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Interview time with Otep Shamaya

8:15 pm Tim Fink 0 Comments


Otep Shamaya is the lead vocalist for American Alternative metal band, Otep. A lot of you probably know of Otep, online they seem to be one of those 'Love em or Hate em' kind of bands. Whether or not you enjoy their music it is hard to deny the fact that they have achieved great success. Forming way back in 2000 Otep has put out six full lengths, two ep's and one live album. "Hydra" being the newest album and purportedly last, Otep is embarking on a world wide 'Seduce and Destroy' tour to promote it. It is with great pleasure that Otep managed to find time to sit down and have this interview with us. So I hope you all enjoy it.


Before diving head first into the interview, listen to the very first Otep song I heard, one that very well may of got me hooked on metal.


1. Who are you? 
-Otep Shamaya, front-woman of OTEP

2. Where are you from?
-Los Angeles, CA

3. What do you do?
-Scream professionally

4. Why do you do this?
-I have a message and am constantly looking for creative outlets to express myself.

5. What is it like inside the mind of Otep? What drives you?
- Cluttered. Conflicted. Famished yet Full. I seek to evolve. I seek to know. I seek to overcome. I want to destroy ignorance. I want to empower those that feel hopeless. I want to nourish them with self-love. I want to become a better artist, a better writer, a better person. Daily. I struggle with it. I want to empower the spirit that inflates this space suit of a human body that is bound by time and gravity.

6. Your music has been labeled all over the map,nu metal, goth metal, industrial. What would you label it as or are genres just too convoluted?

- Labels are for soup cans and boner pills. We make music. Extreme music. Our influences span the spectrum of music from punk to metal to spoken word and performance pieces. We've been called Heavy MENTAL and ARTCORE. Those seem appropriate.

7. Since so many tags can be used to categorize the music, you must have many sources of inspiration? Could you name a few?
- The Doors, Slipknot, Rage Against The Machine, The Beastie Boys, System of a Down, Radiohead, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, Tupac, Joey Badass, Diggable Planets, Mazzy Star, Eliot Smith, Pantera, Metallica

8. You have been performing for over a decade, let's go back to the beginning for a moment. The band was invited to Ozzfest without a label and then got signed with zero material, what was it like back then? What set you apart from all the others?
- We weren't trying to fit in to any particular fad or scene. We were passionate about what we did and it showed in our performances.

9. Fast forward to now and we have you as part of the Victory Records family, I imagine this has been quite the beneficial partnering?
- 3 albums with Capitol Records, 3 albums with Victory. It's been quite a ride.

10. With six full length albums throughout the years, have you progressed and matured along the ride from Sevas Tra to Hydra?
- I think I have. I hope so.

11. Do you think fans from back in 2002 when Sevas Tra came out, would love Hydra the same way?
 - Yes.

12. In terms of success on the charts it appears 'Smash the Control Machine' comes out on top but what album are you most proud of?
- I'm not a cartographer so charts mean very little to me. I am proud of all my albums.

13. Cut the head off of a Hydra and it comes back twice as hard so what is the story behind 'Hydra' being the final album? 
- The mythology is very important here. You cut off the head, it comes back twice as hard. Read that over and over. You'll hopefully see the truth in what the Greeks were trying to portray.

14. 'Apex Predator'is the first single and video off of 'Hydra', can you explain the idea behind this song and video? It has been making some strange waves the past couple days.
- It has over 250k views in just a matter of days. I'd say it's making a typhoon, not just waves. The song is about the avenger Hydra's affection for one of her victims. So the chronology of the song features heavy in the visuals but I also wanted a deliberate subtext that challenged our ideas and phobias of love and violence. In fact, it was flagged on YouTube for inappropriate content not because there's a woman deep-throating a firearm but because there's imagery of what appears to be love between two women. We are a strange species that rejects love and embraces violence. But so it is.

15. In support of the new album I hear you are going on an Australian tour? How excited are you?
-On a scale of 1-10, I'm at a million. It's beyond words.

16. After all these years I am sure you have been on many tours, what is the best part of them? Any memories that stand out from the rest?
- The opportunity to be on stage and perform art is a blessing I never take for granted. Every show counts. It's amazing.

17. Stepping away from the music now, you are an advocate for many different groups and causes. What is something in the world today you feel more people should be caring about?
- Equality for all beings.

18. 2013 still has a ways to go, what else does this year have in store for you? Not necessarily just in terms of music.
- I hope I can get 300lbs on deadlift before the end of the year. My max now is 265lbs but that was before I broke my foot. So, there's a bit of a setback. I hope, however, to be back on my feet (to coin a phrase) and get the weight up there and hit that three-hundo.

19. Music sharing and piracy, what are your views on it? 
- Support the artists you love.

20. In a less than ideal situation you are forced to listen to only 3 albums for the rest of time. Which 3 albums do you chose?
- Nirvana - In Utero, Slipknot (self titled), Goldfrapp - Deer Stop

 I truly appreciate you taking time out to do this with me, to be honest you are the biggest name I have had the honor to interview so I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Any final words to all your fans?
-May your lives be extraordinary.


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