OTEP Singer: 'It's Easy For Us To Forget How Lucky We Are To Live In This Country'

Midwest Excess recently conducted an interview with OTEP frontwoman Otep Shamaya. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Midwest Excess: What is the current situation with the release of the new album?

Otep: Capitol and Virgin Records merged. Now we have to negotiate our contract under the new management. Everything that was new or not released was dropped. They gave us the option of what we wanted to do. Right now we might be better off to find a new home. .

Midwest Excess: You have long been known as being a political voice in metal? So you feel that the recent surge in political awareness is because of the current state of affairs or are people just jumping on the bandwagon?

Otep: I don't think there's a bandwagon to jump on. Our country's in trouble. Men and women are dying everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan for no reason. An artists job is to pose questions. The claim that if a Democrat gets elected President that there will definitely be another 9-11. What they don't realize is that we had a Republican President, Congress and Mayor of New York when the first one happened.

Midwest Excess: Being a strong-willed woman in metal for so long, how do you feel about the recent surge of female talent in the genre?

Otep: It's a breakdown of stereotypes. When I first started this band you rarely seen woman at shows. Now you're seeing women musicians. It always seems somewhat acceptable to be a female bass player. Now you see female guitarists, drummers and singers. I think it's fantastic to see these stereotypes falling. It's not a novelty anymore. These are talented people and they have something to say. There's still a long road to home but it's changing and it's better.

Midwest Excess: It's long been said that you have a lot of fans because of your live show. What do you hope fans will take away from this?

Otep: I hope they get the same sort of catharsis that we get. I hope that some sort of emotional, spiritual or cultural shift takes place. I hope their able to unzip themselves and burst into the beautiful butterflies they are. "Erotic politics" is what Jim Morrison called them. That's hopefully what people take away from our shows.

Midwest Excess: I noticed in your bio that all of the tracks on the new album are dedicated to different countries. Is there any one cause right now that kind of defines the message you want to distribute or get across?

Otep: I've always been a big children's advocate. It's always been the most important thing on my mind. Whether it be Darfur or children of violence. I hope people will wake up and realize how beautiful and unique it is to live in our country. We can be informed and involved and make something happen. It's easy for us to forget how lucky and beautiful we are to live in this country.

Read more at Midwest Excess.


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