Welcome Back: An Interview with OTEP

Many music fans out there are under the impression that metal bands are solely hardcore and hail from the depths of Hell—of course, if you listen to certain songs from the genre, it can be understood as to why some would make that assumption. However, there’s more than what meets the eye—or ear, in this case. Much like a good piece of fiction, we’re all three-dimensional; we aren’t simply flat with predictable personalities.

So, the same can be said about singer/songwriter, OTEP. There are certain characteristics that she uses to maintain a more hardcore reputation, but she does have a soft side—especially when it comes to dogs. Yup. This successful songstress has a special spot in her heart for puppies! And, of course, music. I was lucky to have a chance to talk to her about the tour and road life just as this round kicked off.

            Three days into the tour, OTEP was in good spirits. When asked about the progress of the tour, she took no time to think. “It’s been marvelous,” she began in her low, resonant voice. “We’ve been playing five new songs from the new album and the fans have been excited to hear those.” In fact, OTEP admitted that the fans seem to be more excited to hear the brand new material than the classics—or “standards.”

However, perhaps fans are a little more excited to see the hardcore group live. OTEP said, “We haven’t been on a full tour in a while because I took a break from it for a little bit. But it’s been great.” The band had announced that their 2013 album, Hydra, would be their last. Now, three years later, they’re back on the road to promote their latest record, Generation Doom.

During my conversation with OTEP, she mentioned that during her break from the music industry, she’d written a book—a collection of three short stories. But when asked why she’d chosen to dabble in that field, she pounced, jumping into a passionate discussion about the corruption that takes place in the higher branches of the music industry. Where she wanted to control her own art, certain members on the business end wanted to take hold of the reins.

She said, “They’re not on tour, they don’t see what the audiences want.” She continued to explain that the band couldn’t be grouped into a single genre, which is apparently a big “no-no” in the industry. “People who like only heavy metal probably wouldn’t be a huge fan of us,” she continued, giving examples as to why grouping them into one area in music wouldn’t work. Due to their eclectic sound, OTEP can never be tied down—and that’s just how they want it to be.

After listening to the singer’s passionate rant about the corrupt branches of the industry, we talked about tour life. At one point, when asked what she absolutely needs on tour, she openly said, “My dogs.” She laughed and mentioned that some may be surprised that someone like herself would give that answer. She continued to explain how much they mean to her and the joy she feels when she walks back into the tour bus after a long night on stage. “They’re always there for you,” she said. She mentioned that that’s a dog’s purgative: to give kisses and love—no matter who you are.

Sure, musicians who lean toward the metal genre portray themselves as tough rock ‘n’ rollers; but they’re people, too. We glorify and—sometimes—fear them because of their talent and theatrics on and off stage. But isn’t that what makes good music and bands so appealing? While the music is composed of raw emotions and ideas, the theatrics performed on stage allow fans to float away from reality for a little while. And if the connection is strong enough, they can relate to the musicians as well, which is what makes OTEP so appealing.


Catch OTEP as they pull into Upstate Concert Hall on May 5, Reverb on May 7, and Webster Hall on May 9. For more information on the singer and band, visit them at otepsaves.me.