Latest release: Kobra & the Lotus (Simmons Records/Universal)

Kobra & the Lotus is a Canadian metal band who have been winning hearts and minds across the northern hemisphere over the last year or so with a constant string of festival appearances. Led by the delightful Kobra Paige – Brittany to her friends – their second album has just been released on Kiss great Gene Simmons’ own label. Loud caught up with Kobra recently.

Hi Kobra. Let’s start with you telling us a little about Kobra and the Lotus, because you’ll probably be a totally new band for many people here in Australia.
Kobra and the Lotus is a classic heavy metal band. We don’t really catagorise ourselves into any particular genre of heavy metal. We are just a hard, heavy driving riff, dual lead classic vocal band that is 50% about writing hard hitting music and 50% about putting on one helluva live show. It’s all about the energy.

Tell me how you came to the attention of Gene Simmons.
This came about because of a Universal Records representative. Mark Spicoluk had been following us for a couple of years to see how we were growing and evolving and when we had finished recording this album we took it to him. He thought Gene would like it, so he took it to Gene and Gene actually went and checked out this video that was in the package with the CD. It was just a clip of some songs we had played at a festival in Ibiza, Spain called Hard Rock Hell Road Trip. He just watched that, and that was the end of it. He hadn’t even heard the album yet. He just saw the live clip and decided he wanted us. So he called us. It was ridiculous. That’s just how it came about.

Does that mean you had absolutely no idea that he was interested?
We had no idea! Our manager had a phone call in her in-box. She was flying home from Toronto. We were on tour in England and when she landed in Calgary, she listened to her messages and it was a message from Gene saying, “I’m here with Randy Lennox from Universal Canada and we want Kobra and the Lotus”. So she sent that phone call in an email to us so we could listen to it while we were overseas and we couldn’t believe it.

Obviously getting signed to a major label has really opened some doors for your band.
It has been a really big opener in terms of our new agent, and that got us onto our first festival tour and that’s been unbelievable. We really needed that label and that partnership that we couldn’t get to by ourselves. We had gone as far as we could. We could have just kept going, but we needed a push, and so that really, really helped open the next chapter for us.

Can you tell us something about what the recording process was like for this album?
We recorded the album in Ontario, in Canada, and after we had finished the signing they had to first of all make sure that we were no one-trick pony – that we could continue to write more material, because it would have been bad if we could only write one album and that was the end of us. So they wanted to have us write a whole album of new material. We had a very short timeframe. We had a month and a half to come up with more material and really test ourselves. They wanted to take some of the ballads off the record and replace them with more high energy songs. Just so that, because it was our first introduction for a lot of countries in the world and we will be a supporting band, not headlining things, we’re unknown to some countries – like Australia. We need to just be able to go out there and have a strong, punchy, in-your-face introduction for our first run. So it was part of the strategy to write some more songs and make sure that was what the album was all about. That lead to us going back in the studio with Kevin Churko in January and recording four new tracks and putting those on the album, having it all remixed and mastered and then released.

It must have been quite an experience, really, to have been put under the hammer like that.
It was very very stressful but we’re  up for the challenge because we love writing. It was very exciting at the same time. Just to show them we could do it. I was freaking out. I was very very stressed out. I had doubts in my mind. But it was just natural feelings that were coming up from having a year to write the album we had just recorded and then just three months – not even – to come up with another album of material. And it had to be good! It had to be strong enough that they still felt very encouraged by what we were giving them.

So how did you come out of that process, after having as long as you wanted to do the first album, then be expected to make another one so quickly?
It was good. It made us grow a lot. You always grow from those situations and now we constantly write. We know how important it is now to keep exercising that muscle and never stop writing. Because we can’t have enough material and we can’t ever think that we’ve learned enough. We have to keep evolving and trying to learn more. As much as possible.

The album has been out only a short time so far, but you must have had some feedback from it. Have you been pleased with the reaction?
We’re very excited and it’s been a fun festival run for us because we’ve seen a lot of people singing our songs, and that’s a new thing for us. It’s a new feeling when you can actually share your creation in that way with people. It’s incredible.

Is there something you can pinpoint that’s been a real highlight for you and the band so far?
It’s really hard to say, because I feel that every single part has been necessary and I’ve loved every single part of it. Even the two people gigs that we played three years ago, somewhere in Canada in a really big shit hole… it was all really necessary. Everything we do, I feel I’ve loved every piece of it. But one of the biggest highlights was getting our new agent. The signing was huge, because that opened the door in the first place. Getting all these festivals through that agent. It  was just amazing to play all these festivals through the summer.

You’re doing an interview here with us in Australia, so what are the chances of Kobra and the Lotus coming to pay us a visit?
I think we’re gonna be there sooner than we think. Probably right after the New Year, we’ll be in Australia. That’s what we’re planning. Fingers crossed, we’ll be there soon.

We love our rock down here, so you’ll be more than welcome.
Yeah I know you do, and you guys have some awesome, awesome rock bands. Some legendary bands also. So it will be great to go to Australia.