Tonight as we sit in the green room at The Oriental Theatre in Denver, I try to calm my nerves before the interview begins. I have always loved Otep for her outspoken nature but have noticed that there are many out there that do not share that same love. I feel those judging and making comments, never took the time to listen long enough to understand more than the surface words. I wanted to make this my mission tonight, to bring that voice to a new light.
From the moment that she entered the room, I was floored by her prowess. Not only does she exude confidence, but her intelligence is the most impressive by far. I was quite excited to have this opportunity to interview one of the most controversial artists in the industry today. A liberal who speaks her mind on stage by way of music to reach the masses. Utilizing her reach to get her messages across, OTEP commands people to open their eyes and see the world for what it is. To rise above and make that change that needs to be made. To begin making decisions fully understanding how it can directly impact our future. To no longer, see each other as anything more than just human, not race, creed, gender or sexuality.
Being catapulted into fame, Otep has remained humble throughout her journey into megawatt success. Growing up in adversity, she was raised by a single mother and although had no musical upbringing, she found the world of spoken word poetry. “Music really came into my life much later, I was a reader, an illustrator but one day I did a spoken word poetry performance and I quickly found that I craved more electricity, something I could feel as well on stage, just not me but the audience, someone else sharing the passion I have for what I’m saying or why I’m doing it.”
From performing only four shows to being direct support for Mudvayne on tour with Ozzfest, One could say OTEP’s journey has been surreal at very least. “I remember when I met Sharon Osbourne, she had come to a show at the Roxy, a club out in California, one night with her son Jack. Her son had actually been coming to our shows for a while now and so after this particular show someone comes down to the green room and says Sharon wants to speak to you and I am like I do not know a Sharon, and so they say, Sharon Osbourne…. It still is not registering whom they are talking about, I am tired and fatigued so then they say Ozzy Osbourne/Sharon Osbourne and give me this look. It finally clicks so I run out the door to meet her at which time she tells me how we were magnificent and that we would be on the Ozzfest tour that year, didn’t really ask, just said that we would make it happen” …. Therefore, it all began that way. Going from playing a crowd of 200 to a crowd of 200,000 and being the very first woman on Ozzfest.
“It’s fucked up, I’m different”, one of the opening lines to the song ‘Blood Pigs’, a song that always spoke to me on a personal level. One of Oteps favorite things as a musician is to connect with the crowd. Loving the smaller venues for this, she calls her connection with their energy “spiritual intercourse”, a way of connecting like no other. “To feel the energy from them as they recieve it from you, when they send it right back; it’s a feeling like nothing else in this world.”
It’s no secret Otep Shamaya has a passionate hatred for Donald Trump, proudly displaying stickers of ‘Impeach Trump’ and referring to him as a human colostomy bag or ‘President Chump’, but has anyone actually taken the time to listen to why? KULT 45 is one of OTEP’s most important albums she has ever written, because of the message behind it. She is hoping for a change, for the resistance to grow stronger and to make our voices heard. Our country is currently in a state of distress. We are the weakest we have been in many years and no signs of growing any stronger. Our current leader is making every effort he can to divide us all while escaping his own persecution for crimes no other American leader could have gotten away with. Yet somehow, he remains in office. “We now have people, women in fact who voted for Trump; now regretting their decision”. “Trump’s father was an immigrant; he’s had three wives with two of those being immigrants and five children between those three wives. What would people have said if Barack Obama had five children and three wives? What if the same for Hillary Clinton?” May I ask you where the justice in this is? The chance to know and the ability to say what is on your mind, to be the voice for the masses…. This is where the resistance begins. Within you and me, the ability to be heard and to cast our vote for what is right in this world. The less of us that vote means the more that get through that could have been stopped. Don’t feel as though your voice doesn’t matter because when we all rise to speak, we will be heard!
Tonight, local band The Blackouts and One Day Waiting open the show with Napalm label mates Dropout Kings filling in as direct support to the sold out crowd. This being a first tour for the Dropout Kings who are just tickled pink to have the chance to be here. They spend most of their days on the road playing Pokemon and Dragonball Z before jumping on stage to crush it, getting the crowd pumped for the headlining crew. Tonight’s show was intense from beginning to end. I managed to have the balcony all to myself for the show, well along with my photographer of course with special thanks to the owner of the venue. Another fun fact of the evening, this particular venue was sought out for the tour due to it being one of the only bigger venues still privately owned! Support local over corporate when you can!
I hope that you are able to make it out to see this tour when it makes its way to a city near you. I feel beyond honored to have had the opportunity to speak with Otep and to be able to convey her words in a way no one has done before. What an amazing show and holy smokes what an amazing person. Thanks again to all those who helped make this what it was for me today and I hope you were able to gain something valuable from this article. “Let us all stand together as one, united, in love not in hate.” Let us be the difference…. The resistance.
Thanks for the read! Click here to find out what city the Fire and Fury tour will be hitting next so you do not miss any of this high-energy fun!
Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography