Latest Release: Atavist (Victory Records)

With album number five, Atavist, released April 26, Otep have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind. With great success over the years with their unique genre of ‘artcore’, the album that awakens a dormant characteristic has everyone intrigued. The first album since Otep began without bassist Evil J, Otep Shamaya catches up with Loud to describe how this has affected the album, if at all, and answers the burning question: will Otep be coming to Australia?

Q: The new album title Atavist refers to the reappearance of a characteristic that’s been absent for quite some time. How does the new record reflect this?
A: Well I wanted to go back to the essence of what provoked me to start writing this kind of music. So that’s what I tried to do, I tried to go back to that time in life.

Q: You do not usually write with the same musicians over the albums, but this is the first record without Evil J, how did that affect the album?
A: I miss him, but luckily I was able to work with many talented people that brought in a lot of great energy, powerful energy, just positive energy. The writing experience was very special and unique and I had a lot of fun.

Q: Do you approach every album differently as you write with different musicians?
A: Yeah we kind of just work in their creativity and their style, and see if we can find a common theme and work with that.

Q: Over time, your music has been labelled artcore. Some people consider the term one just for you to preach to the masses. What does the term mean to you?
A: Our music is rather graphic and I think that at the core of every song, every lyric, every note, we are known to provoke, to motivate people and that is my definition of art. We are not here to appeal to a fad or fashion. We try to write pure music, we’re trying to become a part of a fad or whatever is going on in the industry. We just want to stay true to ourselves.

Q: Do you think that it’s harder being an established woman in metal, possibly dealing with jealousy, or when you began, trying to prove yourself in the metal world?
A: I don’t really know. I never really looked at it like that, or thought about it. I’m just being all I can be. I don’t know why I should care what other people think or say about what I’m doing. I don’t live my life according to what other people think about me. I was born alone, I’m going to die alone, anything in between is mine.

Q: Back to the new record. You switched record labels – Capitol to Victory – when S.T.C.M was released in 2009. Has working with a new label changed anything for you?
A: No, not at all. We’re really lucky with labels. They respect my artistic vision and allow me to release it however I feel fits.

Q: Who has been your favourite, most inspirational musician to work with?
A: Well definitely the best musician I’ve ever worked with is Evil J, but I’ve worked with so many really, really talented musicians. Especially on this record, and that includes Markus Estrada, Collyn McCoy, Gil and Rani Sharone. I’m really proud of these guys. I’ve been very, very blessed to work with so many great people.

Q: So, can Australia expect to be a part of the Atavist tour?
A: Ohhh, I still don’t know. We don’t have anything set, but it would be a dream come true for me to be able to play on Australian soil. I hear it’s a beautiful country, and the spirit of the people is beautiful. I’m also a history buff and I’m intrigued by your history, and I really would love to play there someday. I’m going to do my best. We spend a lot of time playing in the states, it would be great to break our borders and get over there.