Musicscan: First of all: does it frighten you somehow that so many people and musicians praise OTEP for being innovative, visionary, and “different”? How do you feel about what you are doing with the band?
Otep: It’s an honor that so many people believe in what I do and how I do it. But I’m just following my own artistic instincts and doing my best to lead by example and fight the good fight.
Musicscan: Personally I sometimes think that OTEP is about musical and spiritual education of listeners in some ways. What do you think about my impression?
Otep: I think you’re correct. I hope my music enlightens everyone who hears it.
Musicscan: What exactly does OTEP sound like from your point of view? Is it any kind of departure to what people might expect from you if you think of reviews and fan reaction. Do you feel “understood” to say so?
Otep: For the most part, yes, I think our true fans and supporters get the message and meaning behind the music.
Musicscan: In general: how do you feel about your place within the heavy scene at all as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the heavy heroes you grew up with did before OTEP were around? Times and sounds changed a lot since you once started, but you kept on playing your own sound…
Otep: I never wanted to fit in. I wanted to create my own space. I think we’ve done that. No one sounds like we do and I think that’s why we’ve lasted through all the fads and changes in the music scene.
Musicscan: Regarding the songwriting: do you still have to deal with limitations, or are you in a position to realize all the ideas you have? Has it been harder coming up with new material this time for Generation Doom? What did you guys do differently for the album that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing?
Otep: I’ve never had a hard time expressing myself and now that we have such a passionate fan base I’m able to say whatever I want in any way that I want.
Musicscan: It fairly could be said from my point of view that with Generation Doom you musically, vocally and lyrically created your most complete work and that you pushed your sound to the next level. Do YOU feel like having found a new identity with the new album? What were bands goals for Generation Doom, and were they reached, or perhaps altered along the way?
Otep: Thank you. I am so proud of this album. And yes, I feel the same way. It was a liberating experience to write this album with the approach of no limitations. To write songs that we felt passionate about. It’s one of my proudest achievements.
Musicscan: When it comes to cover songs, people love or hate it, there seems to be nothing in between. Is it somehow brave to take the cover of a famous pop song on the album? Why did you choose especially Royals? (btw: I pretty love your interpretation!)
Otep: The label wanted us to do a cover song but they wanted it to be an older song. I chose something contemporary because I thought no one does that anymore. I chose Lorde because I think she’s a genius lyricist and ROYALS is a fantastic song. I admire her a lot.
Musicscan: You surely remember when you wrote your first song for/with OTEP and what it felt like and know how it feels like now when you finish a song. How has your relationship to the music and your songs changed/develop over time? You have come a long way…
Otep: Well, we were signed after only 4 shows. No demo. Back then, I was just a kid who didn’t know very much about music. Now I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a writer and performer and I hope to keep on evolving.
Musicscan: I always had the feeling that your songs are open for interpretation. Again, there are so many surprises to find on your new albums. But: is this something you are heading for by choice or accident?
Otep: It’s definitely deliberate. I want the listener to apply the song to their own experiences so it makes the song more personal.
Musicscan: And regarding all the influences of OTEP: how difficult is it to choose between all of them, and are there any styles that you would never consider to include into your songs?
Otep: I am influenced by all kinds of music. And that’s the way it should be. We are artists. We should be open to be inspired by anything.
Musicscan: From what I understood there is an underlying theme to the album: how do you handle the songwriting process once such a “concept” is agreed? And how do you handle the question of the inherent quality of the album concept as a whole?
Otep: I am a reflection of my observations and life experiences. This album is about my personal life and the world we are living in.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on Generation Doom that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you you would like to share with us? What makes this release special to you?
Otep: It feels magical. It feels like my first album. There’s an energy to it, an intensity that hasn’t been felt by me in a long time. I was free to write whatever kind of song I was inspired to write. EQUAL RIGHTS EQUAL LEFTS is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.
Musicscan: Lastly: what do you want people to take away from Generation Doom?
Otep: We have a choice to stay silent and let the enemies of liberty destroy our individuality or we can stand and roar in a united voice that we will not take it anymore.