas Hippie Coalition, we managed to catch up with the group’s leader, Kobra Paige to discuss the album, her battle with Lyme Disease, those who are against women in metal, Bruce Dickinson, and more.
I listened to Prevail II and it’s pretty good. It’s more emotional than the first part. They both demonstrate our human experiences but, the second one seems to highlight our painful moments. I was curious if that was intentional.
Prevail one and two were not picked out before. We finished the material and it kind of just started falling into place. We were trying to pick which songs went hand in hand. So it’s really interesting that it ended up this way, and it’s interesting to hear you say that about the album as well, because I don’t know how everyone is going receive it. This seems to be a common theme, that people are finding the second one more emotional. It was also supposed to be an equal balance of hard rock, heavy metal, and ballad, for each album. We didn’t want a heavy load one or the other. So it was meant to be how it is meant to be, but there was no order, you know, specifically chosen from the start.
Interesting. I listened to both albums, and I noticed part one had a lot of heavy metal throughout and didn’t notice any filler tracks, which was enjoyable and catchy from the first listen. The second part, I had more of an emotional reaction. I wanted to cry at some parts and ended up thinking about ex’s and all sorts of life experiences from my past. (laughs)
Oh dear. (laughs) Well you know, maybe that’s good. Maybe it has to be worked through. (laughs) There is definitely some very heavy stuff that comes on to the second album, and particularly with vulnerability and grieving and feeling, that pain from something that has severed in your life with another person. In any relationship and that … those … that’s hard. I mean, that’s a really deep pain for a lot of people. I know for me, it’s one of the worst ones I’ve ever had to go through. I think you can hear it definitely in the singing. You can hear the emotion really inside every word, and then the music is just going right along with expressing that, so yeah. At least there’s some heavy metal on there to take your mind off. (laughs)
There’s a lot of metal bands that puts reality into the music and that’s why it can be so powerful, which also makes Prevail II a good album.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
You’re welcome. I heard that you wrote this album when you were struggling with your own illness, Lyme disease….
It’s very true. I was dealing with this for quite a few years before we had gone in the studio. One year I couldn’t go on the road for eight months. And then it was held at bay for awhile by antibiotics, and that’s how I only had the best I could get in my city with what we knew about it. And then as we moved further forward, it really became a problem as the bacteria became resistant to the antibiotics, so when we went into the studio in Denmark I was really at a peak, of infection where my infection had grown times 10. From what I had started with, which was a problem in the beginning. So yeah, it was very challenging because my brain was not always there for me. I had a really bad brain fog, and short term memory loss, and I was just really tired, and those were the biggest symptoms that were affecting me. But I think that it lent to more going into the music even. I think it really ended up the way it was supposed to end up. And that it’s very ironic that the album is called Prevail too. So, it’s perfect. I’m healthy now and that’s wonderful and now I can move forward with all my strength and play with the guys all the music that we made, but it’s really interesting to go back and see how this impacted what was being created. I think it impacted it in the way it was supposed to be impacted.
It’s great to hear that you’re back on track and healthy again.
It’s also admirable that you pushed through no matter how sick you felt, or exhausted, and what did you do to like keep yourself motivated, to keep yourself going even on your weakest days?
I guess the thing was, this was a goal. We were going to do this, and I couldn’t let go of that, and I have a really strong willpower. So it was not something that was going to deter me. Probably … I feel like a lot of people are like this. If they want to do something bad enough, they’ll just keep on pushing through anything if they have to get to the end of it. Also a big source of inspiration was having the band there. The fact that we were all in Denmark, the fact that my bass player has a kid and he was taking that time away from his kid. We were all relocated on the other side of the world, and everyone was leaving their home life behind to do that, and jumping on board in this crazy thing and we were gonna do a double album, and everyone was committed to it. There was no way I was gonna let down any part of that thing that we were going for.
That’s very helpful, just keep on moving no matter what struggles are faced with, you just follow your dream.
You do the best you can, you know? With the circumstances you have, and that’s what I did, so if I had to, no one judged me or said anything about it when I had to just lay flat on the floor and nap for three hours. (laughs) You know, out of nowhere. I was doing that inside the vocal booth and Jacob (Jacob Hansen – producer) … he didn’t say anything, he just let me be, and that was really something that really helps, I think.
Can you go back and explain how both Prevails started?
The very beginning was when my dad heard a podcast with Bruce Dickinson, when he was talking about younger generations not doing double albums. And my dad came (laughs) to me one day and said, ‘How come you guys don’t do this? You guys should just go, go do it, and I think you could do this.’ I was against the idea at first. I thought this is crazy and just suicide for our development, what if we have a weak album, you know? This is so much material. The other guys thought it was crazy too. They were like, ‘Oh, I don’t know about that.’ And then after about a week it just really got under my skin and became something that had to be done, and that is something that is part of my personality, so if people put a challenge in front of me, usually it’s, really hard for me to, say no in the end, ’cause I think what limits am I putting around myself or other people, that couldn’t do this. And usually the answer is I don’t know what the limits are unless we try it.
