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Interview With: Nate Novarro and Alex Suarez of Cobra Starship

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 7/27/2008:

If you thought I was done posting interviews from the Bonner Springs, Kan, Warped on July 2, then you thought wrong. Here is yet another that I did with some of the members of Cobra Starship: bassist Alex Suarez and drummer Nate Novarro. Due to time constraints and the decision to avoid having a paper, rock scissors challenge to the rights to the interview, I opted to conduct a joint interview with Andy Powell of ProDJPublishing so some of his questions are included.

Bethany, PopWreckoning: Can I get you guys to state your name for the record and the instrument you play in the band?
Alex Suarez, Cobra Starship: I’m Alex Suarez. I play bass guitar.
Nate Novarro, Cobra Starship: I’m Nate Novarro. I play drums.
PW: You guys recently released “Guilty Pleasure” in Spanish. Are there any plans to do any more songs in Spanish or is that kind of a one time thing?

AS: We’re just playing it by ear. I wish I could say that in Spanish. We’re not sure. We’re just going to play it by ear.
(In Spanish it would be “Lo estamos jugando por el oído,” I believe.)
Andy Powell, ProDJPublishing: How long did it take you guys to record that and actually pick it up in Spanish?
NN: Well, Gabe [Saporta] is fluent in Spanish, so he translated the song and he went and recorded it. We had the music already done.
AP: Is that how you guys usually write? Lyrics first then music?
AS: The song was basically written already, so we went in the studio and the guy that mixed our record just added the Spanish vocals over the same music that’s already on the CD.
PW: Are you guys working on any new songs right now?
NN: Always, always. We’re always working on new songs.
PW: Any new styles we can expect to hear from you?
NN: We’re trying to kick up the electronic notch a little bit, you know? We play a few songs live that way like “Kiss My Sass” and “Scandalous.” All keyboards, all the time and the added drums. We’re trying to make some more songs like that. Kind of test the waters that way a little bit.
PW: Does every one contribute to the writing process?
AS: Yeah.
AP: Who do you guys listen to? Who were your inspirations?
AS: Growing up? Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, 311, I don’t know. Metallica. Yeah. A lot of hair metal. I was born in ’81 and my brothers were older and they kind of turned me on to a lot of hair metal stuff like that. Then I kind of got into the punk and the goth.
PW: You are one of the few bands that has a female in the group. What have you done to help her survive Warped Tour?
AS: We beat her up every day.
NN: We’re verbally abusive. Yeah, anything. Shit on her pillow. Anything.
AS: No, we understand. She’s tough as nails, too. So, she can beat us up, too.
PW: So, it’s the other way around?
NN: Yeah, she kicks our ass on the tour.
AP: How did you guys come together?
AS: Well, Gabe had the song “Snakes on a Plane.” He wrote a record and had his friends on the record. He met me through the first song demo. Then he met Nate.
NN: Yeah, he met me and he had like a four song demo at first. It wasn’t even “Snakes on a Plane.” He showed them to me because I knew Gabe from like three to four years prior and then he was like, “I need a drummer.” And I was like, “Word. I’m in.” And that was my story.

AS: Ryland [Blackinton] and I, he met us through the drummer in Midtown, his previous band, because I lived right upstairs from that kid who was the drummer. He was like, “Yo, my friend’s starting a side project from our band. He’s looking for some guys so if you guys want to do that with that’d be sweet.”
NN: We met Victoria [Asher] through MySpace.
AS: Yeah, Gabe was searching because we lost our previous keyboard player and whatever, things went the way they did.
NN: You [and Victoria] were already friends, right?
AS: Yeah, a friend of friends. Yeah, I was acquainted with Victoria already and Gabe was on her MySpace and was like, “Keyboard player. Brooklyn. Female.” You know? And this MySpace picture is up and I’m like, “Holy shit. I know that girl!”
He’s like, “No way!” So, we called her up and sure enough and here she is now.
PW: Are there any new bands or friends that you’ve made on Warped Tour that you would recommend to check out?
NN: Every Time I Die. I love those guys. They’re awesome. They’re the sweetest dudes to hang with. We’ve kind of been brought up with a lot of bands: The Audition, we already knew. I just met the dude from The Higher the other night and he was pretty cool. A very nice guy.
AS: It’s like a huge hangout. A huge summer camp thing.
AP: Give me a day in the Warped Tour.
AS: A day in the Warped Tour: you wake up, maybe get some coffee, brush your teeth. There’s enough time to pull yourself together and look for the closest port-a-potty or bathroom and well, that’s actually crucial. Yeah, that is crucial.
First thing in the morning. Early. You do that maybe and have a little something to eat. Find out what time you play. Some days we play at 11:20. Today we play at 5:50. Then I find out what bands I want to go see.
NN: Yeah, you look at the schedule and you see who is playing when and you’re like cool.
AS: I have press at 1, a signing at 3, we play at 5.
NN: You kind of set your day up by looking at the schedule in the morning. Cool, I can squeeze these guys in on the way from press and to catering. I can catch these guys on the way from catering back to the bus.
AS: Halo.
NN: Yeah, I can play Halo with these guys and system link our buses together.
PW: Is that really what you guys do?
CS: Yeah, for sure.
PW: First Halo or?
NN: Three, but we play all of them. We don’t have all of them on tour. We actually love one the best.
AP: Which do you guys prefer: Facebook or MySpace?
AS: I just got a MySpace.
NN: Ugh, I just couldn’t handle MySpace anymore.
AS: It’s overwhelming with fake people that find me on MySpace and I’m like I’m done. I don’t want to deal with it on another site. It’s a lot of work.
AP: What’s on your iPod?
AS: Tons. We got a lot of hip hop, classical, early rock, lot of sixties rock, pop rock, metal.
NN: Actually, when I got my iPod, I went to my dad’s computer and I was like give me everything.
PW: Tell us the most embarrassing thing on your iPod.
NN: Kenny Chesney.
PW: Do you listen to it?
NN: No, never. But it’s there. If I ever want to make a joke, I’ll play it.
AS: I want to say my own would be Britney Spears‘ “Toxic,” but I just think that song is awesome. It is one of those most perfectly produced songs in history and that will last like 15 years.
NN: Maybe there will be a metal version.
AS: We should do it karaoke and record it.
NN: I think I actually have the acoustic version of that.
AS: Oh really? I should get that from you.
AP: Best place to play and if you say Kansas, I’ll know you’re lying.
PW: Psht, I don’t know. Lawrence has Pita Pit. (I happen to know from a previous Cobra Starship show in Lawrence that Nate Novarro has a soft spot for Pita Pit).
NN: (Eyes wide) Pita Pit! I love Pita Pit. Lawrence does have Pita Pit. Lawrence is sweet.
I like playing my hometown of Atlanta.
AS: I’ve noticed that our shows in Long Island and New Jersey are usually just the most insane shows. Like we did an in-store one time in New Jersey and the venue could only hold 300 people. Over a thousand kids showed up. It was amazing.
NN: Their shows are usually the craziest shows.
AS: Yeah, the crowd’s awesome, the shows are great.
AP: That’s all I have.
PW: Thank you, guys.

Cobra Starship: website | myspace

Alex Suarez’ side project This Is Ivy League: website | myspace

Video: Fueled By Ramen
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