Otep Frontwoman Speaks On Being A Lesbian
Band Photo: Otep (?)
Larry Nichols of Philadelphia Gay News recently conducted an interview with OTEP frontwoman Otep Shamaya.
"There's an old saying that labels are for soup cans," Shamaya said about the band's supposed association with nu-metal. "We're more of a fusion band. That's one of the things I wanted to accomplish when I started the band, to invite people that had many different styles and inspirations and wanted to make really aggressive emotional music. That included having inspirations from everything from punk to grunge to hip-hop to metal to spoken word poetry. Perhaps that's how we avoided it. It was the wrong category for us."
She continued, "There's a lot of metal traditionalists out there that don't consider us metal and that's fine. I don't really consider us metal either."
While there are more women in the metal scene today, openly gay practitioners of metal are few and far between. Shamaya said that being a lesbian hasn't been much of as issue in her career.
"The fact that I like girls doesn't seem to have an effect on anything," she said. "The fact that I find women beautiful doesn't have anything to do with the quality of our work or our songs. I think it would be more of an issue if I was a guy. One of the biggest stereotypes of people who are interested in same-gender relationships is that [people think] I can't find men attractive, which is absolutely false. I just don't have a sexual interest in them. The way our culture views the distinction between a gay man and a gay woman — that would be a bigger issue. I don't think it really matters in the end. Most people don't pay attention to the fact that I like girls. Why would they? I'm not trying to convert anyone. I'm not trying to give them 'the gay.' I'm just up here writing songs."
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