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by Alex Brzezicka

Taste some of the most perfectly poisonous electro-pop on the planet.

Jump into our new series featuring fresh faces who are on the way to define the sounds and aesthetics of the, not so distant, future. The cultural revolution is happening now. We don’t want you to miss any of it. Let’s push boundaries together. 

Can you smell the latex burning, hear the chains clanking? COBRAH’s in the house, honey. Electro-pop’s newest Swedish sensation is here to get you gagging. Growing up in Gothenburg’s metal scene and engrossed in a ‘goth goes to a fetish party’ kind of aesthetic, today she comes with a controversial manifesto: self-indulge and simply enjoy yourself. Go beyond genre, gender and sexuality. COBRAH’s gang welcomes anyone open-minded and desperate for a good time.

After putting out a minimalistic and cutting-edge debut single, ‘IDFKA’, that got her chanting ‘I don’t fucking know anymore’, ironically, COBRAH had a eureka moment. Ever since, it’s a constant evolution of the sound she found back then. Having scored a Swedish Grammy nomination for ‘IDFKA’ CGI gooey video and a feature in H&M online campaign for Ariana Grande’s merch collection, COBRAH has been poking the mainstream’s underbelly for some well-deserved attention. While she would definitely shine in that spotlight, it’s not really her crowd. As a could-be SOPHIE and Arca’s wicked baby, COBRAH is destined to rule the club scene. Dropping two EPs so far, 2020 DEBUT that got critics crazy over spicy lyrics and unapologetic attitude, then this year’s COBRAH, she is already stomping on the royal path.

“I just wanna feel good/Gotta lay down with some good kush/Got a good girl a real good bush”, COBRAH claims in ‘GOOD PUSS’. It’s a hyper-pop heavy track celebrating kinks and queerness, sweetened up by babydoll-like vocals. COBRAH wouldn’t crawl away from any subject that intrigues her. She attacks them all with confidence and a good amount of sass. While some coin her as shocking, the only truly shocking thing is that in certain circles her pure concept of fun, sex and exploration is still considered taboo. As the first snow has just hit Stockholm, we caught COBRAH during a cold season clothes shopping to chat about playing dress-up, independent artists’ struggles and self-inspiration. Winter is coming but don’t worry. COBRAH’s universe is always smoking hot.

You’ve recently supported Charli XCX at the London show, how did it feel to be able to get lost in that crowd’s energy?

Everything up to the performance went to shit anyway but the performance day was really fun. It was so smooth. It was just incredible. I prepped a lot for it so I was really nervous. It was my first show where I practised movement direction and stuff like that. I felt a lot of pressure to do it really well but I also enjoyed myself massively.

You used to be a teacher, is COBRAH an act, an alter ego, or does it blend in with your private self?

I don’t think I can be like that other person. It’s not an alter ego in any way. It’s very much an extension of myself. It’s definitely not where I put on a mask and I act like a different persona. It’s very much an expansion. It’s like when you were a kid and you really wanted to dress up. I didn’t want to be a princess or a queen. I wanted to be a witch. It’s like that. It’s still you, just amplified in another way. It’s a great space when I can explore and really indulge in those feelings of wanting to be almost like royalty.

The press is often quick to label you as a queer sex-positive vocalist, as great and important it is to represent these communities, do you ever find it to be a limiting label?

It’s the same thing when you say ‘this is a girl rock band, this is a girl artist’ or ‘this is a queer artist’. It’s not important to the music. The quality of the music is the same. Sometimes when you put a person’s sexuality or gender before you talk about music it devalues the music. It makes it less working as just regular music. Instead of ‘this is this awesome artist’, it’s ‘this is these topics, to put the topics ahead of the music in a way’. Also, I understand from the first sighting you always need to do that. You’re always looking for the headlines. Sometimes it goes both way but now we’re a society where it’s not it’s not the same thing being queer anymore. People are more fluid in a way and it’s not as label-y as it used to be in some ways. It’s just too many labels. It’s the same with music genres. It’s so hard not to be one because it’s too many. The world is limitless.

How would you describe your work’s aesthetics?

Goth, queer, scandi realness.

What made you want to create in the first place?

I went to my music school. I knew I really wanted to be an artist because I’ve always been performing and loving that. I met with a few classmates. We rented the studio and were making music together. We made ‘IDFKA’. When we made it, I felt like I was working on something that I haven’t heard before. It felt so cool. It’s so minimalistic but with metal sounds. There’s also a bit of chanting. A lot of things that I’m really drawn to. From that on, I was really into making that song again; like ‘what is this song’? I had no idea really what the sound was. Then in Sweden, there wasn’t much interest to release anything so that’s when I decided to do it myself and that’s what I’ve been doing so far. I got to control the whole vision and I appreciate that a lot now.

The creative industry is built on odd part-time jobs, free internships, all-nighters and tons of energy-boosters to get through all the turmoil of making or breaking it. Was it a struggle to get to this point in your career?

It’s a struggle of time and money as it is in everything you do. No matter which creative field you are in. When I started making music and releasing it, I signed a publishing contract. Then I got a little bit of money and put it into the first EP. At the time I was working a part-time teaching job and then when I made the second one, I had to quit it to be able to have the time to write and to release the second one. That’s the biggest struggle, how much should everything cost and if you have time and when you have time since you’re only one person. It’s really hard to balance those things because if you’re with the label there’s some limitless source of people, their time and their money. Being an artist and doing something that’s generating artistic, interesting but also affordable is the most difficult thing to do. If you want to do as well artists signed to labels that’s really difficult.

Every artist has their muse. Who is a source of inspiration for you?

In the beginning I had a lot of muses. Now, I look at my past discography and I feel like I inspire myself a lot more. It’s really nice because in the beginning when I started doing music, I didn’t know much about the music culture that I now make music in. I was not copying but I was really looking into the production which makes it hard not to copy because then you’re so indulged in what other people do. Now, I see my sound and what I sound like. It inspires me for the music that I’m making. I’ve also started to draw a lot of inspiration from nature, especially the sea and fishes. That’s a better approach when you’re making stuff yourself because you wanna make something that’s genuine to you. I have a lot of artists that I admire and think are really cool but when it comes to the way I create, I don’t try to take that into my realm.

What’s the message behind your work?

To be more self-indulgent in every way of being and being very free. It’s not the political statement of your sexuality, your gender or aesthetic, it’s just the freedom of enjoying it. I think a lot of people need it in their life.

Where do you want to see yourself in five years?

I wanna do a world tour. I wanna be one of those touring artists that are doing performances all the time that are really intricate and expensive to do. I wanna do all the music video slides for example like the ‘GOOD PUSS’ video, I want to be hanging down in chains and maybe we could get a pool on stage and I would be swimming. That’s one of my life goals.

Generation Tomorrow features new faces who are on the way to define, not so distant, creative future and shake society up a little. Who would be your choice?

I’m really bad with new people that are rising but I’m gonna give some tea about Brooke Candy. She’s always relevant. We’ve been in the studio a lot together. She just continues to do her own thing both visually and musically. That inspires me so much to have people that are not just flowing with the trends but have really made a mark on the culture.

Ninja Hanna
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