It might be nearly three years since Cobra Starship released Night Shades, their last studio album. But that doesn’t mean Gabe Saporta has been resting on his laurels. Since the disc—which bore the double-Platinum smash “You Make Me Feel…”—dropped in August 2011, Saporta has toured South America with his bandmates opening for Justin Bieber, gotten married fashion designer Erin Fetherston and spearheaded perhaps the most buzzed-about scene reunion of the new millennium when Midtown reformed for a pair of shows at this year’s Skate & Surf Festival.
All these experiences have set the stage for the next chapter of Cobra Starship. Just one listen to the band’s new single, “Never Been In Love Before,” and you’ll hear the sonic revolution. Gone are the Manic Panic-tinged synths and no-sleep-til-sunrise party vibe; in its place, we’re left with a track that recalls ’70s rock and soul filtered through a ’90s lens as the singer falling head over heels for an unexpected love. AP caught up with Saporta to dish about the new track, when fans can expect more new music from Cobra and why he’ll never give up bringing sassy back.
AP: How are you doing after your Pete Wentz-assisted ice bucket challenge?
[Laughs.] It was good, man. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone and their mother’s doing it. My dad actually asked me if he should do one. [Laughs.] Have you done one yet?
No one’s nominated me. I guess I’m not that popular. I’ll donate, though.
Have you seen Britney Spears’?
Not yet—what did she do?
It’s unreal. She yells “fuck” at the end and they try to cut it off. [Laughs.]
Amazing. Okay, so let’s talk about this new song, “Never Been In Love.” Honestly, when I heard it, I immediately thought of that New Radicals song “You Get What You Give.”
Yes! Exactly, that’s exactly what I was going for. Not New Radicals specifically, but that whole early ‘90s U.K. thing that was happening. Even though New Radicals were from the U.S., that guy Gregg [Alexander] was part of that whole U.K. thing, when bands started experimenting with electronic music and breakbeats.
It’s also noticeably different than much of what you’ve done in Cobra. Did you feel a sense of musical freedom coming off the success of “Good Girls Go Bad” and “You Make Me Feel…” or the need to churn out another club hit?
I think the, I don’t want to say danger, but the problem anyone who’s had success—not just in music but being a creator in general—is wanting to achieve that same success but not repeat it. When “Good Girls” came out, it was an extension of what we were doing in Cobra as one of the first bands doing electronic party music that came from the scene. And then we tried to replicate that with “You Make Me Feel…,” and while I think that’s a great song, there’s was something about it for me… I like to always challenge myself.
That’s why I started Cobra Starship; I wanted to experiment. For me to take a step back last year, doing the Midtown thing, just let me love music again and not be afraid to take chances. That’s why this song really sounds different. I was able to look around and think, “What kind of influences can we draw from here?”
You hinted at the beginnings of new Cobra material when we talked in the past; when did this song take shape?
Right around the time Midtown were happening, we’d do that on the weekends, and I’d work on Cobra during the week. When you’re trying to find a new sound, that experiment takes a lot of time. I didn’t want to do another “Good Girls.” It took time collaborating with people and figuring it out. This is a song that came together really quickly and kind of encapsulated what I was looking for. We got the song in the can, and everyone was really excited about it. We haven’t put out music in [a long time]; why not get it out? We’re still working on the album, and it will hopefully be out by early next year.
I know you’ve been working with CJ Baran (the Cab, Cody Simpson) and “Good Girls Go Bad” co-writer Kara DioGuardi on some of this new music. Who else?
It’s so funny how it happens sometimes. I went to this ASCAP writers mixer—I’d never been to one in my whole life—and met this girl there who’d also never been to one, and we connected. She’s a rapper named Hesta Prynn; she was in that group Northern State. We just connected. We write a lot of stuff together these days. We have a lot in common: She grew up in Long Island, I grew up in Jersey. We both listened to hip-hop and punk music growing up. It’s crazy.
You got married last year. What do you think you learned from that huge life experience—and also getting the opportunity to reunite with Midtown for the first time in nearly a decade?
Oh, so much. We could sit here and talk for days about it. Two really important things come to mind. One is… you know, I really got into music, and music saved me. I was a kid who had a hard life growing up; I was very depressed, and I think a lot of people who are into music are so passionate about it because they have nothing else. They find music and it becomes like a family; they really connect with it. I think as a result, you don’t deal with that negativity and end up with a lot of artists who are able to express themselves but get stuck in that expression.
