Otep

GA Voice - - Out­spo­ken -

No­body has ever asked me that! If I want it to be ro­man­tic, Gold­frapp’s record “Felt Moun­tain” is nice. And also “The End” by The Doors. It’s a spir­i­tual song. If it’s go­ing to be an ag­gres­sive night, I like a lit­tle Nine Inch Nails in there.

The way that I write my mu­sic comes from the part of my brain that is dom­i­nated by sex. The fore­play, the cat­a­lyst to con­clu­sions, the erup­tions ... and, since I’m a les­bian, once isn’t enough so I keep go­ing. I write mu­sic from that sex­ual per­spec­tive. This in­ter­view is the first time I’ve ever re­al­ized that my songs match up with my feral sex style. When I have sex, I want to be present and mind­ful of my part­ner. And when I’m on stage, I call it “spir­i­tual in­ter­course” be­cause I want to feel in­fi­nite pas­sion with my au­di­ence.

The way you marry your mu­sic to your art is so beau­ti­ful and rich with sym­bol­ism. I was look­ing at a re­cent pub­lic­ity photo and no­ticed the flecks of light, those sub­tle tri­an­gles buried in the im­age and the re­flec­tion in the mace you’re hold­ing is the face of a wolf.

Very good! You’re the only one who has ever picked that up – that’s amaz­ing! Put this in the ar­ti­cle be­cause I want you to get credit for it. That pic has been out for a year and no­body has no­ticed those sym­bols that we worked re­ally hard to get in there.

To say you’re an ac­tivist is an un­der­state­ment. It seems like ac­tivism de­fines you as

Otep, led by singer Otep Shamaya, plays The Mas­quer­ade on June 7. (Cour­tesy photo)

much as be­ing an artist or a mu­si­cian.

I speak out for the com­mu­ni­ties that I care about. I came from the work­ing class so I care about them. I care about all women. Even though I am a les­bian and don’t plan to have chil­dren, I care about women’s re­pro­duc­tive rights. I fight ve­he­mently for the rights of the LGBT com­mu­nity.

We are marginal­ized. We have to fight for any­thing we get. Straight peo­ple don’t know what it’s like to walk out of the house hold­ing their loved one’s hand and im­me­di­ately be judged or the tar­get of ridicule.

I was in Hawaii cel­e­brat­ing an an­niver­sary with an ex a few years back. We were tak­ing cou­ples surf­ing lessons. This old leath­ery man who looked like he worked out with 15-pound bi­cep curls for 20 years but for­got leg day for 25 years came up to us. He had a big bouf­fant hairdo and man­tit­ties. He walked up to me and slapped me hard on the shoul­der and said, “Happy Fa­ther’s Day!” It was Fa­ther’s Day so it con­fused me but I said, “Thank you.”

Then, he sar­cas­ti­cally said, “Oh, I thought you were a man.” I just looked at him and said, “No wor­ries! I saw your breasts, thought you were a woman and was about to tell you that this wasn’t a top­less beach.” Of all the cou­ples of all ages and na­tion­al­i­ties there to take lessons, he chose the one les­bian cou­ple on the beach to tar­get.

What are you lis­ten­ing to on your playlist right now?

Ken­drick La­mar’s “Damn.”

That’s not what I was ex­pect­ing.

My tastes range from Nir­vana to Ra­dio­head to Bil­lie Hol­i­day. For me, mu­sic is art. As much as Pi­casso’s art is art, a song is that same amount of art. I’m an art lover. But if my heart gets bro­ken, I don’t pull out Pi­casso to make me feel bet­ter. I lis­ten to mu­sic to take me where I want to go. Plus, art is ex­pen­sive and most songs are only $1.29. [laughs]

What do you want to say to the LGBTQ com­mu­nity in At­lanta?

The tour is called “The Re­sis­tance Tour” to unite peo­ple who are part of the re­sis­tance who want to come and lis­ten to some good mu­sic to­gether. To the LGBTQ com­mu­nity that may have never heard of me be­cause I’m not on your dance mix, I say that be­yond the ca­coph­ony of our mu­sic and ex­otic sounds, we bring a mes­sage that we have not yet be­gun to fight. I in­vite you to come down and be a part of this be­cause we are ex­clu­sively in­clu­sive.

To the young peo­ple, I want them to know that adults are do­ing bat­tle for them. They are loved and I don’t want them to go any­where. Some kids mes­sage me about be­ing bul­lied and want to kill them­selves. Don’t leave us in a mono­chrome world – keep your hue in this world. You all are just begin­ning to blos­som, my loves!

What’s your fa­vorite song to fuck to?

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