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A Dirty Dozen with OTEP – September 2023

| 14 September 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur @toddstarphoto

According to a recent press release: “OTEP unleashes her acerbic arsenal with her latest sonic attack, “The Way I Am,” following closely behind the fury-filled shrapnel of her previous single, “Ostracized,” from upcoming album The God Slayer, available worldwide September 15th. OTEP’s unapologetic, nu-metal reimagination of Eminem’s “The Way I Am” amplifies the Rap God’s unadulterated anger with a new vitriol all her own. OTEP’s wrath-filled rendition of this rap classic takes a sledgehammer to the Pollyanna image of the perfect celebrity, shattering the listener’s rose-tinted glasses with a power-packed, bass-heavy beat, blistering bars, and driving rhythm, complete with high octane screams and a bludgeoning breakdown. OTEP’s silver tongue shines with her transformative take on this hip hop hit, as she spits rhymes, seamlessly keeping in time, all the while ripping the words from the page to rearrange into something truly one of a kind.” We get OTEP to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

There are many throughout the album The God Slayer but probably the most obvious for my REAL ONES would be in the cover of “THE WAY I AM.” In the early stages of creating the song, I worked with the Greg Wells, the same producer I worked with on my second album HOUSE OF SECRETS, and for those who know that album, they will very easily recognize the throwbacks and homages to that album.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I started drawing before I could speak so my family, I think, always assumed I’d go into advertising or something corporate but I was looking for something else because as I learned to write I found the same satisfaction in creative writing that I did in illustrations which led me to poetry which led me to songwriting. I started doing spoken word and hip hop cyphers and then I heard RATM and SLIPKNOT and felt a powerful inspiration that I wanted to try that. But I was conflicted in those early days. As a wee lass, I always excelled in sports so I started training to be a boxer. I was still writing songs and doing cyphers and spokenword while training and sparring (mostly with men) and really had no idea where my life was going. That year a friend and I snuck into a festival and I watched a band playing very poorly, they were drunk, insulting the crowd, insulting women, and something just hit me, “I can do this” and I told my friend “I’ll be here next year, on that stage” and he laughed and said, “Tep, you don’t even have a band” but by the next summer, I had a band, we had 5 songs, and I was on that stage performing at OzzFest.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

In no particular order, Jim Morrison, his fearlessness, his intelligence, the way he infused songs with poetry and did spokenword pieces on albums and live performances, Rage Against The Machine for all that they do by bringing awareness to social and political issues in blistering rhymes and screams on a musical palette of rock and funk and punk, Nirvana for everything they contributed from saying fuck oppression to owning pain and sadness with a fury and passion I’d never seen outside myself before, Corey Taylor and Slipknot for using all their influences and making legendary powerful music that reached beyond the genre to the vulnerable, to the isolated, to the angry to the melancholy and made them feel like they were not alone, and many underground Hip Hop Emcees who spoke about rising up from violence and poverty and finding dignity and pride in the community and perseverance to overcome generational trauma and whatever obstacle was set in their path.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Corey Taylor. Because he’s the GOAT.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Read, write, spend quality time with my dog, powerlifting, hiking, coitus.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d describe my music as a fusion of poetry, punk, metal, hip hop lathered in the ethereal voices of the ancient bards. And I’ve always disagreed when people make gender comparisons to what I do, for example “You scream pretty good for a girl” and I take issue with that because my ability to scream or anyone’s ability to “scream” has nothing to do with gender. I can because I am.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We don’t have that dynamic. We cook on stage, our singalongs happen on stage. For me, the only reason to be in a band besides creating music is to perform that music and that’s what we love to do. We only really hang out on the road and we play so much that when we get the rare off-day, everyone kinda does their own thing or splits off in cliques. I like my solitude and the gym and preparing for the next show so my voice is ready.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Hard to determine the last but the first time I was star-struck was meeting Tom Yorke of Radiohead. We were both on Capitol Records at the time and I just shook his hand while he spoke to me but my head was spinning and I don’t remember what he said. The next time was Dave Grohl, my bus driver was a friend of his, and Dave said, “oh you’re the girl that goes grrr” and I rubbed his goatee and said “You’re Dave Grohl, amazing” and walked away. Both of these instances were early on in my career. Before Covid, I was invited to several dinners and events with writer Harlan Ellison, actors Nichelle Nichols, Danny McBride, Bill Paxton, James Caan, Warren Beatty, Woody Harrelson, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, director Kathryn Bigelow, and other incredible creatives like Mick Jagger, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stan Latham, DMC, Paul McCartney, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Snoop Dog, Fredro from Onyx, Tom Morello, Jack Black, Keanu Reeves, Patton Oswalt, Walton Goggins and Charlize Theron.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is to create and live ART. If I could no longer be a creative, I’d probably teach or coach or start a religion.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I get asked so many questions that I can’t think of one I wish they’d ask but the question I have answered for at least a decade now is “what’s it like to be a woman in metal” and I no longer answer that one. Ask any woman what it’s like to be a mostly male industry. There’s the answer.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There are many regrets and misunderstandings but such is life.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The Doors (LA WOMAN), Slipknot (first album), Nirvana (Nevermind), RATM (first album), and though it never happened, before his passing Jimi Hendrix wanted to form a supergroup with Miles Davis and Paul McCartney, what an incredible experience that would’ve been.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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