Monday Motivation: Otep

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

Some things become better with age. Wine, for example, is believed to taste better after it has been allowed to age for months or even years. The same can be said for several kinds of liquor, as well as the bond between two friends. The reasons for this are as varied as the list of things you could say improve with time, but perhaps the most interesting evolution aided by time is that of those who create. It’s one thing to write a song, teach it to your friends, record said song, and then perform that song every night for as long as people are willing to see you play. It’s something else entirely to do all of that and then, just as interest is beginning to wain, retreat to your secret lair and do it all over again, but that is the career musicians agree to when they decide to dedicate their lives to music.

For some creative types, the time between releases is a time to focus on refining what works for their sound without necessarily trying to change the status quo. There is this belief in popular music that most listeners want more of the same. They like who they like because of a certain sound or style and all they ask moving forward is for that artist or group to give them more of what they’ve already bought. What fans fail to realize, as do those artists who try to meet this demand, is that all creative types are people just like you or I at the end of the day. They might like certain things or think certain ways right now that they won’t even be able to relate to in six months times, let alone six years. People, regardless of career or status, must evolve to survive. It’s change and challenge that keeps our mind thinking and our muscles growing, and if we want to become the best versions of ourselves we have to first accept that it’s possible no one will enjoy what comes next. We have to accept that we will change regardless of our best efforts to stay the same, and when we do that we can begin to make the most out of the people we have become.

Otep has been a force for rock and roll creativity for the better of part of two decades now, but you would be hard-pressed to find any two albums in the band’s catalog that sound the same. From record to record, EP to EP, Otep has been a band that prides itself on setting a new standard not only for the members of the group, but the rock world at large as well. You might not know some of the band’s material, but the band’s you idolize do, and they’ve probably committed a large part of that material to memory because Otep is, and for some always have been, just that good.

All of this is why, just days away from the band’s seventh studio album hitting shelves, we felt compelled to bring their name to the Haulix blog. In our decade of existence we have yet to encounter a rock fan who did not know the name Otep, and that is not something that can be said for the vast majority of musicians working today. Somehow, despite changing consumer behaviors and the increasingly overcrowded genre they call home, Otep have been able to establish a presence beyond the world of cookie-cutter rock that demands just as much attention and respect as the bands currently making a living off the success of radio singles. We wish we could explain how this came to be in a way you could imitate in your own career, but to do so would be to express a basic misunderstanding about why Otep is considered so great in the first place. This band, perhaps more than any other group working in rock today, understands and embraces the uniqueness of who they are as people, and that acceptance of self is then conveyed through the art they create in such a way that fans feel inspire to live similarly lives.

When you hear Generation Doom you feel a fire ignite within your soul. You’ve probably felt this same fire before, most likely when you were just beginning to grasp how big the world actually is, and for one of the few times in your adult life you begin to believe anything is possible. When tracks like “God Is A Gun” plays you feel the strength of ten thousand armies coursing through your veins as the double bass bounces off the walls of your brain, and your body believes you can do anything. You feel empowered to express who you are, go after what you want, and altogether be whoever it is you feel you are regardless of what others might think. Even “Royals,” which is admittedly a metal cover of Lorde’s hit single of the same name, feels as if it could only be created by the group of musicians bringing this album to life. It is, just like every other song, a unique moment in time captured to digital tape in such a way as to not lose an ounce of the beauty found in the initial performance. This is raw rock, captured and preserved just as it was performed, and it’s utterly mesmerizing.

We don’t kid to ourselves and believe everyone will see this release the way we do, but it would be pretty great if that we the case. It should be, after all, as Otep have crafted an album with Generation Doom that will be looked upon in years to come as one of modern rock’s great accomplishments. It’s an intoxicating and pulsating musical romp that grabs you by the collar from the opening moments and never lets go. This album wants to make you think almost as much as it wants to inspire you to fight for change, and we believe it accomplishes both those goals in a big way. If you’re feeling as if your connection to music has begun to slip, this record may be the savior you have been seeking. This record is a reminder of the positive influence at can have on the world, and we would give anything to see more records like it appear in the years to come.

Generation Doom hits stores April 15, 2016 via Napalm Records.

James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.