That’s what made the plan, to go into the studio and the guys were like okay, well, this is happening, let’s go for it. And Jacob seemed to be on board with it, but when we did get into Denmark, during the first week, he did worry a lot and kind of … I don’t want to say freak out, but he was definitely in a bit of a panic over, holy crap like she was serious? Because he hadn’t had anyone come in there yet and do this amount of work as an organic body. With a timetable and we were doing something that was also stretching his limits. (laughs) So it was in turn, ended up being a challenge for everybody, but a great challenge it pulled the best stuff out of us at that time, and taught us a lot of things including things about ourselves. I learned a lot while we were doing that album because of how I was frustrated and struggling with it.
Very interesting, and the whole process started with your dad, that is awesome. (laughs)
I know! It’s crazy actually.
Parents are always there to help us move forward, it doesn’t matter how old we are. (laughs)
It’s true … it’s very true. And you never know what will serve its purpose down the road. I am grateful that he threw that crazy concept out to us. And that we ran with it in the end.
Where would you like to see the band go/grow five years from now?
Wow, five years. That’s actually a lot of time to do a lot of things. Well, in five years I would say two albums. And possibly an album that’s not something people would expect like we did a cover EP. I’d say two original albums and possibly something else thrown in there. And just continuing to grow to a place where we can sustain ourselves because that’s been something that for many bands it’s a struggle, especially in organic genres like metal. You have to make back enough to keep the band on the tour and support the tour, and that’s been a big challenge. We’re 10 years in and it’s still like … it’s just … massively challenging and we do take massive losses all the time, but the movement is going forward, so we just keep putting into it and hoping it’s going to sustain itself, and that is where I would like to see it go. And that’s different from oh we have to give up our secondary jobs. It’s not that, it’s actually just sustaining the band as an independent entity, where I’m not losing everything I’ve put into it.
So that is a big piece that has to shift, and that has to shift over the next year and a half or two years because 10 years has been a long time with it, and I want a family eventually and I’m like how … I can’t do that with what I’m doing right now with the band. And in five years I would hope that we would be able to be headlining our own shows. 1200 capacity, something like that.
It would be amazing because that means we could get production, and we are just dying for those moments, where we can plan the lighting and have a little more production … more production elements in the show. That would be fun.
How do you handle those who are against women in rock and heavy metal? Sadly, there are people out there that continue to criticize and judge as well as being harsher on women than men. We see this everywhere, in all different careers. How do you deal with it?
I would love to say that it doesn’t bother me, but it does bother me still. When I do see comments such as comments under videos or something that are specifically like that, those are the ones that are easier to laugh away because I feel like they’re really stuck behind the times. They don’t have to like female voices or how they sound, but the idea of this sex doesn’t belong in this genre is really harsh and a very unjustified statement. It makes me feel like there’s something that didn’t evolve with the rest of society. Because they are a minority in those comments, most people are listening to what they want to listen to. But like you said it is still unfair. And I don’t know if it will ever change in some ways because we are completely different. Men and women are different beasts of their own.
And yeah, it’s not that easy. I’ve just had to do a lot of work on it with myself, and learning how to temper the reactions, and not have a reaction. So that I can actually even handle myself better in certain situations too. Because we do face different things than men will ever know what that’s like.
They’ll never know.
You know. Yeah.
As difficult as it is to just push forward … I guess that’s a theme here. Just ignore those haters and keep doing what you do.
Yeah. You have to try your best to not let that stop you.
Very cool. you guys are about to tour over here in the states, is there anything that the fans can expect?
There’s definitely going to be material that they’ve never heard before and nothing from the past, before Prevail, which will be interesting for some fans, and exciting for others, maybe will be … I’m not sure we’ll see how they feel about it. But we have made a choice as a band that we only want to play Prevail one and two only this year. So far we’re sticking firm to that. We’ll see. The Texas Hippie Coalition tour that we’re going to do in the US, that’s going to have Prevail one and two combined, and then we have a few headlining sets in there, and those will be almost the entire whole albums of Prevail one and two played back to back. And that will also be interesting. (laughs)
A lot of bands have been playing their new albums live in its entirety as of late, and I personally think it’s a great approach to promote the record and to give fans more experience with it live than just hearing it on a streaming platform such as Spotify or however they listen to music.
