To say that politics has taken a more divisive turn in recent years is probably an understatement, but in a new chat with Heavy New York (as seen below), Otep singer Otep Shamaya says she misses the more respectable discourse we used to have. That said, she's not afraid to draw a line when it comes to where she stands politically.

"For me, I draw a very, very — I mean, it's not even a line; I've dug a canyon between my side and whatever red means now," the singer explained.

"I miss the days of John McCain Republicans where I could disagree with someone all day, but we could still respect each other. Where we are now politically is we're actually fighting fascism in America. And this isn't the first time. I mean, it's not the first time that it's tried to rear its ugly head. In fact, things have gotten better. We're just not gonna let them regress to back to those times."

"I can't remember who said it, but [it] stuck with me, was that we have to know where we've been to know where we are to know where we're going," she adds. "And that's why history's important and that's why right now for me, anyone that still is wearing a red hat, they're not somebody that I would even wanna have a discourse with. I'm not trying to change anybody's mind anymore. I'm not trying to do any of that. If you are that easily pulled into a culture of hate and bigotry and wish the extermination of different types of people, including gay people like me, and wanna rip the rights away from women — I'm a woman — and all the other things that they're trying to do, against the trans community and that type of thing, if your whole position is based around hate and exclusion, then I don't care if you listen to my music or not, or come to my shows. I don't care. I don't. And I never have."

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Within the chat, Otep admits there are still people who are surprised by the political nature of her music. "I do my best to write with universal language. I know that what truth I'm trying to convey or what emotional experience I'm trying to write about, and sometimes it's multiple things all in this big alchemical stew that it may start off with one idea in the same verse and it switches to several other different things. But I try to do as the beat poets did — use a lot of universal language — and so that people that might not understand or have never had the experience that inspired me to write the song, they can find their own experiences in it and their own meanings to it."

She adds, "Sometimes it can be a disaster. There are people that are on the other side of things politically or culturally than I am, and they'll think that I was writing about something completely different than what I stand for or what I believe in as a human being. So that's really the only danger, is when someone's, like, 'Wait, you write political songs? And you're a liberal?' Yeah. I mean, I'm working class… I'm always gonna represent the working class, and I am a liberal, and I'm gay and I'm a vegan. And so sometimes when those things are discovered and people will be, like, 'Wait, but you wrote 'Smash the Control Machine'? But you're pro this politician or you're pro this legislation.'"

"It's, like, first of all, that was inspired by a William Burroughs poem," she explains. "I think they ascribe that as to me being an anarchist or something like that. And it's, like, no. The control machine, that song starts off writing about something that happened to my family personally — an elder in my family was being evicted, and so I wanted to write about that. And then I wanted to write about other things as well about the different types of control machines, which is what William Burroughs was referring to, that control us as a population and that are used to control us as a population, economically, culturally, socially and those types of things."

"It rarely happens," she admits. "But that would be the only real danger in people misinterpreting a song."

Otep is currently building up to the release of her band's new album, The God Slayer, which is due Sept. 15 through Capricorn Records. The album offers a mix of original songs and covers, including the new single "Ostracized" and covers of Billie Eilish's "You Should See Me in a Crown," Beach Boys' "California Girls" and Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings." Pre-orders are being taken here and here.

Otep Shamaya Speaks With Heavy New York

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