Four years after the resurrection of Dutch 80s hardrock/heavy metal band COBRA SPELL in 2019 we can finally welcome their long-awaited debut album “666” on December 1st. Signing a contract with major label Napalm Records was clearly the last push that founder Sonia Anubis needed to set things in motion. Most of you know Sonia from her former bands Burning Witches and Crypta, but all bets are now on COBRA SPELL and the debut album. We sent a couple of questions to the Dutch guitarist and her Spanish singer Kristina Vega.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
Welcome at Female Fronted Power, ladies. What were you doing just before you decided to answer these questions?
SONIA: Before this interview, I was making a TAB music sheet for our song “Satan Is A Woman“, I am transcribing all the bass lines of our album “666“!
I interviewed you before in 2021 when you were still in Crypta. Do you remember anything from that interview?
SONIA: It has been a while… I do not unfortunately.
Kristina, besides in COBRA SPELL, you are also part of the Spanish melodic progressive metal band BORN IN EXILE, who released their third album “Major Arcana” (review here) not so long ago. That’s a different genre than COBRA SPELL is moving in, but does it also require a different singing technique from you?
KRISTINA: I always say that singing progressive metal keeps me in shape for everything (my lessons, COBRA SPELL, collabs…). It’s a very challenging and virtuoso style, so to be ready for that, I have to practice plenty of techniques and vocal effects. It helps a lot for my vocals in COBRA SPELL and to prepare my voice for the style.
COBRA SPELL hasn’t always been an all-female group. In the past, you had various male musicians in the band as well. Speaking of which, since the foundation in 2019, it has been a coming and going of mainly guitarists and drummers. How hard is it to keep a steady lineup and was the idea of forming a 100% female hard rock/heavy metal band always your plan?
SONIA: The idea to form an all female formation was not something that was present in the beginning of COBRA SPELL. The band started as a mixed band, with women and men. COBRA SPELL was founded without a 100% steady formation, it was more of like a side project with musicians being part of it in distance. The EPs “Love Venom” and “Anthems Of The Night” were being received so well, above any of my expectations. The EP releases have grown the band a lot and given fantastic opportunities. This fast growth of the band forces the members of the formation to offer a certain amount of dedication, priority, professionalism and input in COBRA SPELL. The circumstances of the growth, and the changes of required attention, is something that not everyone is ready to give or can even commit to. This has led to some formation changes before the creation of the debut album. It was the most responsible and sustainable choice for the band to kickoff a debut album on a major label with a lineup that is rebuild to last and can stand the test of time and the pressure that it takes to commit to music. The world of music can be tough, but is very rewarding when the whole band is in synchrony together, works as a team, and shares the same musical dream! The reason why COBRA SPELL became an all female formation is because of the power and influence it can have an other women! The music world is male dominated, female musicians are in minority. This is a fact that needs to change. Personally, I experienced this back in my previous band Crypta. I saw how younger women were expressing their appreciation for what I do as musician and that it inspired them. For me this means the world! I feel a huge responsibility to keep having this effect. With a formation of 5 women we are stronger with this statement! And that’s why COBRA SPELL is a band with all women.
“I stand and fight for women who want to be respected with their open expression, as I know there is a lot of women that feel oppressed by the wrong judgement of others based on an old and traditional mentality.”
– SONIA ANUBIS –
Until now, you have released everything (two Eps and three singles) independently, but COBRA SPELL’s debut album “666” will be out on Napalm Records. How did the realization of this partnership come about?
SONIA: It’s truly an awesome opportunity to be able to release our debut album with such a professional and settled label! The contact that I have with Napalm was due to my collaboration with them in my previous band Crypta. It is not the first time I work with them. The experience was great and it was a no-brainer to work with them again in COBRA SPELL.
I did ask you this in 2021 regarding Crypta and Nervosa and now I will ask you again: Burning Witches, Crypta and COBRA SPELL are all on the Napalm Records roster. What if they decided to organize a Napalm Festival with all three bands on the bill at the same day? Will that give problems regarding the relationship between these bands?
SONIA: Not at all! Actually, I would love to share a bill with them. Especially with Crypta! Not so long ago, I went to see them live and I had a fantastic and wonderful experience! Got to reconnect with the girls backstage and see the songs that I have been part of being played live by them was awesome and an emotional experience. As for Burning Witches, it’s a different story, I would keep supporting them in this day. But I don’t think they would even appreciate that. I hold no grudges nor drama with people in the past, but some people unfortunately do like that kind of negative energy.
The album title “666” and some of the song titles on it (“666”, “Satan Is A Woman”, “Hotline 666”, “The Devil Inside Of Me” and “Warrior From Hell”) strongly suggest that COBRA SPELL is a satanic band. Are you?