I think that we’re not big enough yet for this to really detrimentally affect for instance the shows, We’re direct supporting. There’s new people integrated with people that are coming for us, and I think that it’s still a good opportunity to try these new ones out and I think too, this is something that it’s not an action of betrayal towards fans that want to play your new stuff. It’s actually just the way I’m thinking about it now, ’cause this is how my mindset is, it would be a disservice if we didn’t have joy in what we were doing all the way. And I know that we and Jasio (Jasio Kulakowski Guitarist) have talked about this tour coming up and we’re just like, yeah you know for us to be happy and really for touring to be worth it too, we need to feel passionate about everything we’re doing. And that means we really want to play these songs, so we’re gonna do it. Because we also won’t exist then without it. It comes down to that too. The music essentially is we have to be really passionate about what we’re doing.
While you guys are on the road, what music will the band be listening to?
Haha. Oh man. This gets really diverse.
Honestly it could be anywhere from Depeche Mode, to Amorphis, to Dark Tranquillity, to Adrianna, uh, what’s her name … Ariana Grande. We’ll have The Weeknd, we love NWA, we could turn on like The Transplants. It’s a really eclectic group of people and also there’s a lot of classic rock from time to time too. So we listen to Rush, Triumph, any of those old classics. Queen. Yeah. It’s very, very eclectic group. Led Zeppelin. (laughs)
It will keep you guys entertained on the road, for sure. (laughs)
Nine Inch Nails, um. Die Antwoord, shows up quite often on every tour. (laughs)
If you could collaborate with any artist out there, living or dead, who would it be?
Oh man. You know what, I’ve answered this, and the answer doesn’t change. I’ve gotten some of our people on our page being like are you serious? And I still would love to do this, but I really want to collaborate with Eminem.
Wow! Okay, why do you want to collaborate with Eminem? (laughs)
I love the intensity behind his rapping, especially when he was first coming onto the scene, and it was a big deal and then 8 Mile came out. I just love his style, I love the way he was rapping, and the way his words flowed. And I loved that he was also showing that he came from a struggling place just the same as anybody that was rapping about their struggling place. But he was … you know, not the norm for what they expected in terms of his skin color. And it … I thought it was really cool. And I still love him, when I hear his stuff come onto the radio here and there, because he seems to … especially recently, I heard a collaboration, I think it was with Rihanna or something. And it was emotional and it was speaking about something that mattered, and I really appreciated that.
And I really think that he would be interested in working with something we could both align with. I like this idea of just having this one special collaboration where someone does a different kind of vocals than you do. And it’s through rap, it’s through the rhythmicity of how they’re speaking, the words. Just like Linkin Park, I really love what, is it … it is Try So Hard, or that song … you know that song that they’re famous for?
“In the End,” I believe.
‘In the End!’ It’s ‘In The End.’ Yeah. I love that. I Just love it. I find it interesting to my ears. So that … that’s something I would love to do, and I’m going to want to do it until it happens. Even if it doesn’t happen. (laughs)
Well that’s definitely an unexpected twist. (laughs) But for a good reason. Do you have anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you guys so much for supporting what we do and for the people that pledged for the Prevail Album or have just been supporting it recently through the pre-orders, thank you so much for believing in what we’re going to bring to you. And also standing by us, and aligning with the music, or sharing it with other people. And thank you for supporting live music. No matter what band you support, it’s just really important to support the arts, thank you for buying albums, as well. A
w/ Texas Hippie Coalition
04/19 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
04/20 Denver, CO @ Herman’s Hideaway
04/21 Colorado Springs, CO @ Sunshine Studios Live
04/22 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
04/25 Johnson City, TN @ MarX The Spot
04/26 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
05/03 Lousiville, KY @ Trixies
05/05 Winchester, VA @ Blue Fox
05/07 Providence, RI @ Alchemy
05/08 Watertown, NY @ Exhibition Hall
05/09 Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall3e
05/10 Clifton, NJ @ Dingbatz
05/11 Brooklyn, NY @ The Kingsland
05/12 Harrisburg, PA @ Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center
05/13 Warrendale, PA @ Jergel’s Rhythm Grille
05/15 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom
05/16 Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
05/17 Joliet, IL @ The Forge
05/18 Battle Creek, MI @ The Music Factory
05/19 Sturtevant, WI @ Route 20
05/20 Saint Louis, MO @ Fubar
05/23 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
05/24 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
05/25 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
05/27 Los Angeles, CA @ 1720
05/30 Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee Theater
06/01 Fort Worth, TX @ Rail Club
06/02 Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
06/03 Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live
06/08 ES Spain Portugalete (Bilbao) @ Groove Club
06/09 ES Vigo @ Transylvania Club
06/10 ES Madrid @ Sala Caracol
06/12 FR Montpellier @ Secret Place
06/13 FR Nancy @ Chez Paulette
06/15 CH Wetzikon @ Hall of Fame