Rock ‘n Roll has changed. Gone are the days of big labels and even bigger hair. In 2015 the sound is raw, the musicians are rough, and everything’s going independent. Vancouver rocker Cobra Ramone is the embodiment of this new direction. Self-reliant, ambitious, yet willing to get vulnerable with her fans, Ramone’s persona fits neatly into do it yourself attitude of the 21st century music scene.
“It’s all through the power of social media.” laughs Ramone. Using crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, Ramone and her band raised over $17,000 to fund their newest EP, Bang Bang. “99% of our crowd-funding happened through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our fans and friends re-posted it and emailed it out to their friends. That was 99% of our traffic and donations right there.”
But with successful crowd-funding becoming a rarity as more and more voices clamour for donations, Ramone’s success was not necessarily a guaranteed straight-shot to success.
“A lot of people talk about how there’s no music community here but they’re wrong,” she says. “My van was broken into last week and my gear, like my amp and guitar, were stolen so I posted it online as a joke about how I’ve learned not to leave things in my car. I received so many texts and emails from local musicians offering to lend me stuff or even give it to me for free. You don’t find that in many cities. There’s a support system between bands here that’s just beautiful.”
The success of the crowd-funding campaign was only the first step though. Now the pressure’s on to deliver. The EP drops today (February 13) and will be followed by a rapid tour of British Columbia and Alberta in March, and culminating in a massive celebratory shindig on April 3rd at the ANZA Club.
“One of my favourite things is to perfect the show on the road and then just kill it in Vancouver,” she says, but it’s not just the joy of playing on home turf that drives Cobra Ramone to bring the biggest party home.
The musicians may have given her the tools, the fans the money, and the techies their time, but none of it would have happened if the music didn’t, well, rock.
“The first album was very raw. On the second album I was more open to using electronic sounds. But for this one we brought it back to the basics. It’s a pretty straight forward rock record. I would really like strippers to dance to it. We really like raunchy rock.”
Cobra Ramone has the musical chops to prove they’re more than just a cool exterior too. “We have the most incredible drummer. He’s a guy named Pat Stewart who was the drummer on Summer of 69. So when he came in to play drums for us it became a totally out of this world experience.”
With an all-star drummer, a cadre of supportive musicians and techs, and a fan base willing to trust their musical instincts, Cobra Ramone and bands like her are changing the shape of the industry. Maybe it’s the swagger of her leather clad hips, or the smoke curling out of her cigar, but it’s much more likely that her success, and the success of those like her, comes from their willingness to be open, honest, and real with their fans. Something that you just cannot do with a corporate label behind you. The final song on the new record reveals an issue she’s never discussed publicly before now.
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was seventeen,” says Ramone. “It hasn’t been there my whole life and it’s all under control, but it’s something that’s constantly in the back of my mind. That song’s about how something like that changes your life.”
She pauses for a moment before adding: “It’s just real.”
Cobra Ramone’s new album Bang Bang drops Friday, February 13. Tour info and more can be found at http://www.cobraramone.com/