Since 2005, Cobra Starship have been giving us a mix of pop/punk with some dance and electronica thrown into the mix, before it became really popular and everyone decided to add a little synth into their sound. With their catchy tunes and a sound that can go with basically any genre, they’ve figured out how to be a good versatile band. I mean, not many people can say they’ve toured with Justin Bieber and 3OH!3 to then open for T-Pain – and make it work!
The band started 7 years ago as frontman Gabe Saporta’s solo project. After recruiting Ryland Blackinton, Alex Suarez, Victoria Asher and Nate Novarro, the band’s lineup was finally complete and stable by 2006 for the release of their debut “While The City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets”. Their latest record, “Night Shades” came out late last summer through Fueled By Ramen and Decaydance Records, the labels that have been behind them all these years.
When the band was in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu to open for B.O.B. and T-Pain at the balloons festival, I had the chance to chat with Gabe (who had to leave mid-interview) and Alex about touring, where their sound is headed and I also got to ask them a few fan questions I had randomly chosen online on Twitter and Tumblr!
CONFRONT: Last time you were in Montreal was a while ago, what took you so long?
GABE: No one invited us! It’s really important to be invited to things. When I was younger, I used to like to crash things all the time and it was fun but you get to a certain age and you’re just too old to be crashing anything. You want to be invited. Now, I really have a lot of gratitude when I’m invited to things.
CONFRONT: But when you guys plan out your tours and everything, you can always add a date here!
ALEX: We haven’t really been on a proper tour in a long time though.
GABE: We were in talks to do a couple of tours but with this record, we were just so busy. We had a lot of requests to do a lot of stuff like this; festival where we fly out and come back. To be honest, touring just really took a lot out of us and this has really given us a different opportunity. We’re really lucky to be able to do a lot of shows like this and visit a lot of cities but not all in a row. When you’re just on the road for 6 months straight, you kind of lose your whole life. So I think we’re trying to find the balance for that. We’re experimenting now; we’re not sure if we have the formula to figure it out but we all feel much happier, which is good.
CONFRONT: And what’s cool about festivals is that they have something special most of the time. Like this time, it’s the hot-air balloons!
ALEX: Exactly! I never thought I’d get to see this in real life!
CONFRONT: Would you guys have gone up in one of these if you had the chance?
GABE: I bungee-jumped at one of these festivals recently. It was my first time doing anything like that and it was crazy!
CONFRONT: Wow! It must’ve been! Now, let’s talk about what you guys have been up to since the release of your latest album last summer.
GABE: It’s been kind of a crazy year, like I said. We’ve been doing a lot of crazy shows.
ALEX: We got to tour with Justin Bieber!
GABE: Yeah and we opened for Jennifer Lopez. A lot of stuff that is really big and that we never thought we would do when we started the band. It’s great! For me, the point of doing all this stuff is to grow and learn, have experiences and we’ve really had a lot of great experiences, luckily.
CONFRONT: What’s cool is with your music, you can fit into so many different lineups. I mean, you’ve toured with all the Fueled By Ramen bands who are more pop and rock and tonight, you’re opening for B.O.B. and T-Pain.
ALEX: Yeah, pretty crazy right?
GABE: It’s a blessing! I think there’s not a lot of bands that can play with so many different styles of music and for us, it’s always been a goal of our band. We wanted to not be pigeon-holed into anyone’s style to be able to play any kind of music and to explore our different artistic musical styles. It’s really important for us. So it’s just a testament to that.
CONFRONT: And are you guys currently working on new material now?
ALEX: Just getting started, yeah. Very early stages.
CONFRONT: Do you have any idea about where your sound is headed?
ALEX: We’re still kind of just experimenting with new ideas. It can go in any direction.
GABE: For me, I really want to have music that is inspiring, uplifting and have this melancholic triumphic thing but still be something that unites people and brings people together. Obviously our music gets played in clubs and that’s a big thing. That’s one of the things that we started with; we wanted to have music that can get played in clubs. But I also wanted to have some substance. And that’s really a fine line to walk because you don’t want it to be all just about popping bottles at the club. You want it to be inspiring. It’s like a contradiction in some way because you’re talking about being inspiring and then you’re talking about being in a club. So in some ways, it’s a contradiction but in some ways, it’s like a beautiful union of two different sides. People have different sides; part of them want to be touched and inspired but another part just wants to forget and have a good time. And I just want to have both happen at the same time. It’s a very fine line to balance but I think we’re trying to achieve that. We don’t want music that’s going to bring people down by touching them but we want to touch them and uplift them. Something that I’m looking forward to is…I want the music that we grew up on like rock with really great guitar riffs, I want to look at a way to interpret that electronically. So that’s what I’m thinking about. If you listen to an early U2 record and you think about covering the song but only using electronics, what would that sound like? That’s what I want to experiment with.