I feel like the whole process with Midtown, and even Cobra Starship… Cobra Starship had ups and downs, even though it was party music. It still came from a place of not fitting in—not that I feel I fit in now. I think getting married, you need to do a lot of internal work to really be ready to commit to it and be responsible for someone else. It taught me a lot about what it means to be happy, and happiness isn’t necessarily something that happens outside your body. It’s something you choose every day, and you have to look inside yourself. I think that’s the struggle.
Lyrically, “Never Been In Love” is a bit of a departure. Now that you’re married, are you still going to be singing about making good girls go bad?
[Laughs.] I mean, that’s exactly what the struggle was. So now it’s trying to balance who I am now without being too adult to be up in the club and all that. There’s definitely a part of my personality that loves to push buttons and challenge people a bit, and I think that’s still there. I think the tongue-in-cheek aspect and the sarcasm has to be a part of it. On all our albums, there are songs that are sarcastic like “You’re Not In On The Joke” or “Guilty Pleasure,” but then there are songs like “One Day Robots Will Cry” that were very sincere and sentimental songs.
When you do music full time, it can really start to weigh on you, especially when you’re in a position where things at home aren’t okay. That’s what made me really want to get married. When I had a girlfriend and things weren’t great, I had the strength to go out and do whatever I wanted. When I abused that and didn’t act appropriately, I had chaos at home. And then when I came home, I would go back out and wouldn’t be able to handle it. That was a cycle, and I realized it was really just my fault. I think that’s part of what growing up is; you have to realize that you can’t blame anyone and just have to take responsibility for yourself.
So people don’t have to worry about you turning soft after getting married.
No, I think there’s gonna be the same balance of talking shit, sarcasm and sincerity, which is what makes me, me. It’s funny, because when you go through a process—like the one last year where I couldn’t release the music—I had gone too far one way. You know, when Cobra Starship started, it was like a character for me, but after a while the character becomes the actor. So it got to the point where I went too far that way and realized, “Oh, fuck. I have this and nothing to balance it out.” So I went back the other way. I did a lot of spiritual work; I went to South America for a while—and I did get soft. That’s what happened last year: I got too soft to put out music.
You’re just a method actor. You’re like the Daniel Day-Lewis of pop music.
“The Daniel Day-Lewis of pop music.” [Laughs.] I think that’s the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.
Source: Alt Press
Kellie Rasberry from Kidd Kraddick In The Morning has a huge crush on Gabe. She has been the happiest girl when Gabe surprised her in the studio. Listen to the Interview below and check out the funny Photos at the Gallery. Player not working? Check out the Video.
Dance-pop band Cobra Starship hasn’t released an album since 2011’s Night Shades, but frontman Gabe Saporta has been keeping busy: In that time, Saporta got married, made one of the official “I Don’t Care” remixes, staged a Midtown reunion, and started experimenting with a new sound for Cobra Starship. And now, the band’s back with a new song featuring Swedish duo Icona Pop called “Never Been in Love.”
Saporta wanted to draw from ’90s Britpop for his new music, something evident in the “na-na”-tinged, clap-heavy “Never Been in Love,” a song that samples the piano from Fatboy Slim’s 1999 hit “Praise You.” “We wanted to find something that people would be familiar with,” Saporta said, “but it’s been so long that it almost feels new again.”
Cobra Starship won’t be releasing an album until next year, but Saporta spoke to Entertainment Weekly about what he was up to during the break, why touring with Justin Bieber in South America was so special, and what kind of sounds to expect in the band’s new music.
EW: This new song is so much fun. What influenced it?
GABE SAPORTA: What I really wanted to do for this new record is I really wanted to draw an inspiration from, I was listening to a lot of George Michael and a lot of like early ’90s U.K. artists and there was really this era of time in that period where all these bands first started experimenting with break beats and electronic music. So I really wanted to draw an inspiration from there.
And how’d you guys hook up with Icona Pop?
