The Cobra Killer duo of Gina V. D’Orio and Annika Trost began as part of Alec Empire’s Digital hardcore movement. Both were part of other bands signed to Empire’s Digital Hardcore Recordings label—Gina was in EC8OR, and Annika was in Shizuo. Cobra Killer was arguably one of the most playful DHR bands, in contrast to the revolutionary bombast of most.
When Empire’s label cut back on its bands, many of the DHR groups folded, but D’Orio and Trost kept going. They have released four albums and are currently on the Monika Enterprise label.
Renowned for making skewed, psych rock-infused electronica, Berlin, Germany based duo Cobra Killer formed in January 1998. Originally, Gina V. Dorio, a member of EC8OR and Annika Line Trost of Shizuo met through their previous bands’ involvement with Alec Empire’s Digital Hardcore Recordings whilst both had also been heavily involved in the West Berlin music scene from their early teens.
Their debut self-titled release in 1999 epitomized the Digital Hardcore sound, blending distorted electronics, disjointed vocal samples, and irregular rhythms. Subsequent tours throughout Europe earned them a sizeable following — owing to their notorious live shows — which included throwing uncooked pasta and red wine into the audience while wearing blood-soaked nurses uniforms.
After the downscaling of Digital Hardcore in 2000 the duo released the Heavy Rotation 10″ on Monika Enterprise — another Berlin-based label — signing the band after they witnessed a live show in Australia while supporting Peaches. In 2004, they released their third album 76/77, a more hi-fi outing than their previous releases, that still combined ’50s rockabilly, psych rock, and electronics.
In 2005, Cobra Killer re-interpreted their back catalog with the album Das Mandolinenorchester, where they deconstructed their previous work with the mandolin orchestra Kapajakos. Continuing to earn themselves a hefty fan base and touring with high-profile artists such as Sonic Youth and Marilyn Manson, Cobra Killer delivered their fifth studio release, Uppers and Downers in 2009 enlisting the help of such luminaries as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Jon Spencer, and Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis.