KOBRA AND THE LOTUS - PREVAIL
Launched in 2009, Kobra And The Lotus is the lifeblood and passion of Canadian vocalist Kobra Paige. Eight years into their journey, the band has gone through significant changes in sound and personnel to the point that they were able evolve and create what is easily the strongest album in the Kobra And The Lotus catalogue. In fact, the aptly titled Prevail is such a show of strength that Kobra and her bandmates chose to make a double album to be released in two parts over the next year; a venture very few artists have the backbone to attempt.
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Kobra And The Lotus garnered immediate attention in Canada and the US with their debut album, Out Of The Pit, in 2010. The release of their self-titled second album in 2012 and High Priestess in 2014 enabled the band to tour worldwide both as a headliner and support act, which included a North American tour with KISS and Def Leppard. Sadly, Kobra was forced to take an eight month break from music due to a battle with Lyme disease, but Kobra And The Lotus regained much needed momentum with their Words Of The Prophets covers EP in 2015. In fact, the EP played was an integral part in the birth of Prevail in that it cemented the working relationship between Kobra and guitarist Jasio Kulakowski, who joined the band in 2012.
The idea of making a double album was introduced by Kobra's father, who suggested they do it because the vast majority of younger generation metal artists don't have the drive. Kobra admits she thought he was insane and that it was a surefire way to commit career suicide.
"A week later, I couldn't get the idea out of my head because I didn't see any reason why we couldn't push ourselves to do it," says Kobra. "We could at least try, and in that way make a bold statement that Kobra And The Lotus is still hanging in there."
When the band signed with Napalm Records, who were 100% supportive of the double album concept, the label opted to split Prevail into two parts because they felt it was too much material all at once that would go over people's heads. Twenty-one songs in all (including a cover), Prevail I and II share outstanding and diverse material due to the fact the songs were all written at the same time. Not only that, they wrote and recorded together in the studio with producer Jacob Hansen. According to Kobra, the band went to Denmark almost completely empty-handed and had very little material prepared. She calls it an "amazing experience" in that all the writing happened in one place, where the band members could bounce ideas off each other and encourage one other. They also benefitted from Hansen's considerable knowledge and experience.
"I'd say about 85% of Prevail happened in the studio on the spot," says Kobra. "Once we saw how much more colour was added to the songs by working that way we started to feel comfortable with the process. There were some unique things that happened because we were all there together. There was a whole new, whole different vision for this album. I didn't know how this was going to turn out; a lot of it came from my intuition. Jasio is my writing partner and he's a creative force. We lock in with one another when we write, it's amazing. I'm really proud and overjoyed with how the album turned out."
Prevail marks Kobra And The Lotus' debut as members of the Napalm Records roster, but for Kobra the collaboration is a first on many levels for the band.
"It's one of those amazing things that happens and I feel so blessed that Napalm were still interested in us. Every time we were getting ready to release something they were always there looking at us. We always went somewhere else and it was never a good choice (laughs). Okay, it was a good choice in how we needed to grow, but Napalm is the best label we could have hoped for because they're dedicated and they work really hard. There's a lot of young energy at the label and that's a blessing compared to other deals we've had. I don't think we ever knew what it meant to be supported by a label until we signed with Napalm."
In the months prior to the release of Prevail, fans were treated to three singles: "Trigger Pulse", "Gotham" and "You Don't Know". It comes as no surprise they are reminiscent of some of the material on High Priestess thanks to Kobra and Jasio's partnership, but they also attest to Kobra And The Lotus' massive growth as songwriters and musicians since the last record. On paper it sounds like lip service to say the band has become heavier, more dynamic and adventurous, but your ears don't lie.
Bottom line... Kobra And The Lotus are fearless as they move forward with Prevail, and with good reason.
Kobra Paige - vocals
Jasio Kulakowski - guitars
Brad Kennedy - bass
Marcus Lee - drums
Interview with Kobra Paige (November 2017)
Hi Kobra, thank you very much for your time and answering our questions on apesmetal.com.
No Problem, thanks for having me!
For all who haven't heard about Kobra And The Lotus yet, maybe you can give us a quick overview about how everything has started, your music and the story behind the band’s name “Kobra And The Lotus”?
Kobra and the Lotus is a hard rock and heavy metal band based out of Calgary, Canada. It was officially founded in 2009, but has been on the road and in the works for almost 10 years now. It is a very melodic and musically dynamic project with strong guitar riffage and diverse vocal expression. This is a high energy show that I believe many people will enjoy even if they’re not into heavier genres of music.
The lotus represents beauty being reborn out of the mud, parallel to many things in our lives, and the cobra represents a symbolic protector of humanity.
How does everything work after your current release “Prevail I” was completely crowdfunded? How is the response from your fans around the globe? And most important: are you guys happy with the result?
Unfortunately, the crowd funding backfired and it was not even close to being fully funded. Once we signed to a label it overcomplicated matters and the shipping/distribution of the pledged items cost almost the entire amount we had raised. We are dealing in Canadian dollars too and our label is in the Euro which doesn’t make for a great exchange. It was a good learning lesson though! That being said, it was amazing and humbling to see so many people show up and put their faith in our next body of work.
We are blessed to be experiencing a very positive response for the album. Many more people are also connecting to and finding the music more than ever before. It’s bringing us back into the scene!
I couldn’t have been happier with the result and am very proud of everyone involved. We did our absolute best in that moment and time.
You are playing a lot of shows in November and December while touring through Europe and also Russia. How is this experience for you and what are your secrets to stay motivated and to stay in shape to perform every day at the highest possible level?
The shows have been great! Everyone has been warm, excited, and ready to rock. The coolest part has been seeing how many people are familiar with the new album.
It’s quite challenging to stay in shape on the road, especially when you are not doing a tour with a crew or travelling by bus. I’ve been quite sick already while on tour through the UK and the best thing I can do with my spare time is sleep and steam my face. Our drummer and bass player have been hitting the gym when they have the energy for it. I would join them if I was healthier. Otherwise, many of us carry resistance bands with us. I like to skip and do different body weighted exercises with plyometrics. When we tour on a bus it is a much different story because we are able to get more sleep.
As mentioned you joined Kamelot for some shows in Russia. How magical is it to tour with your boyfriend who is also the singer of Kamelot?
It’s always a pleasure to tour with Kamelot and our music seems to work compatibly with their show. You know, it’s funny because you’d think I get to see him more because we are supporting them but I really don’t see him all day! Our bands also travel separately so not much of any off time was spent together. Kamelot is at a very different level than my band and rightly so. They have been around much longer and Thomas worked very very hard to grow that band to the size it is now. Mine and Tommy’s days are very different. I spend the day focusing on loading in and setting up gear, organizing merchandise, and preparing with my band for the show. Kamelot will usually be picked up from the hotel later in the day and brought to the venue near show time. He will also be tucked into bed soundly a couple hours before I will even leave the venue haha. I’m lucky to come back to the same place though and wake up beside him. We hardly get to see each other because of our schedules so any time is better than nothing and it is always an honor for me to back up his stunning voice. I very much hope that we can continue to tour with Kamelot in the future. Our bands really get along well on a personal level and we have had some of our best experiences with them.
In the mid of November I read your post about equipment and merch has been stored in soaked water and bird shit by a payed UK company. How do you guys handle this situation and what does such an incident means for the rest of the tour? I really hope that not all of your stuff is damaged!
It was a disgrace to be honest and it took me several days to shake it off. I bought the kit years ago so I was the one who was most affected by what happened, as well as our tour manager Georg who said he’d never seen anything like it. The kit was fine once the drum skins were replaced but we were very lucky some of the pieces didn’t warp. As far as the amplifiers go, I have no idea if those still work. I can’t relate to that behavior so I have no words for it. I was very disappointed there are people out there who would actually treat some one else’s valuable stuff with such disregard and ignorance.
Kobra And The Lotus played headlining shows in the UK, Ireland and also in Italy. Why do you have a special or bigger fanbase in these countries?
The UK has been a place we have been particularly working on since the beginning and though Ireland was only introduced to us last year, we had a very strong and mighty group of people show up for us. It’s been amazing! Rome, Italy is a newer territory and a harder one to play in but we haven’t lost hope yet! We’ve been to Milan quite a few times and we look forward to going there again.
Up next a tour through Germany will follow as support for the German high flyers Beyond The Black. Have you already heard about them or maybe met them before the tour was planned? What do you expect from this part of the tour?
We actually hadn’t heard of the band until this tour came about but we quickly thought it was a great fit and were grateful for the opportunity. So far they have been awesome people to work with behind the scenes as well. We have a very very good feeling about this tour!!
Can you give us an exclusive insight of what we can expect from Kobra And The Lotus in 2018?
Most excitingly we will be releasing our fifth album ‘Prevail II’ on May 11th, 2018! That means we will be hitting the ground running again and many tours are in the works. Everyone should stay posted for some exciting announcements!
Are there any festivals or cities you haven't played at in the last years or where you would like to return to and why?
There are many. We haven’t done an extensive festival tour since 2012 and it would be great to be a part of that circuit again. Bloodstock in The UK and Wacken would be fantastic ones to return to. We would also very much like to go to Japan and South America. Hopefully it will be a part of our near future!
Thanks again for your time. We can’t wait to see you on stage in Munich. Stay as you are, rock on and cheers to your bandmates!
Thanks very much and see you soon. We can’t wait!
Interview: Manuel Miksche