KRISTINA: Not at all. What I can say is that COBRA SPELL is an extreme example of freedom of expression. The “666” album is exactly the same thing. A rebellious act of empowerment for women and freedom of expression in many, many ways. So “666” is like a big, big sign on the middle of a highway saying: “STAY REBEL, STAY LOUD and DO WHAT YOU WANNA DO”.
The first single off the album was “S.E.X.”, released on September 26th. A very contentious title in times where women fight for equal rights. And then you come up with a very steamy video full with lascivious women and not misunderstanding moaning sounds. Is this your way of counteracting the women’s movement?
SONIA: Something that I try to understand is, for WOMEN, why is expression of sexuality such a taboo, and why does it hold such a negative energy? Why does it make us unserious or cheap? Sex is a very precious and an essential part of life. Thanks to it, we exist! We own our bodies, so I believe we should be free to choose how to express our own sexuality freely! Some people are introverted and some are more extroverted with their expression, and that is okay. When someone decides to be open with their sexual expression, does that mean that this person is seeking sexual attention, a validation, or ´is being inviting´? No. We live in a time where not everyone is aware of this. Personally, I really like to express myself freely and be open about my sexuality as I am comfortable with it. I stand and fight for women who want to be respected with their open expression, as I know there is a lot of women that feel oppressed by the wrong judgement of others based on an old and traditional mentality. I hope that my fearless expression can lead to women to feel less intimidated, and feel more comfortable about themselves.
Now that COBRA SPELL have a contract with Napalm Records, does that ease the process of making official videos for you? The second one for “The Devil Inside Of Me” came out on November 2nd, only one month and one week after “S.E.X.”
KRISTINA: The work of Napalm Records is wonderful in every aspect and they are doing a great job with us in many matters. I think if we hadn’t been part of a label, we would have recorded some videos anyway because it’s something that you expect from a band, to promote something on video. Releasing a few videos in a row when you are about to release an album is more a marketing strategy than anything else. It’s a wise way to promote the album and to keep making noise and give the fans what they want: the band in action! In fact, there’s one more video coming soon.
Let’s do a Q&A game regarding some of the song titles on “666”. I give you the song title and a question and you respond to it. We start with “Satan Is A Woman”. What if this was true, where would you rather spend your afterlife, Heaven or Hell?
KRISTINA: “Heaven and Hell, I can tell!”🎵
“Hotline 666”. If this number would really exist, who are you hoping to pick up the phone and when that person says: “You can only ask one question“, what would that question be?
SONIA: I hope it would be Gene Simmons (KISS), so I can ask him “can COBRA SPELL go on tour with you, pleaseeeeeeee?”
“Love = Love”. Regardless what you mean by this, but isn’t love sometimes also hate?
KRISTINA: Yes, we live in a time where unfortunately not in all countries we can love freely. Being LGBTIQ+ in many countries is still a crime and this is a very sad reality we live in. So as you say, love sometimes brings hate and we have a lot of work to do as a society to change that. But we will, I’m sure.🙂
“Love Crime”. With whom would you like to commit the ultimate love crime and what would it be like?
SONIA: This song speaks about chasing someone that you are in love with! I am already taken by my boyfriend, hahaha. I would commit a love crime with him anytime, because I am not afraid to chase him with love. He won’t get intimidated or tired of it as he likes my attention anyway!
Sonia, besides the income from the band, you also have your own OnlyFans page where you update very sexy and revealing photos and videos of yourself. Of course, you are free to do so, but aren’t you afraid that people will not take you serious as a musician because of the conflict it might give?
SONIA: I know my true motives and that is what matters to me! I know that I play music for passion and that I am free to do what I please with my body, as it’s my body and it is my life. I believe sex work is also serious work. And I love my job. What people have to say and think is theirs and not mine. As long as I am happy doing it, what does it matter what Jane Doe has to say about it? By the way, as a musician, I can not make a full living. So I need to work elsewhere besides my musical career to have a roof over my head.In April 2024, COBRA SPELL will do “The 666 Tour Over Spain”, eight gigs in eight days. Does that have to do with your and Hale’s Spanish roots and perhaps also Sonia’s beautiful Spanish real name (which we shall not reveal here)?
KRISTINA: We have a big fanbase in Spain, so I think it was a really nice idea to say yes to that tour! Would be nice to visit all those wonderful cities of our country.
Are there going to be more tour dates in 2024?
SONIA: YES! We are working with our booker on this. So please stay tuned to our social media channels for more. You can find our announced dates on our website www.cobraspell.com.