Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Otep Shamaya Shares Her Artistic Vision

Artistic expression comes in many forms. Some channel their inner message and express it on a canvas with paint, while others may choose to put pen to paper. Otep Shamaya is an artist that assaults all of the senses when she expresses herself. Her latest creation is Otep’s thought provoking release Atavist. I had the privilege of catching up with Otep as she prepared for the release of her latest masterpiece.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: There seems to have been a really good buzz generating about your new CD before its release. It’s been on many “Most Anticipated CDs of 2011” lists. How does that make you feel when you see and hear that?

Otep: It makes me feel very proud. I have had this record inside of me for over a year and couldn’t wait to let it out. We worked on it for a little over two and a half months and now it’s time to see if the people believe like I do.

Did you approach making this album any differently than in the past?

Well, I didn’t have a band for this one. I also worked with some very talented song writers. It’s very exciting for me to be able to write songs that I have always wanted to write. “Drunk (On the Blood of Saints)” has such a powerful groove to it. There is a special musical feel that you just can’t teach when it come to writing music. It was so awesome to work with Tony Campos from Static X. He is a very technical guitar player.

The first video from the CD is for the song “Fists Fall”. How much involvement did you have with it?

The concept of the video was my idea. I worked with Robby Starbuck and he did a great job of bringing my vision to life. It is a song about bullying, but it’s also about fighting for what you believe in. I asked myself who I would like to fight and I also ask the listener. It really doesn’t matter, just as long as you do fight for what is important.

You cover “Not to Touch the Earth” by the Doors. I can see a lot of similarities between yourself and Jim Morrison. How did this cover come about?

I have always been a big fan of Jim and of the Doors. They are one of the most innovative bands of all time. I was asked to record a cover for this album and this song really spoke to me. I wanted it to be as sterile as possible and still be very exciting to the overall album.

Your first album was recorded in 2002. How do you think you have grown since that debut?

Creatively, in the past, I didn’t know much about the industry or about creating records. I was at the mercy of my inner emotions, but I wanted to master them. Over time, I think I have achieved that. I feel that I am closer to those emotions, but the malices are still there. I do feel that I am a stronger writer and performer. We all have to evolve in order to survive.

You are such a creative person that I wanted to pose to you this rather different type of question. If I was deaf and you were given a blank canvas to illustrate your sound to me, how would you create that image?

It would be similar to a Jackson Pollock painting. I would take the canvass and put it over a large speaker. I would press play and start dropping paint on it as the music played. I would do this and let it paint itself.

Are you anxious to get back out on the road?

I love performing for my fans. Everything is being organized right now. The suits and agents are lining everything up. We are looking at the end of May or early June to hit the road. I appreciate all the support from the fans and can’t wait to see them.

Since this went to press, tour plans have been announced with Otep headlining with support from Sister Sin, Destrophy, Blackguard and One-Eyed Doll. This is a show not to be missed!

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