We actually met because we did one of the remixes for “I Love It.” We ended up doing one of their official remixes and they loved the remix so much they actually asked us for the part so they could perform it live. So when they went on tour with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, they were actually performing our version of the remix, which is so awesome. And I’ve always loved, loved, loved the way they sing in particular. Because they’re like punk rock girls singing pop songs.
It’s been a few years since Night Shades, so what have you been up to during that break?
I got married, which was really exciting for me. I think something people are going to be surprised to hear about me is we didn’t live together until we got married, we kind of went the traditional route. So once we got married, we had to live together, and build a home together, so we really took the time to do that right. The other thing is I really wanted to make sure… I wanted to experiment with this new sound that’s kind of like early ’90s U.K. thing I was talking about as opposed to just repeating “You Make Me Feel…” or something. I didn’t want to fall into that pitfall of having success, trying to replicate it, but only end up only repeating yourself. So I really wanted to make sure I had something fresh and new.
Is there an album coming?
No, actually, I’ve only been working on new music for the past four months or so, but this is just more of a song that came together so quickly and everybody got really excited about it. And the label and everyone was like, “hey, we haven’t had new music from you in three years, let’s just put this out now and we’ll get the album out next year. But let’s get new music going now.” I’m working on the album, but it won’t be ready ’til next year. And it’s amazing the song is coming out on the 25th, because I was born in Uruguay, and Aug. 25 is actually Uruguay’s independence day.
Does your family listen to your music?
[Laughs] I don’t know if they know every word and are blogging lyrics on Tumblr, but they definitely listen to it. My family’s very supportive at this point. Definitely when I started, especially in my punk band Midtown, when my dad saw me leave college, and I’m like, “Okay, I‘m going to go on tour,” and I came home like in this $3,000 van that was sputtering and he could hear it around the corner and I came out of the van and I was all emaciated because I hadn’t eaten on tour. He was like, “You left college for this?” Now he’s very proud of me.
After not playing together since 2005, your band Midtown reunited this past year. How’d that go?
It was amazing. It was better than I could have expected. In Midtown actually, I played bass and I sang. So to play an instrument again, live, was really awesome.
Can fans expect more of that? Or was it a one time only thing?
I know there’s a lot of people that didn’t see it. Now that we’ve spent six months rehearsing all our songs and practicing again, I think hopefully we’ll be ready to do it again if the situation arises.
You guys toured with Justin Bieber a few years ago?
We toured with Justin Bieber all over South America. That was really one of my goals was to have my family get to see us play, and we had to been to South America a couple times before Justin Bieber, but we were like in Brazil, like in Chile. We had never come close to Uruguay, where I’m from. We actually played in Argentina with Justin Bieber and a lot of my family got to come see us play, and not just see us play, but play in front of like 50,000 people. So it was really, really incredible.
And I bet the crowds were crazy because it was Justin Bieber’s crowd as well as yours.
Absolutely. Kids were crazy. And when you’re into Justin Bieber, you’re very young. So the fact that he took a band like us out is cool, it really exposes kids to new artists. And so a kid can be listening to pop music and then he kind of gets into new things from that. But for me, what was really cool, is that I think that kids knew that song, they knew Cobra Starship, like “You Make Me Feel…” was a big hit happening when we did that, it was big international song, so people knew that song. But I think when kids heard me speak Spanish and they found out I was from Uruguay, they were like “Wow, that’s really cool that someone from South America moved to America and had a successful song.”
I started Cobra Starship after realizing that I didn’t want to keep wasting my life being unhappy. What Cobras taught me more than anything is that happiness is a choice—one you have to make every day.
Some of the happiest moments of my life have been because of Cobras. Even when my life took a dark turn and I had to step away, I always knew I had our crew to fall back on.
That is the power of Cobras.
That is why we are back.
Listen to the brand new Cobra song “Never Been in Love” featuring Icona Pop on YouTube, and go download it on iTunes.
Various radio stadions in the states kinda claimed to play ‘Never Been In Love’ only once as exclusive world premiere earlier this Sunday. Gabe tweeted he did not know about this. I’m not sure if they really played it or if it was just a joke to promote it… Anyway I checked the Z100 Page and ‘Never Been In Love’ is already listed to their Playlist and can be requested.
By the way on Cobras Artist Page on Z100 does ‘Never Been In Love’ have the Note “Original Release Date: August 12, 2014″…
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