Snakes on a Starship


Loopy dancy rockers Cobra Starship tell Grace Duffy about life in the world’s most carefree band

“We always say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!” laughs Cobra Starship guitarist Ryland Blackinton when quizzed as to his band’s intriguing moniker. Legend has it lead singer Gabe Saporta had a snakebite-induced epiphany in the desert, causing him to hallucinate that the titular reptile was schooling him on the dance floor. A fittingly iridescent story, it matches the band’s fun-loving fusion of rock and rhythmic dance.

This mischievous image is one cultivated by the band, especially in a scene where musicians are often too preoccupied with being taken seriously.

“Even from the very beginning we didn’t really take it too seriously, especially not ourselves. We just wanna have fun. I just think emo is the shittiest thing ever – people moping over stuff – and we wanted to break out of that world and be a bit more frivolous. We make music that you can just turn your brain off when you listen.”

Indeed, Cobra Starship’s fresh attitude is both unique and entirely welcome. The band caught the eye of Pete Wentz a few years ago, signing to his label Decaydance, and will soon release their third album Hot Mess. Amongst others, the band have worked with American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi – one of the fruits of the process being a collaboration with none other Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl fame.

“We worked with a lot of people, but Kara just happened to be the one that we connected with the best,” says Ryland. “She’s got a great attitude, she’s really talented. She was able to take what we had already and bring it to the next level. It was very different, but it was very cool. ” As for Leighton, “We were in the studio in New York, and our producers said to take a day off as they were having a session with one of the Gossip Girls. Gabe said, half-joking, ‘we’ll take tomorrow off if you promise we can do a song with her,’ but then somehow a few months later the opportunity came up!”

Unpredictability being the standard in the Cobra Starship camp, the band are venturing to Indonesia and the Philippines later this year as part of a breakneck world tour, also including Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Says Ryland, “You never really get to see the places that you’re touring, but I love to travel and I never would have been able to come to any of these places if I weren’t in the band. Being away from home can be tough but it’s the nature of the beast. Who knows what’ll come across our desk!”

Let’s just hope south east Asia is ready for this fun-loving starship to land.