It doesn’t take long after the song begins, dreamy vocals follow, sometimes layered, but more often vulnerably stripped back, wrapping around gliding, filtered bass lines and airy synthesizers. A diverse wave of flourishes appear throughout what some might call lo-fi R&B beats, all brought together with relaxed, yet confident vocal performances. There’s something familiar and haunting about Cobrayama’s arrangements that compliments Fawna’s captivating vocals. Excited by their new EP Clear, we decided to catch up with the Brooklyn, NY producer to learn about his history and the new project.
“I’ve been playing guitar in bands since I was 10 or 11 and I started producing when I was about 15 or 16, sampling live instruments and vinyl into my MPC 2000XL. My first project as a producer was called The Buffalo Analog, and then we started Exmag and I started taking it more seriously. After leaving Exmag I started Cobrayama as a solo project and moniker to produce for other people.”
We wanted to know more about the unique name, so he went on to explain “When I started the project I had a ton of beats and needed a name to release them under. I wanted the name to sound like a comic book villain. I just started coming up with different things to combine with Cobra andYama sounded good. Yama is the Lord of Death in Tibet, and the cycle of rebirth in Buddhism. Cobrayama was kind of my rebirth as a solo artist.”
Today, it's commonplace for producers to blend a spectrum of sounds and influences to create their music, and Cobrayama is no exception. When asked if he identified with a specific genre he stated “100% no, I make so many different kinds of music, but I guess a lot of the stuff under the Cobrayama project is based in Hip-Hop. I use that term loosely.”
When asked about sources of inspiration “I actually find a lot of inspiration in visual art and movies. A lot of the time I’ll have some sort of visual stimulation happening while I’m recording. Old cartoons, VHS tapes or old skate videos. Old pro-wrestling is tight too.”
If you visit @cobrayama_ on instagram, in the bio you’ll find several other handles and a link to his latest project. “I have a lot of projects right now. I need to change it up to stay interested. Right now I’m getting ready to release the Clear EP which is a collaboration with singer Fawna from Montreal. That’s coming out January 18th. I have a new band called Summerhead with singer Grey Gordon and Nickfit. We have a 7” coming out soon. I’m working on a new album with Gibbz, and another Cobrayama beat tape. I’ve got a metal project that’s in its early stages and I play in punk band called Privacy.”
It’s amazing to see someone with such prolific output and so many creative hustles, and clearly collaboration is a big part of Cobrayama’s creative process.
“I like collaborating and working with people who I like to hang out with. Working with Gibbz is always fun. Recess is great I loved working with those dudes. I had a good time working on a noise track with Joey from Forn as well. Working with all the Exmag dudes was a great creative time as well. One of my favorite things I’ve done was with Fyvr who has released some tapes through YHS. I’d like to work with him again.
When asked about his dream collaboration: “I guess a dream collaboration would be Flying Lotus, or Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.”
Lastly, when will Cobrayama be making a stop in Detroit? “As soon as I’m invited. I love Detroit.”
Make sure to check out the latest project from Cobrayama and Fawna (@Fawna Music), the Clear EP. Don’t forget to check out his other art and musical projects @_summerhead_, @yama_world, and @inkfinger_.