Kobra and the Lotus are currently bringing their unique brand of heavy metal to the UK after having done a pretty extensive run across the rest of Europe and Russia. Prior to their performance at Manchester’s Rebellion, I caught up with drummer Marcus and bassist Brad to discuss the tour so far, the latest release Prevail I and the situation that surrounded some of their gear becoming damaged…
Marcus: We started on the 1st of November and you can say that this is the start of our second leg. We did three shows in Finland with The Haunted, then we did Russia with Kamelot, then we did Italy, Switzerland and now we’re here to start the UK.
Brad: And the Netherlands. Don’t forget that.
ML: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
Sounds like you’ve been very busy then!
BK: Yeah, well you need to make it worthwhile when you’re a Canadian band!
ML: Got to pay for the plane tickets!
BK: I’d say that we’ve been getting the best reaction from the crowds ever. I’ve been in the band since 2014 and I can’t remember a better response from the UK crowds. The first two have been great and hopefully [knocks on wood table] I haven’t jinxed it for the rest of the shows!
A few days ago, I noticed that one of the members of the band posted about the gear being damaged. Is it better now or did you have to source other things?
ML: We’ve been getting some many questions about that! Everything’s fine you know. The drums are fine. I got new heads and a new snare and everything’s fine.
BK: I think the thing is that in the heat of the moment and the lack of respect from the company that was storing it caused some of the members to get more fired up than necessary and they took to social media. The outpour from people who wanted to help was incredible. But I mean, three hours after, the drums were fine. They were sitting in water that was about an inch thick with bird shit all over the cases, we thought the stuff would not be good.
Our pimp of tour manager, ‘King’ Georg, who went to get the gear found our merch in back alley in a cardboard box that had been rained on and had gone moldy. He also found a box of electronics that had rusted so it wasn’t exactly stored very well. We were really luck in that the drums were in very high-quality cases and if they were in anything less then they would be scrap wood. Rightfully so we were angry, but the drums are fine.
ML: The thing with being on tour is that a lot of things aggravate you and you get stressed a lot and it can just take one thing for you to explode. So unfortunately, that happened but the outpouring of support was overwhelming. But we were fine and we got it sorted. Our tour manager, Georg, is arguably our saving grace on this tour. I can say nothing bad about that guy and in fact, the drums have never sounded better. He’s German and he swears by German engineering and he ensured that we got a Ludwig snare. It sounds awesome.
BK: I haven’t caught his wrath yet because I play an Engl rig and he looked at it and went “Ah, good. German.” If I was playing something else, he would have shit all over it! He runs a pretty tight ship and doesn’t really tolerate any goofing around. When that situation happened, he was on it immediately.
Earlier this year you released the first part of Prevail I. What made you decide to release them individually instead of together as a double album?
BK: We released the first part in May this year and we were initially going to be releasing it as one album. At the time we were going to do it as one whole album but it was going to be 20 songs in total..
ML: Throwing 20 songs at people all at once and saying “Process all that!”
BK: Yeah, that was our initial thoughts. But after speaking to our producer and the label we decided that we would release it in two parts.
ML: That was one of the first things I did in the band. I was hired in January 2016 and then flew out to Denmark with Brad and then recorded all the tracks in two months. We only had two takes to do them but I think it made me a better musician because of it. I hope never to do it again though!
BK: Yeah, that was a pretty intense period. We did learn a lot though and I’ll now have been on over half of the band’s releases!
ML: That means I’ll be on 50%! Gruesome twosome taking over!
Do you have any input into the music?
ML: Not at all! [Laughs] Being serious, I’m a drummer and not a lot of tracks are created from the drums first. I do get a bit of say in how to play the parts but not on the actual song structure.
BK: We have people in the band who have that writer magic and they have this understanding that I’ll never have on composition. He gets more freedom than me as I just get handed the roots and told to make something with it. When it comes to the big picture, that’s primarily Kobra and Jasio.
ML: I think there’s two kinds of musicians out there. There’s the studio musicians and the live musicians. I’m definitely not the former as I just love playing live. I’m more of an entertainer than a musician.
BK: I think one of the most enjoyable things about tour is the people you meet and the places you go to. Some of the people we’ve met are absolutely nutty, man.
What would you say are your top three albums for this year?
ML: That’s a hard question as I don’t really listen to music. When you play music for a living you don’t really want to listen to music. So I can tell you what three podcasts I’m listening to!
BK: Talking of podcasts, I do one called the “Sons of Thunder” which has had people like Becky Baldwin on it and a host of other people. Although in terms of music, the new Epica album has been really good actually. We’ve also been listening to a lot of White Zombie recently as well.
ML: We also did those shows with Kamelot and Brad had never listened to them before.
BK: I’d never really listened to them as I though they were a kind of romance based symphonic band.
ML: You prefer your music without romance.
Bk: Yeah, but after having played with them I realized that they’ve got some really good stuff.
ML: One band that I’ve really enjoyed recently is Ghost. I sadly missed them when flying out of Chicago last time they were there.
BK: British Lion as well are really good. I mean, everyone’s heard of Steve Harris and the rest of his band are awesome.
ML: They’re really awesome.
BK: Brutai as well. Their bass player has an amazing style.
ML: Keyboard player is really good and is a singer songwriter. Really awesome band.
What’s one ambition that you guys have yet to achieve?
ML: I can’t speak for the band as a whole but I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to when I was younger. I’d say that my next goal as a musician is to go to Japan on tour and play there. Not go there as a tourist, go there to work and play music.
BK: I’d say that mine is to become a full time musician and not have to worry about finances. For the band as a whole, we want to head to Japan and South America. We also want to play to bands with crowds of a similar mindset to us. And then beyond that, world domination. We just want to own the Risk board.