OTHER LIVES – Interview

Es war so eine der Geschichten aus 2011: Die US-Newcomer Other Lives, die gefühlt aus dem Nichts auf der Bildfläche erschienen sind und das ansonsten auf Hypes eher naserümpfend reagierende Feld der betont anspruchsvollen Musik-Fans im Sturm eroberten. Dazu noch Support-Slots für Bon Iver und Radiohead – viel mehr braucht es nicht, um ein Statement bezüglich Anspruch und Qualität der Folk-Band aus Stillwater, Oklahoma, abzugeben. Angefixt vom zweiten Album ‘Tamer Animals‘, das auch auf Platz 22 in unserer Jahrescharts (hier komplett zu sehen) landete, wollten wir mehr wissen über vier Herren und die eine Dame, die zuvor schon im Jahr 2006 als Kunek ein Album veröffentlicht hatten. Zack: Other Lives im Bedroomdisco Interview!

1.) Band facts

– Name: Other Lives
– Band members: Jesse Tabish, Jonathon Mooney, Josh Onstott, Jenny Hsu, Colby Owens
– Founding year: 2002
– Residence: Oklahoma
– Current album: Tamer Animals

2.) Questionnaire:

– At which point did you start making music? Had you been forced to play an instrument somehow or was it in your own interest? What was your motivation?
We all started playing music at a fairly young age. Jenny played Cello as a kid. Jesse and I started playing guitar around the age of 13 with punk rock as our primary motive. Josh and Colby also started on guitar in their teens as well. Fortunately music has never been forced on us, it just happened naturally.

– Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? What was it about? Could you recall a line of it?
It was probably a punk rock song. Actually, when I was in the 8th grade I remember Jesse had this awesome punk rock band, they were actually pretty good. They were definitely the cool kids in school.

– What musical influences do you have?
Lately our influences have primarily come from classical music. While making this last record we were listening to a lot of contemporary classical like Reich and Glass, I think it shows.

– How did you meet and in which situation did you decide to form a band?

Most of us went to grade school together but didn’t really start hanging out until we started playing music together. We all got together to play music one after the other over a few month period. In the beginning we just played instrumental music with no real aspiration of forming a band. The band part came later.

– First you were named Kunek, but than changed the name after the first record to Other Lives – why did you change the name and how did you come up with the name Other Lives, what meaning has it for you?
We had one more member as the band Kunek and when we parted ways we felt it was appropriate to change the name. Other Lives has meaning to us, but it’s meant to be vague and open to interpretation.

– How do you normally work on songs? What are the steps/processes, what are the usual problems of finishing a song? In what situations do you write songs?
The process always seems to change from record to record. On Tamer Animals we would usually take one of Jesse’s ideas he wrote on guitar or piano into the studio and play around with arrangement and instrumentation until it was complete.

– Could you tell us something about the production process of ‘Tamer Animals’? How long did it take, where did it happen, what were the difficulties, how did you prepare for it? What was the best, what the worst moment? Most told anecdote?
We recorded the record in our studio in Stillwater Oklahoma. Jesse and I engineered and produced the record together, along with Joey Waronker on the latter part of the process. We definitely ran into a some walls on a few songs. Each song would take around a solid month of work to finish so if the song wasn’t working by the end of the month we would be so immersed in it that we knew we had to move on and revisit it, otherwise it would drive us crazy.

– We read that you took like 14 months to produce the album – for what reasons did the production take so long?
The sound we were going for on this record was very layered and since we had to record everything one instrument at a time, many times up to 80 layers, it could be quite tedious. We wanted to be free of any limitations instrumentally and think about a song with the notion that just because we play a certain instrument doesn’t it mean it’s right for the song. We knew that really sticking to that would take a lot of work.

– You also worked again with Joey Waronker – could you tell what influence he had on the songs/your sound and why you did choose to work with him again? And was he really there the whole 14 months?
Joey Waronker has been a huge part of the last two records. He’s someone we really trust because has a great ear and he’s not afraid to tell us if something isn’t working. On the last record he came in during the last few months and really helped pull everything together in a number of ways. He also mixed the record and did a great job enhancing the record sonically.

– ‘Dust Bowl III’ is one of our favorite songs – can you tell us what it is about, how it was done and if there is a story behind it?
We were really inspired by the imagery and story of the dust bowl early on in the recording of this record. There are a Dust Bowl I and II but they didn’t make the record. For a while there we would project actual footage of the dust bowl on a wall in the studio why we work. I don’t know if it changed much, but it was nice to work to.

– In what situations do you write songs/lyrics/which themes inspire you to write songs?
The dust bowl is one of the more specific lyrical themes on the record, but overall the lyrics on the record are just observations of things around us.

– What are your next plans?
We’re headed to Europe for some festivals

– What are you doing if your not making music?
I like to sail.

– What did you learn in 2011?
When in London, eat only Indian food.

– Your Top 3 records of 2011? Why?
Colourmusic – “My ___ is pink”
Timber Timbre – “Creep on Creepin On”
Time Hecker – “Ravedeath, 1973”

– Which song would fit to your actual situation?

“We’re an American Band” – Grand Funk Railroad

– Which song makes you dance independent of your situation?
“Can I Kick it?” – A Tribe Called Quest

– How would your ‘Bedroomdisco’ look like?

– Who did fill out this questionnaire?
Jonathon Mooney

Zu unserem Interview gibt es dieses Mal etwas zu gewinnen und zwar 2 von Sänger Jesse Tabish signierte ‘Tamer Animals’-Alben! Ihr wollt gewinnen, dann schreibt uns bis zum 20. Juni eine Mail mit eurer Adresse und dem Betreff ‘Other Lives‘ an gewinnen@bedroomdisco.de – mit etwas Glück liegt die Platte kurz drauf bei euch im Briefkasten!


Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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