The last time Blast talked to Cobra Starship, they were opening up for Fall Out Boy on the Beleivers Never Die II tour and anticipating the release of their new album, “Hot Mess.” Then, the group was glad to have been able to make the record after complications arose with lead singer Gabe Saporta’s voice. After throat surgery and a brief vacation for vocal recovery, the band tracked demos in the Poconos Mountains and recorded the album in New York City. The CD dropped last August and since then Cobra Starship has blown up. After less than a year, Cobra has gone from “that band that did the Snakes on a Plane song” and a niche crowd earned by months and months of extensive touring to being a radio top 40 staple and performing at the People’s Choice Awards huge venues, thanks to their platinum single “Good Girls Gone Bad.”
“A lot has changed. It was very beneficial for us and a big deal. It was our first platinum single.” said Cobra bassist Alex Suarez during a phone interview on Wednesday. “We’ve been able to go to countries we’ve never been to and play a lot of places we weren’t able to play before.”
The single also gained the band a new legion of fans, which made keeping the intimate relationship they had previously held with the kids that came out to their shows a little more difficult. It was a philosophy of the band that they didn’t want a fan club because they didn’t agree with making fans pay to meet them. Instead, a free membership to “Cobra Crew” came with every purchase of “Hot Mess.” Entrance into the crew means exclusive news and contests as well as pre-sales and early entry or a meet and greet with the Cobras before every show.
“For a while [our fans] didn’t want us to get a fan club. They were all old school fans and were worried about the new kids coming in. It was a sucky situation because we’ve always been really close to them, but it’s actually worked out well,” Suarez said.
“Hot Mess” brought Cobra not only closer to fans, but also had them working with some of the industry’s up and coming heavy hitters. “Good Girls Gone Bad” was co-written by American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi and featured Gossip Girl’s most notorious bad girl Leighton Meester. For “The World Will Never Do,” the band also teamed up with a then somewhat-unknown rapper – B.o.B , who has since blown up on both iTunes and Billboard charts.
“We had the song written and were thinking we should have someone put a rap down. Either Gabe [Saporta] or Nate [Navarro] knew him and he came in and killed it,” Suarez said. “We’re really happy he’s doing so well right now.”
The third single from “Hot Mess” is “Living in the Sky with Diamonds,” one of the slowest songs on the album, debuted last week. For the video, they were approached by Lewis Carter, who they met when previously touring with All Time Low in the UK. Carter suggested the idea of directing the video for free while Cobra Starship was back in England earlier this year. The video stars British socialite Peaches Geldof and has an artsy, old-time movie feel which is a different direction for Cobra Starship, but characteristic of their desire to always think outside the box.
“[Carter] just called us up and asked to do the video and we agreed,” said Suarez. “We set up in the theatre and it was fun. I like the sparkles.”
Currently the boys and keytarist Vicky-T are out on the road co-headlining the Too Fast 4 Love tour with 3OH!3, Travis McCoy and I Fight Dragons which kicked off in Milwaukee last month. Each night Cobra and 3OH!3 switch off for who closes the show.
“We were planning to tour and just weighing our options on who to go out with, and we had met 3OH!3 on Warped Tour . Then we found out they were looking for a tour and so it just came together,” Suarez said about the choice of tour mates.
It’s not all fun and games on the road though. The Cobras have already started work on their fourth album by installing a mini recording studio in a spare bunk on the bus.
“It’s just so we can get ideas down and then we’ll go into properly recording the album after the tour,” Suarez said.
The demo stage has proven to be pretty close to the end result for Cobra though. Last year when they retreated to the Pocono Mountains to start writing “Hot Mess,” almost all of the electronic tracks they emerged with ended up being the final cut for the record.
“When we got to the studio, all the electronic stuff was kept from the mountains. We just had to re-track drums and vocals – that’s about it,” Suarez said.
With any luck, you can expect a new Cobra album by early next year. In the mean time, you can catch them on the Too Fast 4 Love tour which rolls through Boston thus Sunday, May 9 at the House of Blues. Fangs Up!