Hard-hitting band to visit Denver Saturday
Boulder just isn’t much of a metal town. If anyone’s got long hair, it isn’t for headbanging – it’s probably dreadlocked, prepared to nod up and down at a Phish concert.
It seems, then, that Otep’s hard-hitting and percussive sound wouldn’t go over well in Boulder. But then again, Otep isn’t merely a hard-hitting, extreme band.
“I suppose I’d say we’re not a metal band,” said frontwoman and band namesake Otep Shamaya. “We’re a fusion of many styles of music.”
Otep hits the Marquis Theater in Denver, 2009 Larimer St., on Dec. 16 to promote its new album due out in 2007. Shamaya, who simply goes by her ancient-Egyptian moniker Otep, is joined by bassist eVIL J, guitarist Karma Cheema and percussionist Brian Wolff to create what can only be called an artistic experience – what she calls a fusion of ideas from bands ranging from Slipknot to Radiohead to Nirvana.
“Before I started the band, I always wanted to live my life as an artist,” Otep said. With poetry interludes prefacing songs live and on disc, it’s apparent that music is more than just notes on paper for Otep and company.
Otep’s lyrics draw on her own personal experiences, drawing from her happiest moments to her darkest and most depraved.
“I prefer art that celebrates the human condition,” Otep said. “I think that’s what our music does. It touches on all facets of existence, from the very low to the very high.”
Each show isn’t an attempt to merely replicate the band’s sound in the studio. Instead, Otep tries to create an invigorating experience that bombards each of the five senses.
“It’s a different experience. I’m not sure if it’s a more meaningful experience, but it’s a different experience,” Otep said.
“You see the emotion of the songs, you see the passion. You get to build these visions in your mind while listening to the show.”
Otep remains one of the few female vocalists in the extreme music scene, joined by only a few female growlers such as Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow. Crunchy riffs and aggressive percussion tend to be associated with masculinity – making Otep’s rise a challenging one in the music world.
“There is a certain paradigm, a certain role model that has been placed on women. It’s been tough,” Otep said. “It’s important to demand equality when what I do has nothing to do with biology. We’re giving people a new paradigm to expect and embrace.”
But now, Otep is seeing more female-fronted bands, and more women unafraid to pick up an instrument. And more women aren’t afraid to rough up their male counterparts, either.
“But I’m also starting to see more women at our shows, more girls in the pit,” Otep said.
As far as the music goes, the band never sets goals or paradigms for its music. There is never a conscious effort to change; rather, there is merely an ever-present consciousness of the importance of change.
“It is important for me to celebrate uniqueness in everything,” Otep said. “It is definitely a concscious effort for us to avoid the trappings of the fad of the day.”