CONFRONT: That’s really interesting though! And you guys have collaborated with a lot of people throughout the years, who are you thinking of working with in the future?
GABE: I’ve always wanted to work with Ferrell. Some of the stuff he’s produced for Justin Timberlake, some of the stuff he’s done for Snoop Dog, they’re some of my favorite production stuff. I would love to have the chance to work with him.
ALEX: Yeah he’s awesome. But I haven’t thought about who to collaborate with. It could be a bunch of people.
CONFRONT: I guess it will just come along as you start working on it more right?
CONFRONT: And nowadays, the internet plays such a big part in the industry. Your band started getting recognition through MySpace at the beginning so how do you think the internet has affected how you have to work in the industry now?
ALEX: I don’t know. Not much has changed. We write music, we record music and then we tour. The internet is a different outlet for us to reach out to our fans and stuff. I think the main difference between bands that existed before the internet is it was a whole different experience when it comes to communicating and getting responses between musicians and fans. Now, it’s like “hey, this is what I’m doing right now and this is what I’ll be doing in 5 minutes!”
CONFRONT: Do you think there’s still a line between the fans and the musicians now because of that?
ALEX: Yes and no. it all depends on the person I guess.
CONFRONT: Yeah it’s up to you to put your own limit.
CONFRONT: And what has been your favorite moment of being in the band so far?
ALEX: There was one night in Paris, we got to meet Paul McCartney at a party, which is awesome! We talked to him for a minute and that was a really great night.
CONFRONT: Wow that is something!
ALEX: Yeah it was a special moment and we wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for the band.
CONFRONT: I’m going to ask a few fan questions now. Shanon from Scotland wanted to ask if you were in jail, who would most likely be in there with you?
ALEX: It would probably be Gabe because he would probably be the reason why I’m in jail.
CONFRONT: So it wouldn’t be your fault, it would only be because you were there at the wrong moment?
CONFRONT: Shauna from the UK wants to know if you were planning on releasing Cobra Cam season 3.
ALEX: We haven’t planned to do it but we haven’t planned not to do it. We do that when we tour and we haven’t really been on a real tour in a long time so who knows? It actually takes a lot of work and a lot of time to do that. And we have to bring our friend Jack so a lot of things have to line up to make that a reality.
CONFRONT: Well you guys can always film a bit here and there right?
ALEX: Yeah but it would still take forever to put together. Plus Jack has a different life now, he doesn’t tour anymore.
CONFRONT: Right so it’s a little harder. Now, Amira from Singapore and Valeria from Chile want to know if you guys were planning to tour in Southeast Asia or South America anytime soon.
ALEX: We just did a couple of shows in Brasil and we went to Central America in Guatemala. We were in South America last October.
CONFRONT: I guess fans are demanding!
ALEX: I know, I know!
CONFRONT: But that just proves how much they love you guys!
ALEX: Yeah so I don’t think we’re going to get to go back that soon but maybe. I mean, we had such a great response down there that I think we’ll get welcomed back right away.
CONFRONT: I always hear crazy things about how enthusiastic South American fans are.
ALEX: Yeah it’s pretty crazy down there, it’s a lot of fun! But it’s crazy in Southeast Asia also. We got to go to Jakarta one time and that was really nuts!
CONFRONT: Awesome! Now, could you please explain your drawing to me?
GABE: It’s a big elephant! And I’m G.A.B.E., giant abnormal baby elephant. It’s the only thing I know how to draw. That’s what you get.
ALEX: This is all I’ve got.
CONFRONT: You like The Simpsons?
ALEX: Yeah I grew up watching The Simpsons!
CONFRONT: Cool! And is there anything you’d like to tell your fans from around here?
ALEX: We’re excited to come back because we love it here. Hopefully, people are going to stay tuned and wait for the new tunes that are coming out soon!
CONFRONT: Awesome! Well, thank you! Enjoy the festival and looking at the balloons!
ALEX: Will do!
To check out more about Cobra Starship, here are a few links:
Official Site: http://www.cobrastarship.com/