INTERVIEW: Jesse Tabish of OTHER LIVES

The Oklahoma band Other Lives has had a pretty good year or so. First they released their sophomore effort Tamer Animals to widespread critical acclaim and then by the end of 2011 it was revealed that they would be one of the opening bands on the upcoming Radiohead world tour, which is to say, they sort of hit big...REAL BIG.

We were lucky enough to catch up with lead singer/songwriter Jesse Tabish a few weeks ago and ask him a few questions about the making about that album and 70's sci-fi, and here's what he had to say.

When the band went into the studio for Tamer Animals, was there a specific agenda to top the previous record, or were you just concentrated on the songs themselves?

Well, there definitely was. We were very ready to, not to say that the first record was a disappointment, but it felt like we could do more on our own by recording it by ourselves. So we were kinda like…it was a challenge to see how far we could take the music that we had written and also recorded.  There was a disconnect that we had felt from previous records that, where I wrote the songs, but somebody else had recorded it and, you know, recording it [Tamer Animals]  ended up becoming writing it as well.

The sound that you guys have hints at other kinds of music, but ultimately is completely unique to you guys. Is that just coming out of how you learned to play together, or are you specifically trying to reference other music?

I think some of it is…you’re naturally inclined to do certain things. Everyone has there own little technique -- certain types of changes that you hear often or recording techniques, but I think that just comes really from just playing around in the studio for long hours and finding things that you really enjoy and that help paint the picture a little bit more.

Are they any musicians that you personally were drawing influence from?

Yea, and particularly with Tamer Animals, Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone were two composers that I’ve listened to a lot. Their techniques and…just to see how they…when you look at arrangement as just another way of basically making up chords, everyone has their own different way of putting those chords together.  

I’ve always felt that your music is kinda like the soundtrack to the best 70’s sci-fi movie never made, and then I saw the video for “For 12”. So does that really figure into your work?

Yea, I think of the space or the desert or the plains really…kinda capture the quiet before the storm and capture that kinda desolate, dusty feel. You know space kinda has that same kind of tranquility to it but there’s also kinda of an anxiety or something behind it

Yea, because I know in other interviews you’ve said that the Dustbowl is sort of a focal point for you guys,  and it was interesting to see that point of focus translated into the imagery in the video.

Yea, I felt like it captured the same kind of sentiment because it wasn’t, like, out on the wild wild west or anything.

Jesse and the rest of the Other Lives crew play tonight at The Red Palace, right here in DC. The show is completley sold out, so hopefully you got your tickets early. If not here's a video of their latest albums title track to help you feel better about missing what's sure to be one of the best shows to come through town this year.

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