While she was gearing up for the release of her fifth full-length effort Atavist, we were given the opportunity to speak with the Otep Shamaya regarding the release. During the interview, Otep discusses the inner workings of the aforementioned album and how she feels she has adapted to the many changes within the music industry.
[email protected]: You will be unleashing your fifth full-length effort, Atavist, in the coming week courtesy of Victory Records. What are your thoughts leading up to the release?
Otep Shamaya: My thoughts? "imminent, eminent, triumphant, volcanic, dystopia, myopia, triumph, delighted, ready"
[email protected]: Guide us through the writing process for the album.
Otep Shamaya: We begin at the border, just on the edge of the vast wilderness within my mind. As we enter the darkened brush, you will notice creatures moving in the shadows, haunting the peripherals. Above us, in the dense canopy, the sounds and shrills of harpies and unknown phantoms scurry through the tangled branches. Sand pits and land mines abound. Thick brambles tug at our soft flesh. To the east is a frozen mountain range as old as time itself, to the west are the ruins of an advanced civilization being devoured by the desert, to the north is an endless plain of polished hematite shrouded by an endless cover of thunderclouds. To the south is emptiness that is slowly being driven away by the words that I write.
[email protected]: Lyrically, how do you feel Atavist compares to anything in your discography?
Otep Shamaya: It compares perfectly. I wrote it.
[email protected]: Is there a central, underlying theme lyrically within Atavist? Ultimately, what are you trying to convey lyrically?
Otep Shamaya: Each song has its own message. From attacking the Vatican to cowardly bullies to the demons that rage within me.
[email protected]: Guide us through the recording process for the album.
Otep Shamaya: You sit in a room, you take a deep breath, you focus your mind into a blast furnace....Unleash.
[email protected]: What is the significance of the album title?
Otep Shamaya: To remember what made you who are, keep the pieces that matter, burn the rest.
[email protected]: Tell us a bit about the album artwork.
Otep Shamaya: It is composed of many religions, symbolism, gods and myths from the ages amalgamated with aspects from all my previous albums.
[email protected]: A first taste of the album came in the form of first single “Fists Fall” in late March. How do you feel the song compares to the rest of the album?
Otep Shamaya: It's a vicious head on the spectacular hydra that is the Atavist album.
[email protected]: Tell us a little bit about the origins of “Fists Fall” and some of the deeper meanings behind the song.
Otep Shamaya: We've seen an uptake in coverage on bullying in this country and around the world and I felt it was important to write a song that inspires people to fight and to remind them that it doesn't matter if we win or lose the fight, all that matters is that we fight.
[email protected]: Atavist features a cover of The Doors’ “Not To Touch The Earth.” Why did you chose to cover the song for the release, and what does the song mean to you?
Otep Shamaya: The Doors were instrumental to my creative growth. "Not To Touch The Earth" is one of my favorite songs and the feral nature of the messages and spirit of Jim Morrison have always inspired and incited my own.
[email protected]: How do you feel you’ve grown as a lyricist since Otep’s inception?
Otep Shamaya: I feel that I've gotten better.
[email protected]: Obviously, being a musician for so many years, I’m sure you’ve seen the many ups and downs the industry has to offer. If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would you change and why?
Otep Shamaya: I would resurrect John Lennon.
[email protected]: Staying on the topic of the music industry, how do you feel the it’s changed since Otep’s inception?
Otep Shamaya: Pirating and lack of innovation have been cancers to the music industry.
[email protected]: Do you feel like you’ve successfully adapted to the changes through the years?
Otep Shamaya: I've stayed honest and authentic with the music and message, I haven't succumbed to the fads and fashion of a passing trend. I've also stayed in contact and communication with my fans and supporters which is an anchor in the changing storms within the music industry.
[email protected]: In regard to commercial success, all of your full-length releases have made their way onto the Billboard 200. With this prior success in the back of your mind, how much pressure is put upon you as an artist to essentially one up yourself time and time again?
Otep Shamaya: No. I just want to write the best album I can each and every time.
[email protected]:While record sales are important, how to you gauge the success of Otep?
Otep Shamaya: Did I give it everything I have? If so, then it is a success.
[email protected]: What are you touring plans for this Summer?
Otep Shamaya: Touring is being set up now.
[email protected] from the initial release of the new album and touring the comes along with it, what can we expect from you the remainder of 2011?
Otep Shamaya: Preparing for 2012.
[email protected]: Ultimately, what do you want people to take away from listening to Atavist, or anything from Otep for that matter?
Otep Shamaya: I want them to listen and at the end of the album realize they've been holding their breath most of the time. I want them to exhale and say, "Wow."
[email protected]: That’s all the questions I have, do you have anything to add?
Otep Shamaya: Thank you.
Atavist hits shelves on April 26th courtesy of Victory Records. The release can be purchased online here.