Not for the tl;dr crowd.
Dance pop band Cobra Starship has been blowing up MTV lately with the band's sophomore album, ¡Viva La Cobra! The band appeared on the channel's New Year's Eve program and was MTV's featured artist of the week in January. The video for their latest single, The City Is at War, has played on TRL.
Not that their newfound success is going to their heads, though. Despite hitting the mainstream (they're even making an appearance on an upcoming episode of MTV's My Super Sweet 16), the band members insist they aren't selling out.
According to guitarist Ryland Blackinton, 25, the band is just as focused as ever on connecting with fans. You can meet them for yourself when they head to Clubhouse Music Venue on Feb. 19, along with Metro Station, We the Kings and The Cab, on the Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour.
Question: You guys have been all over MTV lately, most recently as an artist of the week. How did that come about?
Answer: I'm not sure how it came about, but MTV asked us to do it, and we had some time off. We were at home (in New York), and just for two days, we worked with MTV and filmed these skits and stuff, and it went really well. It was really fun to work on. We got to go up to this house, which I think was in Long Island, and just sort of hang out for two days and film these short little vignettes. It was fun.
Q: Why do you think you were chosen?
A. Good looks? I don't know, I have no idea. It was fortunate for us, whatever the reason, that it happened when it did, right before we went on our first headliner and everything. It was convenient.
Q. You're selling out most of your dates on the tour. What do you think accounts for most of your success?
A. Gee, I don't really know. If anything, I think it's just that we haven't really had any time to really think about that question because we haven't really stopped. We've just kept going, and that's the answer. We've just been on the road consistently almost for literally a year. I think that's kind of what it takes these days to just kind of make it work. You have to go out and connect with your fans as often and as frequently as possible.
Q. You've been out on the road so much, are you going to take a breather after this tour? What's next?
A. I don't think so. None of us are too keen on breathers because, truth be told, we'd just go home and get bored after a little bit. Don't get me wrong, time off is nice. We get two weeks off here and there, and that's more than ample.
Q. How would you describe the band's interaction with your fans?
A. It's really important to us that we connect with our fans, so I would say we have a pretty intimate dialogue with a lot of our fans. We respond to them on MySpace, and we take the time to talk to literally everybody at the end of every show, and we're happy to do it. Also, I think it's good to let kids know we're on the same level as they are. We're just regular dudes and a dudette. I think that's been helpful for us, taking the time to talk to kids.
Q. How do you think you grew from debut album While the City Sleeps with ¡Viva la Cobra!?
A. Quite frankly, (singer) Gabe (Saporta) only did While the City Sleeps by himself. Where it's a great record, I think, this new record just sounds a little fuller, as it has all of our creative impulses involved in it. It was a collaborative effort, and I think it's apparent when you listen to it. It's much rounder, and working with (producer and Fall Out Boy singer) Patrick (Stump) as well, having him be the sixth member of the band for the process, it's just fun. I think that if the idea was to throw a party with the first record, well, than this is the after-party that doesn't stop, I guess. We just try to do more of the same thing and try to do it better.
Q. Did Gabe take control of the songwriting process at all?
A. No, I wouldn't say that at all. He knows that (bassist) Alex (Suarez) and I and the rest of us are songwriters ourselves to some extent, and he was very generous to allow us to share the creative process with him. He was ecstatic about it. We had such a short process of time to do it, I'm sure that he was thankful to have any kind of assistance.
Q. What was it like having Patrick Stump as your producer?
A. We were on the road with Fall Out Boy at that time, the Honda Civic Tour, so we're playing these huge amphitheaters and arenas, and for the most part, they're in pretty remote areas. There's not exactly a Starbucks you can walk to or a mall or anything like that. You're just kind of in the middle of nowhere, so as a result, we wound up being as creative as we could in writing the whole record with Patrick on our buses in our back lounges during that tour. Then we went home and went to Brooklyn in the studio for 26 days and then Patrick just came in, and we just banged it out. We just got it out there.
Q. Were there any challenges to having Patrick as both a producer and a friend?
A. No, not at all, if anything (it was) easier. When I say he was the sixth member of the band, he really did give it his all, really. We would just hang out every day from about noon to midnight. It was very good.
Q. Your music video for The City Is at War is doing really well on MTV, too. Whose idea was that?
A. It was the director's idea. His name is Whitey (McConnaughy), which is ironic because we were wearing all white, but also Gabe had had an idea, and we were bouncing around an idea about kind of like an American Gangster/Goodfellas knock-off. It was just coincidence that Whitey had a similar vision, and we just went off with it.
Q. How was it to make it? You got to throw a lot of pies in the video.
A. It was cold. It was desperately cold, but it was cool because we did it in Brooklyn, not too far from where I live. We did it down under the Manhattan Bridge underpass in the Navy Yard, and it was right by the water, so it was pretty cool to see the Brooklyn Bridge at night and the Manhattan skyline, but it was desperately cold. For the people who got pied, I just have to say that my heart really goes out to them, because just having cold, wet pie on your face, in the dead of winter, that doesn't sound like any kind of fun to me.
Q. How did your performance on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 come about?
A. I actually know very little about that. Someone set it up, and this girl wanted us to play her sweet 16, and we said yes. We love parties.
Q. For people who might say you're selling out by doing this, what's your response to that?
A. We're prepared to deal with a lot of that stuff, and we already have to some extent. We just know that our real fans know we don't do anything any differently. We still talk to everyone after every show. It's sort of a common thing for people to see, as soon as you hit some kind of mainstream exposure, they have a little bit of a negative response to that. From their perspective, it becomes less personal to them, because it's accessible to the masses. My response is just as long as people know we haven't changed at all, and we're still the same people and we still talk to everybody, it's really not that much different.
Q. Do you worry about losing credibility at all by doing something like this?
A. We never really cared much about being credible, as we cared about being incredible.
Q. Since your tour is called the Really, Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour, who do you think is really, really ridiculously good looking?
A. (Keytarist) Victoria Asher. Just ridiculously. It's sort of for Victoria, but we wanted it to be the Really Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour because of her, but we had to take one of the "Really's" out because she has four ugly dudes in the band with her.
Q. Why would you encourage people to come out and see the show or pick up the album?
A. Either way, it's a lot of fun. It's a fun record, and I think it's especially fun to come out and see us do it live. We put a lot of work into our live show, and we try to bring the party as much as we can every night.
Some of the Real World spots they filmed for MTV: